Abandoned steampunk house on the waterfront

This incredible 20,000 square foot building is located on the waterfront of Selma, Alabama. What used to be the Harmony Club, a men’s club that had been abandoned for the past 40 years, was purchased by David Hurlbut, and industrial designer and architectural consultant. Built in 1909, the building did not have any plumbing and the electrical wiring was in disarray. Mr. Hurlbut sought out a building of this nature, appreciating old buildings with character and fixing them up to his liking. Paying only $100,000 for this abandoned building in the sleepy river town, he moved in three months later.

It took him two years to renovate this structure, doing most of the construction work himself, which so far has cost him about $150,000. Taking great care in preserving the architecture details, he has left the walls unfinished, experimenting with some walls with polyurethane paint to keep the flakes of the original wall coloring from falling off.

Ten years after purchasing the building, Mr. Hurlbut has finished the ground floor of the building up to code so that he can lease it out to an Italian restaurant. He rents one of the spaces on the second floor, where the living room quarters are located, to a friend who is a photographer and filmmaker. There is also a large ballroom with dramatic 30-foot high ceilings on the third floor, which is used to host movie nights and an annual Beaux-Arts Ball. “A lot of people call us the Studio 54 of Selma,” he said.

Mr. Hurlbut’s aesthetic design tastes can be described as neo-Gilded Age steampunk. The interiors have been furnished with items picked up from auctions, big castle-type furnishings. Large scale items were sought out to decorate the interiors, since a building of this capacity has such spacious rooms and the ceilings are quite high. The one room that was preserved in its entirety to replicate the Harmony Club was the bathroom on the second floor. The white-tiled communal shower was in keeping with the scale and history, the only addition was a crucifix. Via

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