My mission was to give a sweet little café an identity, refresh its lobby and provide the appearance that the entire suite, including the café, received a makeover on a tight budget.
The space resides in an eight-story office building that is owned by a school district. It houses a variety of district departments, along with a few community businesses such as a law firm and bank. The café section of the floor is managed by the school district food and nutrition department.
A building refresh for a cafe
The lunch bistro serves the unique needs of a quiet downtown community, that is going through a bit of an identity crisis. There are limited restaurants available, and the café provides an inexpensive lunch alternative for building employees, a senior living center, city workers and residents.
A well-kept secret is the incredible view of the city and surrounding mountains. There are few vertical office buildings in downtown Mesa, Arizona and it’s like lunching in the treetops.
First impressions are everything
Limited funds meant that I had to be creative by making the lobby makeover appear to spill over into the café space.
The first step of the project was to establish a brand, it needed a name and a logo with a modern and sophisticated flair. Hence, The 8th Floor Café. I envisioned a clean industrial loft meets farmhouse modern style.
Warm gray tones and wood, metal and concrete provide guests a relaxed atmosphere. New concrete look floors replaced the outdated linoleum, continuing the industrial loft feel.
After the walls were treated to a new color scheme, featuring Dunn Edwards Pewter Patter DET627 and accent Metal Fringe DET626, an artist was hired to hand paint the new logo on the wall.
The budget constraints did not allow for painting the actual café, the gray needed to work with the existing yellow and purple walls. So, I cheated by, replacing teal accent walls with Pewter Patter, allowing the gray to continue into the café.
My favorite part of this project was using an illusion trick to hint at a total makeover. A strategically placed chalk board wall, just inside the café was a game changer. Customers in the lobby can see it as they enter the café through a set of double doors. The chalkboard wall adds interest and character to the room, making it feel as if it was part of the update. We painted the wall Dunn Edwards Charcoal Sketch DET628.
An old science desk circa 1940’s provides a space for the beverage cooler.
I removed the old fabric, and the guys in operations made a plexi-glass cover to protect the top from scatching. I entertained visions of the desk making a fabulous dining table in my kitchen. But for now, it adds style and a touch of charm to the café.
Barn style lighting fixtures updated the old white light boxes and added a touch of classic timelessness to the lobby.
The final piece de resistance is a metal and wood bench, which adds interest and texture, while providing a seat for guests to wait for the elevator.