Against the Grain

A rough-around-the-edges mill space becomes an inspired place for rustic, stylish living

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In 2014, Joe Hindman moved back to Greenville from Denver, where he had been working with his brother to get a start-up beverage venture off the ground. The Sophisticate’s Tea is now found at retailers nationwide. // photography by TG Getz

For 27-year-old Joe Hindman, finding a place to live in Greenville just fell into place. After less than a week of perusing Craigslist, he landed a modest, 500-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment barely a mile from downtown, and it was priced just right.

Hindman grew up in the Upstate, but he eventually moved to Denver to assist his brother with a start-up beverage venture called Sophisticate’s Tea, now sold nationwide and around town at hot spots like Methodical Coffee and the Village Grind. “I felt Greenville had so much opportunity. I wanted to move back, and so I did in 2014,” he says. He secured a full-time job at Hubbell Lighting as a marketing specialist, which gives employ both to his entrepreneurial spirit and creative savvy.

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Unsurprisingly, when it came time to find a place to call home, Hindman opted for a funky loft over a cookie-cutter apartment. He used his considerable artistic skills to maximize what he politely describes as a “less-than-mint condition” open living space, reclaimed square footage that was once the community building for a textile mill. The building that spent decades in disrepair is now perfectly suited to a bachelor lifestyle, and allows him to bike to downtown.


Urban industrial style … ideal for those who enjoy sleek modern spaces, but crave bold character and a sense of history.


 

The vibe inside is decidedly urban industrial, while the style motifs run from Swiss chalet to Santa Fe with a little Ralph Lauren English country mixed in. Luckily, the historic 100-year-old building did have great potential and is being slowly renovated from the inside out. Most everyone in the building is also a young, unmarried professional looking for a unique loft-living experience.

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Tea tastes better from a locally made hand-crafted mug; Hindman can bike downtown from his renovated loft.

With an outlay of less than $500, Hindman did some minor painting, built an exterior closet for added storage, hung canvas dropcloths for drapes, and used plumbing pipe for curtain rods. He turned a recessed platform into an intimate reading nook by installing pine flooring, a painted ladder, and rustic railing. Kitchen cabinets were freshened up with gallons of bargain paint – returns from customers who weren’t happy with their choices from Home Depot at a price of $3 a gallon.

Furnishings were procured from vintage stores, antique shops, and yard sales, as well as the staple of any young bachelor: pass-downs from family.

Upcycling and reclamations provided extra room in the budget to purchase unique pieces from local retailers including WHIM, Shinola, Knack Studios, and Lily Pottery. Hindman is an avid art collector, preferring to make his purchases from local artists.

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The mantle was handed down from his grandfather.

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Over the dining table, a gift from his mother, is a Chris Koelle angel lithograph. His grandfather handed down the china cabinet and the fireplace mantel.

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me on social media to ask me how I got my space, because I Instagram so many photos of my apartment. My home is my creative outlet, and I express myself through interior design.”

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The historic Mills Mill community building is now home to loft apartments.

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Now, Hindman’s style sensibility is about to go global: He is the visionary and creative force behind an innovative project for Greenville called MODAL, a modern hostel and boutique hotel that is set to open next year.

“It’s for hip tourists visiting Greenville, and we hope it will be an affordable alternative with a warm, welcoming community feel,” he says. “I can’t wait to bring my design aesthetic to furnishing the hotel rooms and the common areas with my mix of the unusual and the eclectic.”


Style Tips from Hindman:

  • Check Instagram for flash sales on furniture and accessories.
  • Peruse Greenville’s “Jockey Lot,” as well as local flea markets and auctions, for unique finds.
  • Check publications like Dwell and sites like Pinterest for design ideas and inspiration.

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