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New life for old packing shed

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Photo by Annette Brand Dave and Edie Burgess, with their son Brad, left, stand outside the atrium addition to Graystone. The addition is changing the profile of the old apple packing shed with its stone foundation and interesting collection of levels, ope

The home of Dave and Edie Burgess -- and the site of the Graystone Restaurant -- was originally an apple packing shed. The Burgesses purchased the building in 1996, intending to covert it into a house.

The packing shed was owned by the Williams family (no relation to Dan and Connie Williams). It is located at 21565 North Road, Eckert, in a sparsely populated area of the county.

"The building had been used as a storage place before we purchased it," Dave said. "There was trash, dirt and even a bed upstairs. We trucked off many loads of trash."

There was a lath on the walls, tarpaper, wood scrapes and bee hives here and there. They had to dig around the entire building and install a French drain to keep water out of the lower level. They put up interior walls, sanded the floors and finished the wood floors with polyurethane. Edie refreshes the polyurethane annually.

There were surprises along the way: trap doors to send the apples down conveyor belts and openings inside near the roof that weren't obvious.

The heat for the building was coming from a wood heater in the lower level. Edie collected mattresses to put in the ceiling to help insulate against the cold until the roof and ceiling could be finished.

The upper floor has room for quite a few people. When their children, Brad, Brian and Anastasia, became teenagers, they opened the upper floor on weekends for game night. The room was equipped with game machines, and they had candy bars and pop for sale. While they charged $1 for teenagers to get in, it was never intended to be a money-making endeavor. Instead, it was very successful as a safe gathering place for teens.

Now the upper floor is used as a restaurant two nights a month. The Burgesses also cater parties and fundraisers throughout the year. Notice of upcoming events is primarily spread through word-of-mouth and Facebook. The family's living quarters are on the lower floor, but Edie says they live in the entire home.

Last summer Dave and Edie began an add-on to the building, an atrium which, on the outside, will have rock at the bottom and stucco on the upper part, matching the current building. On the inside of the building the atrium extends from the dining room. When its doors are installed, the atrium can be part of the dining room or it can be closed off.

With its rounded walls and tall windows bringing natural light into the charming room, the atrium extends an invitation for good conversations and companionship, and of course enjoyment of good food.

For the atrium, the Burgesses had crews come in to pour concrete, frame the building and put in insulation. The finished work will be completed as soon as warmer weather can accommodate the materials to be used.

The Burgesses have a lot of friends and family who like to get together, and they like to get together over food. Dave and Edie installed a commercial kitchen at the very beginning because they have always cooked for a lot of people.

One year, Dave gave a surprise birthday party for Edie. He served prime rib. Several people attending said, "You guys should open a restaurant."

They did. They opened Graystone Restaurant on Valentine's Day 2008. They started twice-a-month dinners and added the catered events.

Remodeling the building at Graystone has been a work in progress for years.

Dave is employed in a machine shop and works remodeling Graystone into his off time. Edie has had to consider her physical strength. She came down with West Nile disease when remodeling was in full swing. The disease still saps energy from her legs and feet.

Dave and Edie get a lot of help when the boys, Brad and Brian, now adults, come home. Anastasia comes in to help when the restaurant is open, as do other family members.

"We will get everything finished," Dave said, "but it is really a matter of when money and time come together."

Photo by Annette Brand Dave Burgess stands on the inside of the new atrium.
Guests go through the serving line during a catered luncheon at the Graystone in February.
The interior of the Graystone maintains much of the rustic appeal of the original packing shed.
When Edie and Dave moved into the Graystone building, they installed a commercial kitchen because they have always cooked for many people at their gatherings of friends and family. It now serves them well for their restaurant and catering operation.
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