The Railing Shop
The Railing Shop
Transforming a condemned industrial building into a modern loft-style home

Introducing the

Railing Shop

The Railing Shop on 216-218 Bates needed some love and some new life in her old bones.  We wanted to share the journey of bringing this old brick building back to life in the Historic Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood in St. Paul, MN.

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The Schornstein Garage at 216-218 Bates Avenue is comprised of two buildings; the two-story building was constructed in 1886 and the one-story section constructed in 1912. Both buildings were covered with aluminum siding. The carriage doors have been replaced with a sectional, overhead-opening garage door. The lower window of 216 is covered, and the upper windows currently have two-pane sliders with decorative shutters. 218 has two openings on the primary facade, both with decorative shutters; one fixed-pane window and one glazed paneled door. 218 also has a sectional overhead garage door on the north elevation. Per the inventory form, the buildings are categorized as non-contributing.

As evidenced in older photographs, 216 Bates Avenue was a two-story masonry load-bearing building with a flat roof behind a low parapet. Historically, the building had a brick exterior with two shallow, corbelled cornices and shallow corbelled brackets at each end. The two, second-story windows were double-hung, four-over-four, and the left (north) side first story window was a fixed four-light window with a two-light transom above. The windows have hidden lintels and rowlock sills. Double carriage doors occupy the right side first story opening. The doors were rail and stile, with diagonal bead-board panels. The left door had a secondary service door in it. The lower corners of the automotive entry had cast-iron, bullet-shaped corner protectors. The 218 Bates portion of the Schornstein Garage is a one-story brick building that was constructed for use as an automotive garage. The exterior is brick and appears to be whitewashed in older photographs. It had a simple, two-course corbelled cornice, and the one partially-visible window has a hidden lintel and a rowlock cornice. The historic fenestration is unknown.


Neighbors wanted

Interested in adding adding additional content about East St. Paul and/or Historic Dayton’s Bluff, reach out!

Our design ethos

  • Save and highlight historical elements.

  • Re-use materials when possible.

  • Green building and efficiency in materials when possible.

  • Rethink how spaces can be used.

  • Maximize storage. Minimize clutter.

  • Clean lines. Exposed metal and ductwork.

  • Modern fixtures and cabinets to contrast the 100+ year old industrial space.

  • Preserve the terra-cotta ceilings and brick interior.

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We wanted to make sure to capture the building in it’s original flare, function and creepy-factor. The many years of being condemned has had its impact on the space and the rough condition we walked into. Good news is this is what you get when you buy a building for a $1. We ended up having to tear most of the one story building down and rebuilding it with modern building materials.

Well…This is now our living room. I guess you could say I have a very trusting wife.

Well…This is now our living room. I guess you could say I have a very trusting wife.

Dream dining room?

Dream dining room?

Interior Main Floor - 3D tour

With the help from Bryan Bedessem we had the opportunity to capture just how creepy the space was when we first closed on the property on November 9th, 2017.

Whole lot of fresh air in the future master bedroom.

Whole lot of fresh air in the future master bedroom.

Interior 2nd floor - 3D tour

During the 1980’s the second floor was converted to a two bedroom apartment. This space would have been much easier to renovate had it not had 10 years of neglect, leaky roof and a caved in wall.

If Walls Could Talk…

The Railing Shop on 216-218 Bates needed some love and some new life in her old bones. We wanted to share the journey of bringing this old brick building back to life in the Historic Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood in St. Paul, MN.
— Cory Vandenberghe
It was important to find a balance between the aesthetic of the existing character and up-to-date efficiency of a modern home.
— Tia Vandenberghe
The inside was pretty awful, but it was a good-sized brick building, and the layout seemed conducive to the open floor plan Cory described.

It’s such a unique and amazing space — it was worth the effort,” said Anschel. “It’s awesome to have folks like Cory and Tia make that kind of investment to transform a forgotten commercial property into their home.
— Michael Anschel
It was creepy walking around with a cellphone flashlight,” he recalled. “It was a mess and needed lots of structural repairs — but I could see it becoming a home.
— Cory Vandenberghe


See the Transition

About Us

Cory Vandenberghe

Cory grew up in Maple Grove and learned woodworking and hard work from his father and grandpas. He has built his career on being a digital catalyst and uses this experience to help his clients grow their online businesses at Irish Titan (digital agency) in Minneapolis.

His claims to fame are making ESPN SportsCenter's Not Top Ten list for mascot racing in Red Bull’s Crashed Ice, VH1’s MotorMouth reality TV show and the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise MN State Fair episode.

Cory has a passion to explore and experience the world, both near and far. You will find him traveling overseas, at the lake, camping in the wilderness, skiing out West, white water rafting, mountain biking the local single-track, urban cycling to local breweries or working with his hands in his man-shed.

Tia Vandenberghe

Tia grew up in Greely, CO. As a transplant to Minnesota she hibernated her first winter and when she emerged in the spring she was set up on a blind date. This date would change both of their futures and move them out of the suburbs, into the city and on this crazy journey. She spends her days focused on spreadsheets and future financial planning for Cargill. Without her financial insight, attention to detail and trust, this project would still be in shambles.