I am just beginning to draw a mental picture of the general look and feel of the coffee shop I'd like to create.

I was wondering what has inspired owners/baristas of existing shops when sitting down to put what they envisioned on paper and overseeing the creation of that vision? Or if you had to do it all over again, what would you change?

Do you prefer marble to wood floors? Laminates to standard table tops? A deep green to a brown color theme?

Also, what kind(s) of assistance did you hire/recruit? Did you use an architect, a consultant, general contractors?

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I have been in Brady's shop, and was quite impressed with how logical their bar space was. They divided the workspace into zones that lend themselves to waiting on customers quite well.

Lighting is crucial! Lighting helps set the mood, the vibe, of your shop. One of the buildings I am looking at as a possible location for my own shop has long fluorescent lights up high on a 14 ft ceiling. Not recommended, unless you want the room to look like a school cafeteria! I did some reading up on interior design, just because I am interested in how light, color, structure, etc, impact people. Some people like the "Starbucks-look" shop, some don't. Some people want their shop to look like a log cabin. I don't. I am going for high-style, glamorous Art Deco from the late 1920s to the 1930s. But that's me.

A trip to Italy sounds like a great source for inspiration!
A couple of things I'll warn you about:
1) Wood floors require alot of maintenence to maintain a modern clean look....unless your going for a rustic worn appearance I'd avoid wood floors.
2)Green as a color has a negative conatation...it is subconsiously associated with mold.

When I did my design I started with a theme...for me it was Moulin Rouge meets Caberet...and everything I did/chose I went back to that....."does this plate/cup/machine/wallpaper scream my theme"? and I just rolled along. A good solid theme will guide your way with everything.
Paul's right lighting can make colors/space/feeling/ambiance all different. avoid flourescent! and whatever you choose try and get it on a dimmer switch......a) it will extent the life of the bulb b)you can create different atmospheres at different times of the day.

Paul Yates said:
I have been in Brady's shop, and was quite impressed with how logical their bar space was. They divided the workspace into zones that lend themselves to waiting on customers quite well.

Lighting is crucial! Lighting helps set the mood, the vibe, of your shop. One of the buildings I am looking at as a possible location for my own shop has long fluorescent lights up high on a 14 ft ceiling. Not recommended, unless you want the room to look like a school cafeteria! I did some reading up on interior design, just because I am interested in how light, color, structure, etc, impact people. Some people like the "Starbucks-look" shop, some don't. Some people want their shop to look like a log cabin. I don't. I am going for high-style, glamorous Art Deco from the late 1920s to the 1930s. But that's me.

A trip to Italy sounds like a great source for inspiration!
Paul, great notes on the need for workspace zones and the importance of lighting. I also really like the theme you've chosen for your shop and how you're getting smart on interior design to make the most of the ambiance. Admittedly, I was entirely unfamiliar with the 'art deco' movement, but I did some poking around via google and it looks incredible. Be sure to post some pics!

Dennis, thank you for the warnings. In theory, I love the idea of dark woods along with some black/white tiles and dark granite countertops, but the upkeep is certainly a serious consideration. Green is associated with mold?? Is there some sort of color association handbook to reference for these sorts of things? I don't like the idea of jumping on the green/brown bandwagon as a way of opening up a SBucks franchise without the brand name, but since blue is supposed to be a depressing color, and red and yellow can be a bit abrasive if overused, there isn't a whole lot to choose from! You also made some good points about the theme driving your decision-making.
One way you can get the dark woods you want without the maintenance would be perhaps using woodwork throughout the space....ie. furniture, artwork, tables, chair rails, crown moulding etc...then go with the tile flooring.....as well watch out for your choice in stone counter tops...some is porous some isn't so stains can be a problem. The color association handbook...lol it would be interesting to read if there is one...I actually found aout about it from a book I read on restaurant design and it always stuck with me. As far as the colors go...it really depends on how you put everytthing together....for example...RED can be bold like a ferrari or a softer tone that is more warm. And adding wall coverings and different textures can transform a space as well. In the end go with your gut! If you give great service, fair prices, right location, and quality...people will come back time and time again


Mike Morand said:
Paul, great notes on the need for workspace zones and the importance of lighting. I also really like the theme you've chosen for your shop and how you're getting smart on interior design to make the most of the ambiance. Admittedly, I was entirely unfamiliar with the 'art deco' movement, but I did some poking around via google and it looks incredible. Be sure to post some pics!

