Name: Black Eye Coffee Shop
Location: Highland Neighborhood, Denver, Colorado
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years Occupied: 1.5 years, open for 8 months
A year and a half ago Ali and Dustin ventured into a dilapidated storefront on Navajo street. It was a space they had walked past a number of times, but that night something was different. The "Coffee Shop Coming Soon" sign that had graced its facade for months had come down, and they were intrigued.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Aged industrial furniture and lighting, Americana, Art Deco elements with the contrast of modern updates and clean lines.
Inspiration: Most things rusted, dented, repurposed. Anything that has history or a story behind it. Objects that were made to last.
Favorite Element: Probably the original theater border that we recovered during the build out. It was part of the décor for the Coors Theater lobby. We felt like we struck gold when we found it hidden behind some of the drop ceiling, of which there was about three layers.
Our second favorite feature of the space is probably the vintage Tyler refrigerator. This was actually in the space when we took it over. It weighs so much that it was abandoned long ago and just sat unused, collecting dust. We cleaned it up, put it on casters, and had it retrofitted with a modern compressor and lights. Its such a beautiful feature — it's a relic that’s been made modern.
Biggest Challenge: The space itself was the biggest challenge. We had to peel back all the layers of various usages over the years. There was no real floor, no plumbing, no electrical and several drop ceilings. Not to mention a whole lot of junk. We uncovered the brick walls by hand. We didn’t want to use any power tools to do so, since they end up damaging the brick and we would've lost its beautiful character. That took us about 200 man hours and we enlisted (bribed) as many friends as we could to help.
What Friends Say: “Wow, you guys actually pulled it off!”
Biggest Embarrassment: Some of the shoddy tile work in the bathrooms. We did it all ourselves and it was a learning process. Thankfully, by the time we got to the bar area, we had it down.Proudest DIY: The “Reclaimed” wood bar. We were on a tight budget for this space and needed to cut corners and be creative wherever possible. After trying to source reclaimed wood that would fit in our budget, we decided that we should just “fake it” and make our own version of reclaimed wood. We had actually seen wood we loved in an old building in Denver and decided to try and replicate it. We literally beat up different sizes of plank wood in our backyard with various objects, and experimented with different staining and paint methods till we got the result we wanted. It was actually a lot of fun, even in the 105 degree Denver summer weather.
Biggest Indulgence: The garage door, but it was well worth it. We really needed to add more light and brightness to the space. Having the door open gives the shop a completely different feel, and you can actually see people shift their demeanor when it is up; they look more relaxed.
Best Advice: It's hard not to want to see what your fellow creators are doing, but we feel that when you are in the midst of a design project, you have to keep your head down and stay your course. If you have a vision for a space, follow that vision and don’t worry about what other people may be up to. Let it evolve naturally, but don’t change what is just because you want to be different than so and so. Just follow your intuition.
Oh, and flowers — fresh flowers. They add another layer to any space.
A European Ship Yard
An intact Art Deco Hotel that’s been abandoned
ABC Home, New York (If we could ever afford it)
Traveling to places that are rich in history
Resources of Note:
- Martha Stewart sand piper (ceiling)
- Behr wolf grey (walls)
- Behr Pewter and Iron Mountain (outside)
- Armoire - Colorado Antique Gallery
- Lighting - Craigslist out of an old barn in Colorado
- Furniture - Mostly thrifted and ebay
DINING ROOM / MAIN SEATING
- Chairs from Industry West
- Some lights and chairs from a vintage furniture shop Werk, NYC
- Vintage neon sign from Queen City Architectual Salvage
- Furniture & decor - the deep corners of craigslist and garage sales and ebay
- Large Tables - The large tables are vintage industrial skids that were once used in a warehouse, sourced from a woman named Kim who owns Pearls of Yesteryear in Denver. Dustin took 4x4 posts and milled them to fit the existing metal legs. He lightly stripped/sanded down the metal and wood, then covered it in heavy polyurethane to bring out the natural patina. The legs were painting in a rustic Navajo white to look aged.
Small Tables - The other smaller tables are made from old doors that were pulled out of the basement of houses in the Highlands area. The theory with one of them is that is contained a small peep hole that was used for bootlegging. We love those little bits of story behind the objects. Dustin cut put a heavy coat of polyurethane on the doors then fastened hair pin legs to them. Some of the hairpin legs we purposely rusted and sealed. Some we left the way they were depending on the look we wanted to achieve.
- All commercial
- Wallpaper - www.designyourwall.com
- Art - all over the place.
- Furniture - estate sales, antique shops, craigslist
- Lighting - ebay
Thanks, Ali and Dustin!
(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)
• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past Workspace tours here.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.