TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Tamara White launched The Bell House Project in the fall of 2021. Located in an old church at 1 Maple Avenue in Troy, the space functions as a design studio, workshop area and will eventually open up for retail shopping.

White also owned Lark Street Mercantile in Albany, which closed at the beginning of March. She decided to close the mercantile because she wanted to have more time to create as a designer.

“As many small business owners must do, I was managing every aspect of the mercantile business including working at the store six days a week,” said White. “While I enjoyed the interaction with customers and vendors, l had little time or energy for my passion (and other business) of sewing and creating.”

The church closed around 2016, said White, and she and her husband purchased it from the woman who bought it from the church who could no longer renovate it for health reasons. “She was an artist and is happy we are continuing on a very similar path to her vision of using the space for art,” said White.

When the project first opened, White held yoga classes and art groups and let others use the space for their activities until the end of 2022. The Bell House Project will be home to White’s sewing and design studio where she will create goods to sell, as well as teach and host workshops and other small events.

“My vision for The Bell House Project is to offer an immersive retail experience where visitors can enjoy shopping artisan goods and food, vintage and up-cycled finds, pop up vendor booths, plus view art exhibits, attend craft and sewing workshops, do make-and-take activities and even enjoy a cup of coffee in our book lounge/gallery,” said White.

Some vendors from Lark Street Mercantile will be returning to sell their goods at The Bell House Project, said White. She hopes to open up the retail portion in the summer.

“I’d like to encourage artists, makers, small biz owners and other entrepreneurs to be firm in their dedication to their work, but be open in vision and changing direction,” said White. “I’ve taken many paths, in real life and in my mind, to get to what feels like my dream work life (I can’t call it a job!) in The Bell House Project.”