St. Petersburg, Florida -- An iconic mural is being taken down, because a popular St. Pete building is in need of desperate repair.
The multi-story Gas Plant Antiques building is now home to Furnish Me Vintage, owned by Jacqueline Williams and Todd Wilson. Chairs, tables, and all kinds of mid-century and vintage home furnishings pack the enormous, 30,000-square-foot building.
Each piece has a story.
"[This] used to be a buffet, but now it'll be used as an entertainment center," smiles Wilson, who lovingly hand restored the piece.
"We just sent a desk overseas... you'd be surprised we ship all over the world!" chimes Williams.
But when the couple purchased the space back in March, they knew the building was in disrepair.
"Cracks in the walls and when it rains, you should see it," says Williams.
But just as the furniture and the building itself have a story, so does the sprawling mural on its outside, which features more than 200 portraits of dogs, cats, and other pets.
"This poor guy has a striped effect in addition to fading" Wilson points to one picture, wiping a paint smear off the wall.
Eighty-eight years of beating by the sun and torrential rains have taken their toll on the pink building. It's so after extensive that after brainstorming, the tough decision had to be made: paint over the mural, or risk losing the building.
An iconic mural is being taken down, because a popular St. Pete building is in need of desperate repair. WTSP
Many of the paintings are of animals that are deceased, making the news especially hard to bear.
Tawny Swain Castle, a canine therapist, has her two dogs memorialized on the wall.
"I wasn't happy, because I had just lost one of my dogs... but murals aren't forever. And they're on another mural, so they'll live on."
Anna Hamilton Fields, the artist with Murals for Mutts, is behind all 200+ pictures of dogs, cats, horses and other animals on the wall.
"We're keeping this as positive as possible. It'll be sad," says Fields. "I'm sad to lose it. I don't think of the time painting it; I think of the emotion that goes into the animals."
So the search is now on to find a new space for the mural. Those with current paintings will receive photo versions of their animals, and be offered specials for re-painting elsewhere.
There is no set date for the painting over of the St. Pete Pet Project, but it's expected to be sometime in the next few months.