Carrie Haderlie The Sheridan Press Via Wyoming News Exchange
SHERIDAN — As people continue to gather more and more, a local business owner is offering a home in the heart of Sheridan as a setting for stress-free events. South of Main, a renovated historic home at 205 Coffeen Ave., is an “intimate event space” located in a restored 1903 home.
“It is cozy. I think that might be my favorite word to describe the space,” said Sarah Houghton, owner of South of Main. “It’s also historic and quite traditional. The house is 119 years old, so during the restoration process we stayed true to its history , while we made it available for events today. It really is a brand new old house.”
South of Main offers event space and design services for gatherings such as strategic planning sessions, meetings, private parties and celebrations. Customers can bring their own food, drinks and decorations into the room or ask Houghton for planning suggestions and catering recommendations.
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Upstairs is Oram & Houghton, PLLC, where South of Main co-owner Matt Houghton practices law. The couple bought the home in the summer of 2019 and began the remodeling process.
“We called it a remodel, but it ended up being more of a restoration. We were really pretty passionate about keeping all the doors and windows and everything we could,” Houghton said. “We kept everything we could, but I left a lot of (open) surfaces because I didn’t want to over-decorate. I want people to be able to bring their own drinks, food or decor, or have room for gifts if they’re having a baby shower or party.”
The main floor, which can be rented after 17 on weekdays and weekends, has a living room with a fireplace; a fully equipped kitchen with gas stove and refrigerator, serving dishes, pots, pans and dishes; and a formal dining room.
In the warmer months, the wraparound porch and backyard provide extra space so events can range in size from a few people to a larger crowd, Houghton said.
She doesn’t deliver food, but has a number of additional resources to offer her clients, from a list of local caterers and private chefs to decorating services. The couple had the space updated, decorated, stocked and ready to rent in February 2020.
“Then COVID happened,” Houghton said.
It wasn’t ideal to open an area like South of Main just days before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down, but Houghton said things have improved.
“We had a few small events, like maybe a wedding reception with less than 10 people, but we didn’t do much the first year,” she said. “Now we can host a large number of events. We’ve done everything from book clubs to business meetings that might not need a lot of technology, like strategic planning sessions, to surprise parties, baby showers and wedding shows.”
Julie Greer, who hosted an in-person event at the plaza this fall but also serves as project coordinator for the Center for a Vital Community, said the space is unlike anything else in the city.
“It’s unique, and it’s also just beautiful inside. You feel cozy in there and Sarah did a great job with all the wood restoration. It has this personal feel and is just homey but really tasteful,” Greer said.
The Center for a Vital Community is always looking for places to host events, and South of Main would likely be a place that could serve other businesses and nonprofits, Greer said.
“Besides the ability to have an in-person event in the space, it will also be great for other organizations,” she said. “So many people at my event asked me if that was my house. No, I wish it was!”
A space like South of Main gives the host the opportunity to really enjoy their own event without the stress of having to host at home, Houghton said.
“At any given time in my house – I try to keep it clean, but there are Legos and puzzles,” said Houghton, who is a mother of two. “It can be stressful when you have children to look after. … It’s nice to just walk into a space that’s clean and decorated and ready for an event. That was the vision behind it.”
While she’s not sure if the idea of renovating the home into an event space is a trend elsewhere, she said it has been a trend in her life.
Houghton grew up in Oklahoma, where her father was a city planner who liked the historic preservation of his job best. Her family also served as caretakers at a similar home in her hometown. Although they have lived in Sheridan for over a decade, the company name, South of Main, is a play on both her southern childhood and the fact that the home is south of Sheridan’s Main Street.
“I have always loved old homes. My dad and I would watch ‘This Old House’ with Bob Vila on a Saturday morning,” Houghton said. “I love how they would transform these old homes and bring them back to life.”
For more information on the space, see southofmain.co.