The layers of carpet shag as well as low pile in a grim array of colors, nailed one on top of the next in an unintended archaeology of American floor-covering trends through the decades presented a few difficulties during the renovation.
So did the layers of wallpaper to be stripped from walls, including one variety with a faded, stained floral motif and another variety in a fern theme.
"We started off thinking we'd just get rid of the dark stuff in the shop," said Trinity Thrift Shop manager Sue Mack, 71, a retired school development director. "The wallpaper was in the hallway. The kitchen had a multitude of dark wood bookcases, all mismatched.
"I didn't even realize how dark it was in here. It looked like a little old mountain cabin."
A year ago, Mack and her fellow volunteers launched into what turned out to be an extensive refurbishment of the two-bedroom Victorian house in old town Folsom that for half a century has housed Trinity Episcopal Church's thrift shop.
Now the shop is poised to celebrate its first anniversary as a bright, pared-down, sunny store one that generated proceeds of $35,000 last year to donate to youth programs, the local food bank and other community services.
The thrift shop a little blue-trimmed house located at 412 Wool St. in Folsom, next door to Trinity Episcopal Church and a block from historic Sutter Street is open to customers from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. In addition, the store is open for donations from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays.
"It's a lot more spacious now, and it's pretty," said customer Tony Vasquez, 75, a retired state employee who came in the other morning to browse through the racks.
"We still have good bargains," said Mack.
"I don't come for the bargains," Vasquez replied. "I come in for the company."
So do many of the regulars, as well as a large group of thrift shop devotees. But when young, down-on-their-luck families come in to browse, said Mack, volunteers lower the prices even more.
"You can sort of tell whether customers have come because they love thrift stores or because there's a need," said Mack. "Because everything's donated, we can easily fill up a bag or suitcase for young families.
"Most of the time, we charge them a much lower fee, so they still have their pride."
Women's clothes hang in what was long ago the front parlor, showcased by the shop's bay window. Baby clothes and children's toys line a room just across the hallway, which volunteers have turned into a gallery featuring art for sale.
In what was once the dining room, shelves contain china, collectibles and linens and, in the "Inspiration Corner," a modest stack of books and religious items.
During the 22-day renovation, the shop was closed while volunteers installed drywall and subfloor, re-carpeted, knocked out a wall or two, refurbished the house's old woodwork and painted.
"This all started because Karin's daughter wanted to know what was underneath the wallpaper," said Mack.
"So we started pulling it off," said Karin Breck, 71, a longtime volunteer at the shop.
"And the wall came with it," said Sue's husband, 70-year-old John Mack, a retiree from Intel.
"We didn't have any idea how beautiful the house was underneath the layers," said Sue Mack.