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The CFSK Metcon V1 #5

This issue of the CFSK Metcon Newsletter is a retrospective look at the taking over and refurbing of the new home of CrossFit StKilda at 362 StKilda Rd.

...Or as I like to say "We took a perfectly good bar and smashed up $250,000 worth of fixtures to make a CrossFit gym'...

Why did we move? The original CFSK space in Inkerman St is getting ready for demolition so we had very little choice in it.

Why did we choose the space we did? I really wanted to stay in the 3182 postcode. For myself and really for the members of CrossFit StKilda. There had been people saying I might need to look outside of StKilda but I wasnt entertaining that idea. 

I love StKilda and have been a passionate StKilda/Elwood resident for the past 10years. In 1990 My best mate and I first came to StKilda to start seeing punk and rock n roll shows and from that point on it has been my spiritual home. My Grandfather was raised by Nuns in Alma Road StKilda. My football team is StKilda.

The other reason we chose StKilda Road was as mush out of necessity as deisgn. There simply arent any commercial spaces left in StKilda of the size we needed. Sadly the gentrification of StKilda has left little space for anything besides small retail and very high density small apartments. (But I still love StKilda!)

Had we gone outside of StKilda we may have been able to find a new build factory or something more recognisable as a CF gym (warehouse etc) , but you know I dont like to follow a crowd so this new space had strong appeal as it would be uniquely CFSK.

Besides the MASSIVE amount of work that had to be done to make it workable I was/am pretty thrilled and proud of the new location...

Grab a cup of camo' or peppo', sit back and enjoy the story...

Lease Signing Day..

Its a done deal..

Behind these blacked out, busted up, shitty windows and Balinese doors was a bar/nightlcub that had been functioning for about 12years.

Early in 2014, after about a year of not getting paid rent, the landlord had enough and changed the locks on the tenant. Not because the Bar was a dump and not making money, they just werent paying the rent. In Hospo/Bar terms I beleive the term is 'putting all the profit up your nose'...

So when we took over the space, we could easily have opened up as a bar immediately. It was  fully stocked with booze, disco balls, disco lighting, booths, post mix machines - everything. It was a perfectly good, functioning bar..

But we needed it to be a CrossFit gym....

Before the hammers...

When Kate first saw the space, lets just say she wasnt thrilled. It was super dark, had low ceilings and bascially made no sense as to how it could be a CrossFit space.

But stupid/stubborn me saw it a little differently. If we just tear it all apart and open it up it would be awesome. Easy.

It was going to be a massive project.. But ignorance is bliss.

From the Bunny Wall looking forward..

The Bunny Rabbit brick wall..

This was going to be the big part of the refurb.

To make the space work we were going to remove the brick wall and replace it with a steel frame and open the entire space up.

Behind the brick wall was two large storage rooms and above those was an office/mezzanine/crack den/living area.. 

But all along I had absolute faith that it would work.

CFSK Back Bar?

You cant really see it, but the mezzanine/loft/living space above was tucked in there somewhere.

Let there be light..

The first light comes through the front half as Craig and Gaz get rid of the false walls on the north facing side of the building.. 

(In Melbourne North facing windows are the kicker for great natural light)

Starting to get some perspective...

Whats behind the Bunny Wall?

The steel frame goes in to replace the brick wall..

And yes - that little Gennie Winch busted while holding the piece of steel up in place.

This was one of the 2 times when we hired REAL help because we couldnt fumble our way through it ourselves.


Removing the mezzanine/storage room was the first major demolition of the refurb.

Did we know what we were doing? Not a clue in the world. Did we care, not really..

We had sledge hammers, crowbars, a reciprocating saw, maybe a set of safety goggles and a few gloves, and we were having way too much fun to worry about safety!

Minus mezzanine. Thats the mezzanine on the floor in the foreground of course...

I estimate we removed between 25-30tonnes of building materials. It could have been 5tonnes more, but seriosuly we were definitely not stopping to weight the stuff!

We would smash stuff for 7-10days then get an empty skip delivered, fill it for a day and then get it taken away. We simply didnt have the time to recycle or resell any of the stuff we were pulling out. We needed the space and it just had to go.

Besides the original bar tops that we salvaged to make the window benches, everything got binned.

I cant remember exaclty how many skips we filled but Im sure my bank statement will remind me.....

MASSIVE thanks.

This whole thing would not have been possible without the following people;

Kate - For helping me to keep pushing to get this whole move done and dusted. And for the Sorbet...

Cam Villani - First ever CFSK Lifetime member thanks to the absolutely amazing help he gave me from start to finish.

Iain Shulman - Tireless removal strategies (mostly questionable and highly dangerous) and supply of wheel barrows!

Matt McMahon, Thommy Trainor, Brother Cam, Sebbo, Craig Johnson, Gaz, Deano Smith, DT, Robbie the Carpenter, Aaron McKenzie, Pip, Courtney, and all the people who helped move stuff from Inkerman St to StKilda Rd.M

Brick By Brick.

With the mezzanine/storage gone we could finally move on to the Brick wall...

Now if we had no clue about removing the timber mezzanine we were only a small step forward in regards to the Brick wall. On this occasion we at least asked for advice from 'Professionals'...

Besides the constant requests from the team to just 'push it over' we went with the 'top down, brick by brick'  approach..

Kate started her Regionals Prep' early..

Nothing toxic about a cloud of lime mortar dust and very old bricks....

What a Brick!

Cam Villani was a Skip packing machine! 

The key to a well packed skip is to make sure there is no 'air' between anthing you load in. Air = space and space = dollars. We needed space and didnt have many dollars!

When we packed the entire brick wall into one skip - we felt like KINGS!

Two Rooms become One..

