Gardner Village Blog A Sneak Peek of Big Things to Come at Gardner Village
Wednesday Sep 14 2016

Today, we’re in for a very cool treat! Two special guests are here to give us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the future of Gardner Village. There have been some big things in the works over the past several months that actually began several years ago. Join Gardner Village co-owner, Joe Long, and The Black Goose Design designer, Randi Smith, for this look at Mill Plaza! 

From left to right: Randi Smith, The Black Goose Design; Joe Long, Gardner Village co-owner; Peggy, the original interior designer of Archibald's Restaurant; and Nancy Long, Gardner Village founder.


First, let's get to know more about the highly-anticipated Mill Plaza with Joe Long. 


Q. What changes are being added to transform Gardner Mill into Mill Plaza?

A. We're converting the original stone basement from retail into a banquet room that will seat up to 65 people, which will include a new bar/reception area in the lower level of the silo. Outside, guests will be able to dine by our famous waterwheel. Plus, new water features are being added for even more ambiance. There will also be an area for live entertainment, weddings, and corporate events. Here's an art rendering to give you an idea of what our end look will be.

Q. How did the idea of this transformation come to be?

A. The idea came over 10 years ago when we purchased the 12 acres west of The Village and started looking at ways to connect it to The Village. As we looked at our property as a whole, we felt the parking lot was separating the mill from the village shops, and we wanted to find a way to better connect it all.

Q. What has it taken to turn the idea into a reality?

A. A lot of time, money, and collaboration. We’ve spent a great deal of time and money developing renderings for this area over the years, only to find flaws in the design. However, we continued to collaborate, and I believe we’ve arrived at a design that allows us to make the most of the space and what it will offer our guests.

Q. What will The Plaza updates mean for guests?

A. The Plaza will allow us to expand the type of events we offer at The Village—both paid and unpaid. We anticipate a summer concert series, dining on the patio with live music, youth and community performances, and other entertainment. This also means room to expand our popular seasonal displays (Woodland Fairies, WitchFest and the Elves). For those interested in private parties, this will be a gorgeous setting for hosting events on a year-round basis. We have the ability to install a 30’ X 50’ tent in the plaza that will have radiant heat to warm the space in the cold months. The lower level of the silo has been designed as a reception area for The Plaza, so guests will have a place to mingle, drink, and enjoy appetizers as they arrive for their functions.



Q. What does this change mean for the historic integrity of the building? 

A. Gardner Mill is on the National Historical Register. It’s an incredible piece of Utah history, and these updates will give guests more access to its inner workings and a memorable glimpse into the past. The original stone room, built in 1877, is amazing! The walls are stepped, meaning they are wider at the bottom than they are at the top. We’re opening this space up so guests can experience this unique atmosphere.

Gardner Mill, when constructed, was a flour mill, powered by water and turbines. The original turbines and gears are still in this room, and we have widened the opening so visitors can see them. We’ve also relocated some of the grain cups that were previously hidden shoots to areas that are visible.

Adding to the theme and ambiance, a Poncelet waterwheel is going in at the entry of The Plaza. Poncelet waterwheels were developed in the 1820's and are powered from the bottom. It will join our existing waterwheel and other tranquil water features we'll have throughout the property. We’re thrilled to be able to share a look at the history of water power and keep Gardner Mill an active spot in the West Jordan community as well as the state of Utah.


Wow! Sounds like owners Joe Long and Angie Gerdes, as well as the rest of the Gardner Village team have their work cut out for them. This is a BIG and exciting construction project. But the work doesn't stop at the structural. There is also much going on on the interior to turn this awesome idea into a gorgeous reality. This is where Randi Smith of The Black Goose Design, one of the Gardner Mill Company stores, comes in to lend her expertise and guide the process. She's also here today to give you an insider's look at the process and vision for Mill Plaza.


Q. Mill Plaza is a big and exciting development for The Village. How do you go about approaching such a project from a design perspective?

