Sunday, March 1, 2015

Abandoned Beauty

Doing a little Internet research before visiting the Washington State capitol building in Olympia, I came across a surprising picture of an old building which seemed so out of the ordinary, I instantly felt like I was thousands of miles away, somewhere in Europe, in Italy perhaps, in a place I've never been before. 

It did not take very long to discover that it was an abandoned brewery. Looking at the photos, I was taken with the ghostly beauty, amazed that such can be found so near me (just a few miles down south), and sad that for whatever reason people let this beauty fall apart. 

I found a couple of parks near Olympia which were, as my father put it, unexpectedly gorgeous, and we were happily exploring them all day yesterday. The sky was so high and blue, without a single cloud. We brought a bazillion photographs from our little adventure, and I might write about those other places we discovered some time in the future. But my main focus was this abandoned building.

It is actually visible from I-5: if you're coming from Seattle, it will be on your left just before the Tumwater exit. The brewing company was opened in 1896, shortly after this whole territory became a state in 1889, and was in business for over 100 years. I'm sure you beer lovers have heard of Olympia beer.

Olympia Beer Vintage Poster, 1907

Somehow wearing a dress which I found at Goodwill just a couple of days before that, seemed appropriate. Doesn't it have a somewhat Victorian era vibe with its rich texture and deep red color? 

I paired it with another Russian platok from my collection (also my parents' gift) - it's the smallest one I have. If you'd like to read more about Russian shawls from Pavlovsky Posad, you may want to check out my old post here. My jewelry is also traditional Russian craft. Both the ring and the earrings are made of melchior. The earrings are hand painted enamel (I have had them and a matching ring for 20 years already), and the ring has emerald crumbs for the rock setting. I bought it over 10 years ago on e-bay. (Update about my ring: the rock is officially called uvarovite and it's of garnet group, as I learned thanks to the beautiful blog from Denmark Highly Irregular Style.)

I spotted the dress in our local Goodwill, really loved the color and texture, but thought that it would probably not look right on me, and hung it back on the rail. A few days later, I was reading a post by Elle of My Daily Costume, admiring the whimsically mixed textures she created in her outfit (read her post Textures Complete an Outfit). Elle is a very artful dresser, with a great eye for detail, and amazing collections of vintage purses, costume jewelry, some of which is created by her; and she is such a genuinely kind, thoughtful and simply gorgeous woman. Both the color and the texture of her coat immediately brought to mind the image of the dress I saw at Goodwill earlier. My only thought was... if only the dress was still there, waiting for me. (I really try to  be mature about such things and keep my heart still, thinking that if it's not there, then it's in other good hands.) I jumped off my seat and told Justin that I had to go to Goodwill. "Now!?" - "Yes, now." It was 8:15 pm, the store closes at 9 pm, and it's about 15 minutes' drive. I called on my Mom to keep me company. We arrived, and... the dress was still there! It seemed even prettier than I remembered. You know how sometimes things grow on us. I put it on. And that's how one abandoned beauty was saved.

The beautiful Italianate brick building was built in 1906 (source

The brewery was closed due to Washington state Prohibition in 1916. Later it got reopened in a new building - when Prohibition was brought to an end in 1933. The beautiful building on the water was too expensive to repair after such long years, but it was still used for storage. In 2003, the Olympia Brewing Company was closed.

The old abandoned brewery today (February 28, 2015)

Photos by Justin

The history of Olympia Brewing Company here.

Linking with gorgeous Judith's Hat Attack
beautiful Sacramento and Rosy's Share-in-Style (free topic). See you there!

Dress - thrifted (Goodwill)
Beanie - Lane Bryant
Boots - Born
Purse - thrifted (antique mall)
Shawl, ring, earrings - traditional craft from Russia



  1. You are certainly eclectic, this is quite different from what you usually wear. Very 90s vibe, sort of glam grunge... And I like the way you accessorized it.

  2. This is such a wonderful building such a shame it has been abandoned, hopefully it will be saved in the future.Your velvet dress looks quite the part,perfect for the surroundings.I always enjoy sharing your explorations.

  3. The color of the dress looks so lovely on you and it works so well with the boots and beanie. Yes the building looks really beautiful, it tells a story all on its own. Have a lovely week Natalia. xo

  4. What a beautiful dress! Curious that you didn't grab it straight away when you saw it but the more happy you were, I guess, to get it later. Such a rich colour and texture and it really looks great on you, I mean the design. Interesting story about the abandoned brewery. There is a couple of such abandoned beauties here too. It is always sad sight to look at.

