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Located at 2909 N. McKinley, Pink Cloud Guest House and Creative Space is the latest incarnation from what had been the Rainbow Grocery Store built around 1915.
Current owners Kari and Eric Starkey recently completed a major renovation aimed at preserving original details and adding modern upgrades. A trio of vintage signs from those years remains on the walls today. In the corner, a built-in bookcase is what used to be a half-door to load deliveries via horse and buggy.
“I have driven by (the building) all my life,” says Kari Starkey. “I was just enchanted, even though I didn’t know the history.”
A lengthy pedigree exists. Post-grocery, by 1983, the structure had fallen into significant disrepair. Word reached multimedia artist Elizabeth Hahn, who purchased the property and transformed it into an apartment and art studio.
“I had always wanted to live in an old grocery store,” Hahn says. “I had been a fan of ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’ on TV. Dobie Gillis lived above a grocery, and I thought that was really cool.”
She remodeled by installing a new roof, wiring, plumbing and siding. Hahn added masonite floors to replace linoleum that had been blotched with blood from where the butcher had performed his work. A decade later, she moved to New Mexico, selling the property to Concept Framing. Last year, the Starkeys acquired it.
When the couple saw the 1,250-square-foot space, they envisioned many possibilities. Since January when it opened, Pink Cloud’s large creative space has played host to birthday parties, yoga and violin recitals, besides serving as a classroom and lounge. The guest house, on the other hand, offers a less expensive alternative for city visitors. Both are rentable.
“I love the energy of the 23rd Street area and that it’s being supported,” says Starkey. “I wanted to be a part of that and [the guest house] would be a great way to attract younger people to stay.”
To market their digs, they have turned to the web to attract visitors, who have come from California and as far as Greece. Of course, maybe the name is part of the allure.
The Starkeys put some thought when naming their new venture Pink Cloud. Most apparent is the structure’s exterior color, which indeed is very pink. Pink Cloud also is a term for the feeling of euphoria characteristic to recovering addicts, in addition to vibrant Oklahoma sunsets.
“We want it to stay pink and quirky,” Starkey says. “We want it to be appreciated.”