A. I am thrilled to be a part of the Mill Plaza. I have been with Gardner Mill Company over 21 years, so I know the history and the vision owners Joe and Angie have for The Village.

The first step in any big project is to start asking questions of your client, to learn what the end goal is. I am not a great cook, I could never tell you what ingredients go in to a meal, but I love to eat, and know a delicious meal. With design I am the chef – I know the design elements, or ingredients, needed to make Joe and Angie’s vision a reality. I started collecting pictures and sending them to Joe and Angie and asking them to tell me which parts they liked – colors, textures, woods, lights – this helped me narrow down the vast choices to create a space that represented their end vision, by using all the right ingredients.


Q. What trends will you incorporate into the design?

A. We want the Mill Plaza to feel like it has always been a part of The Village, while still looking current and fresh. Shiplap is on point right now, but also classic for an old mill. Last year we changed the exterior color of the mill to white. We all cheered because, because who doesn’t love a white house? When we proposed the color, Joe said he couldn’t imagine the mill white. I started looking for pictures to help show him my vision, and stumbled across an original picture of the mill – it was originally white! It felt like we returned to our roots, while still being in vogue.

Another hot trend right now for homes is a brick wall. As we took down the walls, we found exposed brick in the original walls of the mill. We decided to expand this brick. To maintain a unified look with the original brick, we had three different styles of brick mixed so that it didn’t feel brand new, and perfectly mismatched as was the original brick.



Q. What feel are you working to create for guests with your design?

A. My great-great-great grandfather worked for Archibald Gardner in this very mill. As I plan and design for the space, I try to imagine what it would have looked like in his lifetime, and then I try to be true to the historic integrity of the mill.

This space is going to be multi-functional – dinners, weddings, conferences, concerts, parties, fabulous Gardner Village events. We want the space to be well thought out, and accommodating to all the different needs. It quickly became apparent – we needed to be true to the original details of the mill, while incorporating the fresh makeover we gave to Archibald’s and CF Home just last year. We salvaged original doors, and gears, allowing us to blend the old with the new, creating the perfect backdrop for any event.



Q. What is your personal favorite feature or aspect of the finished look?

A. Asking a designer to pick a favorite is like trying to ask Archibald to pick his favorite wife!


Q. Is the look you've created here one that guests can adapt to create in their own homes? If so, what tips, advice, and shopping leads can you provide? 

A. We know clients will walk in to the plaza and fall in love with the details – so we strived to use products available through the Gardner Mill Stores. We are using an amazing wood grain wallpaper for the ceiling – it is available at The Black Goose Design. Ten of the different light fixtures are available through CF Home Furniture & Design here at Gardner Village.We offer design services through our Gardner Mill Stores (The Black Goose Design, CF Home, Layers and Down to Earth). We would love to have you schedule an appointment with one of designers to help you enhance your home – whether you love the brick we used, the stain of the oak cabinets, or the lighting – our design services are one of the best investments you can make in your home.



We're so excited to see the digital image above turn into the real deal in the coming months. In the meantime, here are a few things to note:

1. The official Mill Plaza grand opening is scheduled for May 2017, but you'll actually be able to enjoy aspects of the transformation as early as October 2016. If all goes as planned, a small area around the waterwheel, the gear room, and lower silo space will open next month! Woot! 

2. Archibald's Restaurant is already taking reservations for this soon-to-be gorgeous events space. Call 801.566.6940 for more info.

3. Archibald's Restaurant will remain open (and delicious!), as will the rest of the Gardner Village shops you know and love, so don't let our dust zone keep you from enjoying WitchFest and the other amazing things happening daily at Gardner Village (closed Sundays).

Megan Hoeppner

Labels: gardner village, mill plaza, events space, utah, west jordan, salt lake, private parties, reception, waterwheel, dining, the black goose, gardner mill, archibald's restaurant