Finally with the mezzanine and brick wall gone the space started to open up.

For some reason the more of the big things we got done, the bigger the list of small things became...

Whats an new empty space without a handstand..

We had also removed the false ceiling at the front which then exposed a shit tonne of timber slats that would also need to be removed...

And, remembering that the place had been a bar/shitty nightclub for the past 12years there was literally hundreds of meters of lighting and speaker cabling all destined for the bin...

Everytime we felt like we were getting close to having all the building materials out, the space would refill and we'd need to book another skip.

Muchos Glassias….

Externally, the biggest improvement was going to be all new glass and window frames.

With the north facing windows exposed and the street opened up there was no way it was going to be a dark/dingy space anymore.. It also wasnt going to be the traditional CrossFit warehosue space.

My plan had always been to make it a more modern version of a CrossFit Gym. Whatever that actually means.....

The afternoon of the glass and windows frames was pretty awesome. 

I remember how nice it was to stand inside and look out across the street.

This was going to have a really nice feel.

Spray Guns are awesome.

Aswell as starting to test some paint on the walls, we installed 22 x High Bay Lamps.

The news space was not going to have the traditional CF Box dungeon lighting. With north facing windows, glass across the entire front of the buidling, and lots of lighting, it was going to be a really well lit space with lots of warm natural light.

Me pretending to know whats going on and how it will all work.

My back was in absolute misery during the renovations. 

Regardless of how much stretching you do, how many adjustmets you get and how much mobility you do, shifting 25tonnes of building materials is NOT good for a disc protrusion.

When that bench was installed I could have laid on it all day. Needless to say I have made up for it since then with a few quality power naps.

The Airless compressor was a god-send when it came to painting. We could blaze through a 3rd of the space in about 30mins. 

Hogs Bristle.


Why the paint scheme?

Originally I had the idea that one side of the building could be used for hanging all of my artwork, bit and pieces and as a gallery type space. While the opposite wall would be Pull Up rigs, Squat Racks and the training side of the gym.

The colour choice of grey for one side was accidental. Grey was simply a better option compared to the 'Blue Wall' (Spritzig Half for those that care) at Inkerman St and the off white (Hogs Bristle) was better than stark white. 

Cam V sitting back and surveying all his handywork. 

This was when we finally saw the space as something totally different to what it had been. And I realised after all my plotting and planning, it might actually work...

Logo Update..

My original plan for our wall logo, which came via Aaron McKenzie  (instagram #aaronmckenziedesign) was to have floor to ceiling height letters in a totally new CrossFit StKilda font. 

As time started getting the better of us Aaron and I decided to simply update the Hendo Classic Logo (Darren Henderson - www.worldlycreatures.com) with a big drop shadow (much to Dave Phuahs delight!) and use the original CFSK blue with some tones of grey. 

We are pretty happy with the final version. Plenty of POP!

Window benches made from the original Bar Tops and new reception/office with American 'Wormy Chestnut' counter top. Love that wormy chestnut!

And Roxy napping.. Cos thats what she does!

The last day at Inkerman St.

My experience at CFSK in Inkerman St started with Fran back in 2011 so it was essential that it ended the same way.

Friday January 22nd was the final day for CrossFit StKilda at Inkerman St.

Moving Day.

Early Saturday 23rd we started disassembling Inkerman St and started moving everything around to 362 StKilda Road.

The new location was only 298metres from Inkerman St. Of course everyone wanted to farmers carry stuff but after about 2 rounds most crew were over it.

Luckily we had Thommy and Gerald on hand with Van and Ute..

It was amazing how quickly everything got taken apart and hauled around the corner. 

From 11am Saturday 23rd we had until 5.30am Monday to install as much rig as we could and organise as much equipment as we could.

This was actually the most stressful part of the relocation.

Up until this point everything had been slightly flexible. The smashing of walls, painting, it was just part of the process. But this had a definite must finish point and we just had to dig in and get it done. 

Thankfully I've installed a few Pull Up rigs over the past few years so we were able to get this in pretty easily and with out too much drama.

At one stage over the weekend I genuinely had no idea how it was all going to get done. It was literally a sea of stuff and you had to constantly climb over and around equipment any time you wanted to do something.

An empty Inkerman St on Saturday afternoon.

Also - the redevelopment has yet to start at Inkerman St and the old main room is now a sanctuary for ALL of StKilda's Pigeons!

Are we ready?

Not exaclty finished but totally functional and ready to go.

First WOD at 362.

5.30am January 24th 2015, The 362 debutantes!

And from there its business as usual...

5pm with Coach Aimie.

6.30am Pre Coffee.

The CFSK Lounge.

I love the CFSK lounge area. If you havent sat there after a WOD and just chilled, I highly recommend you try it.

On the walls: Steve McQueen working out in the Paramount Studios Gym circa 1963 and a very early/infamous Quiksilver ad featuring Bruce Raymond, Chappy Jennings and Gary (Kong) Elkerton. The skateboard deck is a Michael Leon X Commonwealth Stacks X Stussy.

If you look at the Quiksilver ad up close, Chappy's face is fuzzed out as Bruce is holding a bottle of Beer and Chappy was under legal drinking age at the time so therefore Quiky had to make some 'changes' to the Ad.

The coffee table is re-used Lifting Blocks. 

Looking in at the 5pm finish.

So thanks for coming on my little journey, reflecting on what was a massive 5 months for CrossFit StKilda.

The new home of CrossFit StKilda is a unqiue and individual training space that reflects the diversity of its athletes and the unique characteristics of StKilda. Much like the constantly varied, functional training model of CrossFit we believe our training space should reflect and honour the same diversity of its athletes.

CrossFit StKilda - The Misfits Of Fitness.