After a visit and chat with Glen Ferguson, co-founder of Cowork Frederick, a collaborative work space. I got a real appreciation for the labor of love he and his wife Julia have poured into the 150-year-old building at 112 E. Patrick Street in the Historic District in Frederick. The collaborative, casual coworking space opened in August 2012.
Check out the video:
Cowork Frederick: A Collaborative Work Space
As with most older homes, the renovations uncovered a lot of surprises, says Glen, like rotten joists, knob & tube wiring, and an addition with basically no foundation. But some of the discoveries were absolutely charming, like mortice and tenon held together with wooden pegs; or a beautiful brick wall exposed in the kitchen when the damaged drywall was removed.
Julia Ferguson was the mastermind behind the design, as well as the talent behind the tile work in the bathrooms and kitchen. What Glen did not do himself in construction, he hired local craftsman to do. “A special shout-out goes to All Steamed Up, a company from Towson Md, who came out and did a tune up of the old boiler.” Glen and Julia have gone to great lengths to maintain the historic charm of the old house, while modernizing in key places.
Most of the products used in the renovation are recycled or repurposed. Ceramic tile, river rock, countertops of recycled materials, kitchen cabinets, sinks and fixtures… came from Frederick Re-Store, which supports Habitat for Humanity, and from Second Chance in Baltimore. Appliances and furniture were salvaged from other properties… a truly green endeavor.
Co-Working On the Rise
I had to admit to Glen, I’d never heard of Coworking until the opening of Cowork Frederick. There are 2500 places world-wide, and about 1200 in the United States. It has been growing in numbers for about 7 years. [The unofficial wiki, www.coworking.com, is the main source of information.] There is a Visa system for use when traveling to different cities where Coworking spaces exist.
After Glen and Julia moved to Frederick 3 years ago, they were looking for a home to buy, and toured the house on Patrick Street with their Realtor®. The place was too far gone to really be a home; it couldn’t even get financing because it didn’t have a working kitchen. At the time Glen was reading an article about Coworking and proposed the idea to Julia. Julia had a lot of experience from owning investment properties and this space seemed ideal. Two years, and a lot of renovating, has proven that the idea would work.
Glen comes from a career in IT, which included a lot of travel over the years. His time spent trying to work in hotel rooms, coffee shops and lobbies gave him plenty of ideas for an office space that really works for today’s mobile professionals. The latest ideas underway are two soundproof rooms for those necessary phone conversations that require privacy and quiet.
How Does Coworking Work?
The idea of coworking is based on collaboration and synergy. It is an environment for entrepreneurs, freelancers, telecommuters and business people who enjoy a creative environment. The Cowork Frederick space has all the usual necessities for work, desks, printers, faxes, internet and meeting rooms. It also offers the opportunity to collaborate with others on projects, joint-ventures and trouble-shooting. There are more “public spaces” for coworking, and there are private rooms for small collaborations, or even for focused, intentional work that requires concentration and no interruptions.
The membership levels vary, from as little as 1 day a week to full time. The non-member rentals range from conference and collaboration room rentals with or without equipment, to late shift and day-pass options. The options as well as the spaces are flexible. The membership is an active group, with input on the plans and use of the space.
There are always plans to improve the spaces, to add services and to generally improve the experience for the members.
- Plans are in the works for their own custom coffee blend from Dublin Roasters.
- Ideas are being floated for an improved patio and perhaps an enclosed walkway on the side of the building.
- Tech Talks are on the future menu
- Round Table discussions on various topics
- First Saturday Open Houses with revolving art exhibits
- Bike racks and even a loaner bike for quick trips in town
Frederick Cowork is a brilliant addition to the Historic District. Cheers and much success to some industrious entrepreneurs who saw a need in Frederick and supplied!
If you’d like to connect on social media, find Cowork Frederick on Facebook, or Cowork Frederick on Twitter, and on their website. Be sure to check it out on a First Saturday, or any time during the week.