  5. What an intriguing site. I would have had to jump that barricade, but not in that gorgeous dress, and get closer!
    Seeing old buildings like that all boarded up, tagged, abandoned, is a little sad. It represents a dream lost or just an end of an era.
    Your dress is stunning and I love your knit hat.

  6. Чудесно! Я люблю старых зданиях, у каждого из них есть своя история... (и так хочется иметь автомашину чтобы приехать к ним - )
    Очаровательное платье, у меня есть похожее, как не любитъ? Прекрасный контраст с синим Русским платком. Готова на гульянье...

  7. My first thought when I saw your top photo was it looks like you just stepped out of a British period drama, and I was delighted to find that that's in fact how you feel. I'm glad you acted on your instincts and rushed to rescue this gem of a dress. I love how blogs can inspire us into new directions. The building still stands, hurrah! Too bad I can't have an art studio in there, heh. But it's probably too cold in the winter.

  8. what a romantic setting! the overgrown, lonely house and you in an arts&crafts outfit! beautiful!
    and you inspiring me to visit some of our local historical buildings this spring - now the snow is gone and skiing is not longer the no.1 weekend activity :-)
    wish you a wonderful week! hugses!!!! xxxxxxx

  9. A beautiful abandoned building, and so happy that you rescued this abandoned dress. It's rich texture and color play nicely with your knit hat and gorgeousl scarf. Thank you for sharing your beauty and your headwear with Hat Attack!

  10. your pics on a fabulous background, that abandoned brewery story, and your dress, everything creates a very romantic atmosphere!. Your dress is a beautiful booty, such an interesting color and velvety fabric!
    And I understand that you suddenly needed to return to Goodwill to purchase it, yes, sometimes things grown on us!!.

  11. Oh I have some serious dress envy! This is certainly an outfit I would wear and I am so glad you went back and were able to get the dress. I love old buildings and Justin's photos are always gorgeous but it is your ensemble that has all of my attention. I haven't got too many functioning brain cells at the moment but I can happily stare at your delightful colours and textures. xoxo

  12. What a lovely post. I enjoyed reading about the history of the brewery as much as the dress. Like you, I find beauty in the old and forgotten. There are always interesting stories to be told. I laugh at your story on how you had to have the dress. There have been times when I passed on a piece to later be haunted by my decision. I'm glad the dress was still available to it's rightful owner...You! And I agree, Elle has incredible taste. I tell her that she reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City.

  13. Crushed velvet and derelict buildings, two of my most favourite things!!
    Isn't there something so romantic about an old building, being taken over by the power of nature?
    Love that dress on you, a beautiful shape and so dramatic and opulent with your accessories. xxx

  14. Natalia, you look divine! the dress is gorgeous, the colour is so perfect and you have styled it so beautifully, you look so romantic and whimsical against the old, derelict building - the building retains it's nobility despite the passage of time, I love that! it makes it all so interesting - isn't the beer poster incredible! x x x

  15. I am SO pleased you went back for that dress, it was meant to be yours! Abandoned no longer, and very beautiful, I love the rich colour and soft panne velvet. The old brewery is a magnificent building - it is a shame it's fallen into disrepair but it still has a real grandeur and magic about it. Gorgeous photos as always, Justin has a fabulous eye and he clearly adores taking photos of you, Natalia! xxx

  16. Love your velvet! Abandoned no longer. Such richness in all the details, and you look smug :-)
    Ruins are so romantic with their unspoken tales, slowly cascading into the soil.
    Thanks so much for your encouraging comment on my birthday post! xo Jazzy Jack

  17. Beautigul outfit and beautiful views! You look stunning!!!!! I just keep scrolling up to look at the pictures:))))

  18. What a gorgeous dress! I really do love velvet, it's such a wonderful fabric. This dress seems like it was made for you...and I do like the shawl and the traditional jewelry.

    I imagine one feels contrary emotions upon seeing that beautiful old brewery. It does look like something from fairy-tales and one must be happy to gaze at it...but at the same time what a shame it is abandoned to ruin.

  19. Your velvet dress is really lovely Natalia, and just the perfect back drop for your Uvarovite ring :-)

    Let's hope someone soon finds a new purpose for the beautiful old building - maybe a group of artists?