Dr. Robert Goodman is no stranger to building and conversion projects. He has renovated two historic homes for his family.
And he even converted a funeral parlor into an 1,800-square-foot veterinary practice. So when the time came to expand, he
had no qualms about converting a 1920s Buick dealership-turned-auto repair shop into a hospital for pets.
Pedal to the metal: Cars whiz by a 1920s Buick dealership-turned-auto repair shop that found new life as Everhart Veterinary
Hospital. Keeping the showroom windows intact gives a sleek, industrial look to the facility, which fits among similar-style
buildings in the neighborhood.
Many of Dr. Goodman's staff members took their cars to the repair shop, so he knew that the building was coming up for sale.
After one visit, he decided the facility would be perfect—with a lot of love and care—for his future upgrade. The building
already had the right zoning, wiring, and much of the plumbing he'd need. And with high ceilings, showroom windows, and a
location only half a mile from the previous facility, he couldn't go wrong. ?
A look at the numbers: Everhart Veterinary Hospital
No guts, no glory
Gutting a 90-year-old building for use as a modern veterinary clinic brought challenges, and some surprises. For one thing,
the original concrete floor was still in place. However, utilities needed to be installed under the floor, so in order to
do so, Dr. Goodman and his architect chose to cut out only certain parts of the floor instead of demolishing the whole thing.
Exam room: Warm colors and inviting artwork soften the industrial feel of the building. Dr. Goodman chose to keep the décor
simple, with fewer objects to clean or for dog leashes to get caught on, he says.
He also retained the original showroom windows to let light into his reception area and kept the beams exposed throughout
the facility to highlight the industrial look. Demolition revealed a beautiful brick wall in the reception area, giving warmth
to the otherwise minimalist space. Another challenge included locating the external sewer line: Obviously one existed, because
the facility sported six bathrooms. But it took weeks of trial and error to find the right line.
Floor Plan: Everhart Veterinary Hospital
Despite these roadblocks—and the associated costs—Dr. Goodman says a conversion still offered more bang for his buck than
building fresh. "I could never have duplicated the high ceilings, layout, and space we got for the same cost if we'd built
new," he says. "And everything was already zoned perfectly, saving me from those hassles. Plus, I think our clients are more
comfortable in a building that has a history."
Surgery suite: Everhart Veterinary Hospital has two surgery suites. Neither one at all resembles the auto repair shop the
space once housed (Below). Each suite measures 160 square feet with the pack and prep space located between the two rooms.
While many doctors visit oodles of veterinary hospitals to gather ideas before building, Dr. Goodman says the existing building
just "spoke to him" regarding design decisions. He did move the original entrance to the side parking lot for easier entry,
but otherwise kept much of the original external structure as it was.