Upstairs Oasis: New event space mixes old South charm with urban living
Published 8:07 pm Thursday, March 26, 2015
A kitchen, a parlor, comfy seating arrangements in wide-open spaces. From tall ceilings, chandeliers hang over antique dining room tables; sideboards await the perfect plate of hors d’oeuvres.
It’s not an upscale home, though it has all the comforts of one. This is Spring Hill at the Buckman, the new event space in Washington owned by Everett Duncan and Gregory Purser. Located on the second floor of the Buckman Building on West Main Street, Spring Hill sits above the salon Oasis at the Buckman — which has had an official name change since Duncan and Purser purchased the building in January.
“It’s kind of an emphasis on the heritage of the building, of the Buckman family,” Purser said.
The old department store can be seen in the details: wood paneled ceilings; painted brick walls; a tiny, caged elevator that still works; and large windows and transoms that once drew the eastern North Carolina summer breeze through the building. Years ago, former owner Mary Sue Franklin augmented the space with arched entryways and whimsical murals, creating an oasis upstairs from her Oasis salon. She had the help of Purser, who owned the downtown antique store Purser’s Chest.
By a twist of fate, Purser and Duncan ended up owners of Franklin’s creation — salon included.
“We were interested in the building. It’s one of the nicer buildings downtown,” Purser said. “We didn’t set out to buy the salon, but it’s been established for, I think, 20 years, so it was kind of no brainer for us.”
With their antiques experience, as well as their already-in-motion plans to turn the river-view yard of their downtown home into another event space, Spring Hill, the unused second-floor became an extension of original Spring Hill’s future.
With judiciously placed antiques and soft lighting, Spring Hill at the Buckman is old South charm with a touch of urban loft — and plenty of space to mingle.
“We added accent pieces in there just to make it more homey — especially if you need any kind of photos, it won’t look so institutional,” Purser said. “We like that it’s got the different areas, especially that front room which is almost like a parlor. If you’ve got a party, people can kind of mingle in that area.”
The plan is to make Spring Hill at the Buckman a place where ladies can host luncheons, parties can be held, brides can host bridesmaids’ luncheons and combine it with a spa day with the services offered downstairs.
With the first and second floors fully occupied, Purser and Duncan will eventually aim their sights on the third and fourth floors of the building. Right now, those floors are used for storage of extra antiques that haven’t yet made the trip to their retail space at Little Shoppes of Washington, and space for Duncan to refinish the pieces needing a bit of work. In the future, however, those floors, with the right permitting, may just become more luxury loft living for downtown Washington residents, complete with amazing views over downtown and the river.
“The day that it snowed, I was up there working — It’s just so pretty up there; looking down Main Street and the snow on the river,” Purser said. “It’s a shame so many empty spaces downtown are not being used for that.”
Until then, Purser and Duncan will be adding more retail items to the refurbished salon downstairs, while hosting events upstairs. Purser said anyone is welcome to drop by Oasis at the Buckman to get a tour of the second floor. Those interested in more information, or booking an event, an leave a message with the Oasis at the Buckman receptionist at 252-975-1228.