Ask Frank Dittenhafer about the name on the unassuming building on 228 W. Market St. in York and he’s a little, well, fishy.
The name could have something to do with the unassuming bottom-feeding aquatic animal that has had an immense impact on the world’s economy.
It could also be a reference to the Codorus Creek, located steps away from the former furniture store.
Finally, it could be the acronym for “Collaborative of Designers,” a place where the creative team at Murphy & Dittenhafer can gather in a freshly renovated 1,000-square-foot conference room and feel inspired and innovative.
"It’s really a place that provides a lot of options and opportunity,” Dittenhafer said.
Which is maybe why Dittenhafer has cast a wide net when it comes to the meaning behind the name "c o d." He’d like it to be a little open-ended – allowing the space to evolve and create its own identity.
The Fish Tale
A few years ago Murphy & Dittenhafer had the opportunity to purchase the building at 228 W. Market St., which sits next door to their offices in the former Hotel Codorus. At the time, the architecture, planning and interior design firm really had no solid intention about what to use the space for. But after completing renovations in 2015, which included uncovering a unique concrete floor and exposing old wood framing and decking on the 14-foot-high ceilings, they realized they’d created a really energizing environment.
The space has the feel of an art gallery, so Dittenhafer and his wife, Sue Ann Kline, lent pieces of their colorful Inuit and Canadian folk art, collected during their 15-plus years of visiting Nova Scotia to "c o d" for the inaugural exhibit. On permanent exhibition is an old industrial gear that was used to operate metal sash windows – the crew unearthed it in a now-demolished concrete-block garage in the back of the property – and artist Pat Sells of Salvaging Creativity, cleaned it up for display.
The space has the feel of an art gallery, so Dittenhafer and his wife, Sue Ann Kline, lent pieces of their colorful Inuit and Canadian folk art, collected during their 15-plus years of visiting Nova Scotia. On permanent exhibition is an old industrial gear that was used to operate metal sash windows – the crew unearthed it in a now-demolished concrete-block garage in the back of the property – and artist Pat Sells of Salvaging Creativity, cleaned it up for display.
Today, "c o d" houses the firm’s interior design department (Murphy & Dittenhafer Interiors), the large mixed-use conference room and the gallery, which will feature rotating exhibits.
It’s a space where they’ll "creatively shoal art, architecture and interiors."
“We wanted to have a dynamic place where our designers, clients and other collaborators in the community can all meet,” Dittenhafer said.
Hooked on York
Speaking of the community, the team at Murphy & Dittenhafer is thrilled about the city’s renaissance.
When they moved to WeCo from their previous location on the 300 block of East Market Street 17 years ago, it was pretty much just them and the now-shuttered Sam & Tony’s across the street.
The firm had been angling for a new home after outgrowing their space on East Market St. They’d been working with the city on the Hotel Codorus building, when the city asked if they’d be interested in buying the property because they couldn’t find anybody to occupy it.
Murphy & Dittenhafer moved in when the building had nothing but exposed wood studs on the ground floor, sharing the space with Kline Graphic Design.
Since then, the neighborhood and the city as a whole has changed, and Dittenhafer couldn’t be happier.
For one, the term “WeCo” (short for West of the Codorus) didn’t exist.
They’ve witnessed the growth of the neighborhood surrounding Central Market and are excited about the activity in Royal Square – but they equally love what’s happening downstream of their location and how WeCo is embracing commercial, residential and mixed-use spaces in a way that’s thoughtful and organic.
“I’d love to see it keep building on itself.”
And, of course, "c o d" is a part of the neighborhood’s rebirth.
Catch of the Day
On June 9, Murphy & Dittenhafer and Kline Graphic Design hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the grand opening of "c o d" and their 30 years in business.
If Dittenhafer has anything to do with it, he hopes to continue to transform and re-purpose more of the historic buildings that York is swimming in, into vibrant, creative spaces.
“We’re not stuck in history or trying to freeze time,” Dittenhafer said. “We’re being very progressive.”