Dennis, thank you for the warnings. In theory, I love the idea of dark woods along with some black/white tiles and dark granite countertops, but the upkeep is certainly a serious consideration. Green is associated with mold?? Is there some sort of color association handbook to reference for these sorts of things? I don't like the idea of jumping on the green/brown bandwagon as a way of opening up a SBucks franchise without the brand name, but since blue is supposed to be a depressing color, and red and yellow can be a bit abrasive if overused, there isn't a whole lot to choose from! You also made some good points about the theme driving your decision-making.
Mike Morand said:
Paul, great notes on the need for workspace zones and the importance of lighting. I also really like the theme you've chosen for your shop and how you're getting smart on interior design to make the most of the ambiance. Admittedly, I was entirely unfamiliar with the 'art deco' movement, but I did some poking around via google and it looks incredible. Be sure to post some pics!

Dennis, thank you for the warnings. In theory, I love the idea of dark woods along with some black/white tiles and dark granite countertops, but the upkeep is certainly a serious consideration. Green is associated with mold?? Is there some sort of color association handbook to reference for these sorts of things? I don't like the idea of jumping on the green/brown bandwagon as a way of opening up a SBucks franchise without the brand name, but since blue is supposed to be a depressing color, and red and yellow can be a bit abrasive if overused, there isn't a whole lot to choose from! You also made some good points about the theme driving your decision-making.

One idea would be to use a high quality wood-look vinyl. They sell them in "planks", and when installed they look almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

A caution with stone countertops is that you might have problems with ceramic breakage. Anyone run across this?

Dennis, thanks for letting me know that I should associate green with mold. I hadn't noticed this before, but will try to in the future :).
Brady, excellent point about the stone tops being a bit tough on ceramics. Reading your post, the sound of broken demi cups came to mind. If not breaking, then just the sound of demi cups clanking against the hard stone I wouldn't imagine would be a soothing sound for the baristas or the customers.

Though, I would imagine that one could put down some sort of mats to be a barrier between the cups and other delicate counter top items and the surface if the look is really the objective.

I would imagine that costs for different surfaces and all during the build-out phase run the gamut. That'll certainly weigh in when it comes time for budgeting and considering bids from contractors.. Or I could just do it myself! You think there may be some appeal in a 'kids' clubhouse-looking coffee bar?'

Brady said:
Mike Morand said:
Paul, great notes on the need for workspace zones and the importance of lighting. I also really like the theme you've chosen for your shop and how you're getting smart on interior design to make the most of the ambiance. Admittedly, I was entirely unfamiliar with the 'art deco' movement, but I did some poking around via google and it looks incredible. Be sure to post some pics!

Dennis, thank you for the warnings. In theory, I love the idea of dark woods along with some black/white tiles and dark granite countertops, but the upkeep is certainly a serious consideration. Green is associated with mold?? Is there some sort of color association handbook to reference for these sorts of things? I don't like the idea of jumping on the green/brown bandwagon as a way of opening up a SBucks franchise without the brand name, but since blue is supposed to be a depressing color, and red and yellow can be a bit abrasive if overused, there isn't a whole lot to choose from! You also made some good points about the theme driving your decision-making.

One idea would be to use a high quality wood-look vinyl. They sell them in "planks", and when installed they look almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

A caution with stone countertops is that you might have problems with ceramic breakage. Anyone run across this?

Dennis, thanks for letting me know that I should associate green with mold. I hadn't noticed this before, but will try to in the future :).
One of my favorite coffeeshops was built in a space that used to be a garage and their counter tops we on top of old doors that they painting a uniform color. Subtly brilliant.

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