From diesel mechanic to thriving creative hub: Reflecting on the Stackwood transformation

It was a rollercoaster journey converting an ex-diesel mechanic warehouse to a community hub. It all started with a lot of scrubbing and building a home for our creative studios, then getting our event space up and running. A few months later, we opened the Stackwood concept store and filled the space with plants, before welcoming a pop-up cafe into the building. 

Since then we've welcomed thousands of visitors through the door, established our own full program of annual workshops and hosted countless markets, events, weddings and community happenings. We've been thrilled to kick off activation in the area with dozens of satellite businesses popping up around us in the industrial quarter of White Gum Valley. 

We're overjoyed to see how our community has evolved and we couldn't help but share a few photos with you. 

2016: Standing in the empty, greasy shell of the old diesel mechanics warehouse brought mixed feelings. The primary feeling was overwhelm; the space had so much potential and yet so much to accomplish before it would become what we envisioned. 

The warehouse formerly serviced large diesel trucks. So think grease. Lots of grease. Most of the labour involved in the first couple of weeks was cleaning and scrubbing the walls and floors. The greasy shell slowly transformed into a habitable space. 

My lovely dad Peter Bell (pictured above) did most of the carpentry work — what a legend!

2016: Our first events happened in the very early days and this was one of our favourites. The long table we had with Studio Anthro was full of community and conversation, as you can see it is pre-concept store and pre-shiplap wall (but you can still see our style emerging!)

2017: Time flew in the first year, most of the structure was built inside the space, including for the creative studios and to partition off our event space. We opened our bricks and mortar indoor plant store, our studios moved in and we had our first Made Local Market

2018: By 2018, Stacked Cafe is up, running and in full swing and our space becomes a regular drop-in for locals in the White Gum Valley area. Indoor plants have really taken off, and so has our little store. The space starts to become a little closer to what you see today. We also overhaul our yard and make it into a usable space for events and weddings (there's constant improvements happening all the time at Stackwood!) 


2018: The warehouse is a busy place with weekly events, thriving creative studios, (so many) indoor plants walking out the door and a full calendar of workshops, weddings, seminars, and classes. Our little team has grown to include Claire and Gabby in the plant store, Jasmyn and Elle in the office, Nat on weddings and Adele who caretakes our space (all wonder women!) Not to mention the studios, cafe, workshop instructors and our supporters who make Stackwood the place it is. 

It's been a wild journey and one we look forward to continually evolving to meet the needs of our community. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years, it takes a village! 

If you want to keep following our journey and keep up to date with what is happening in the warehouse sign-up to our e-newsletter. 

Photos courtesy of Amy Snoekstra, Bo WongRae Fallon and Trish Woodford.  

February 19, 2020 — Jasmyn Woodford