Tamara & Jessica’s Community Reviver: The Humble Pie Store

published Jun 20, 2013
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Name: Tamara Brink and Jessica Dolgan / The Humble Pie Store 
Location: Baker Neighborhood, Denver, Colorado
Size: 1500 square feet
Years occupied: 8 months

Remember in elementary school, how there were those chicks who were (crazy) good at everything? I mean, they could paint, rock the perfect outfit everyday, nail the crazy math problem on the chalkboard, and even show up the boys in kickball? Well, this is how I envision little Tamara and Jessica as grade schoolers, and now they’re the owners of the new, community reviving local pie shop in the Baker district. With the talent of two entrepreneurial powerhouses, these two ladies show us how to design, renovate, style, and revive what was once an old convenience store into a bustling, community gathering hotspot. 

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Former art teacher/fine art painter Tamara and local psychologist/software company owner Jessica merged their loves for comfort food and baking by launching a mid-life adventure called The Humble Pie Store. The store not only represents a change in their lives, but also a new beginning for the Baker neighborhood. A neglected store front received quite the renovation when these two teamed up, gutting its core, repurposing what they could, and creating a shop that was warm, rustic, and chic. Not wanting to follow predictable precedents, Tamara and Jessica decided to skip over the expected 1950s gingham and checks inspired style and move forward with a design they like to call “urban country,” with a European flair. “We wanted it to feel more like a meat and pie shop from the 1700s in London,” Jessica says. So just how did these two take what was practically a blank canvas and create a space with such warmth and character? They started by exposing the historical brick hidden behind the main back wall, created a old barn wood accent wall, and filled the space with one of a kind furniture and decor pieces sourced from countless days at local antique stores and salvage yards. 

A large scroll of brown butcher paper anchors the storefront’s back wall and features the artwork of local illustrator Paul Michel, as well as the sweet and savory specials of the week. If you walk into the Humble Pie Store, you will no doubt have to try one of their incredible pies coupled with some of the best coffee  in town. Stay a while and you will probably overhear a local retelling stories of the building’s somewhat shady past and how happy they are to have such a wonderful, community-supporting shop in its place. Stay long enough to savor every last spoonful of goodness and you will probably get the urge to go scavenge local estate sales to find some buried treasure for yourself. 

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We mixed modern elements with vintage and rustic pieces to create an eclectic space that generates nostalgia and highlights our rustic, handmade pies.

Inspiration: We traveled to junkyards, architectural salvage lots, flea markets and thrift stores to find pieces that inspire patrons to relax, and enjoy the space and the food. Pieces range in age from brand new to several hundred years old.  We believe the finished effect is what is most important, despite how you get there.

Favorite Element: We love the wide plank, rough cut 1×6 floors – the grey stain is really unique, and the diagonal install makes the place really feel like it has been part of the community since the turn of the century.

Biggest Challenge: We wanted this space to really reflect objects and designs  we loved, versus replicating a time or type of design; we had to work hard to let  those who helped us let the style evolve vs. forcing a look.

What Friends Say: Mostly our friends say, “I want these floors in my house”  or “where did you find this thing…” People were surprised about what  happened when we both let our styles and drive around objects naturally come  together. This was our favorite project together as owners — we really feel like the space represents us both.

Biggest Embarrassment: We spent so much time building our little nest that  we never considered we couldn’t keep up with production in the kitchen we  built… the cooking space is far too small for our operation, and pies now are  cooked in a much less cool space off site.

Proudest DIY: Creating our own floor stain by mixing colors to create an effect.  Finding unique ways to fix up/re use salvaged items.

Biggest Indulgence: The vertical cut of tree that created our bar top and barista  shelf. The raw edge and craftsmanship that went into this was amazing to watch.

Best Advice: Really cross referencing architectural plans with city requirements  is so important – learning after the fact can be costly and really impact the project pace.

Dream Sources: Architectural Salvage, Really Old Barns/Factories, Old Historical Rural Sites, Mid-Century Modern Shops

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:

  • Floors: Minwax 50/50 mix Weathered Grey and Classic Grey
  • Dining area: Behr Silky White Grey wall: Behr Trout Grey




  • Paint: Behr Yellow Lichen and Behr Spicy Mustard
  • Mirror: Queen City Salvage
  • Vinyl decals on Door: Duc Huynh, friend.


(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Tamara & Jessica!

(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)

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