Verve Coffee Roasters
Fuse Architects + Builders
Santa Cruz, California
When Colby Barr and Ryan O'Donovan opened Verve four and a half years ago on a shoestring budget, they did all the interior work themselves, from pouring the concrete counters to driving to Sausalito, California, to buying stoneware tile. Slinging espressos for the surfers and other locals in the Pleasure Point area of Santa Cruz, California, proved successful, and soon they took over the space next door and began roasting their own coffee. By 2010 they had outgrown both spaces and, to keep up with growing demand, Barr and O'Donovan decided to expand their roasting capacity. Working with Daniel Gomez and Daniel Townsend of the Santa Cruz'based design-build firm Fuse Architects + Builders, they found space in the city's old Seabright Cannery to adapt for the new roastery. At the same time, they planned a second caf' in a storefront on Pacific Avenue, the main drag downtown. For both renovations, Barr and O'Donovan wanted to translate the honest, do-it-yourself spirit of their first coffee shop into a pair of open, daylit, industrial-modern spaces that would communicate their brand's focus on straightforward, unfussy quality.
Joining a bike shop, a surf shop, and other businesses in the circa-1914 cannery, the owners liked that their new roastery belonged to a residential neighborhood'which had been built to house cannery workers. 'It's easy to find industrial space out of town, but that's not our vibe,' says Barr. 'We're always trying to connect our business with people and include them in the manufacturing side of it.' In addition to an office, a barista training area, and a cupping room (for experimenting with brewing techniques), the 7,200-square-foot roastery includes a small ground-floor caf'.
To rejuvenate the industrial space, the architects added large windows, reclad the building with bonderized metal siding and flat-panel Cor-Ten, and, inside, removed a chunk of the mezzanine. When they ripped out the plywood and drywall, Gomez and Townsend discovered a preserved structure of century-old Douglas fir timbers'along with an old train trestle that had apparently been used to bolster it. They exposed the timbers and the trestle and used the leftover wood to mill doors and woodwork for the roastery and the Pacific Avenue caf'. The architects glassed in the remainder of the mezzanine to create an office that overlooks the roastery floor, where visitors can walk in for tours. 'This had been a dilapidated section of the cannery; people didn't really have a reason to come down here,' says Gomez. 'Now there are 40 people every morning.'
Barr and O'Donovan wanted the Pacific Avenue caf' to recall the roastery's raw-edged authenticity but with a clean, modern twist. The architects replaced the existing drop ceiling with a pressed tin ceiling and painted it white, poured a self-leveling concrete floor, and dangled a grouping of tungsten bulbs at different heights above the counter. The fir salvaged from the roastery'most prominently on a boatlike overhang housing an office, above the service area'has tighter joinery and smoother surfaces to complement the 2,800-square-foot caf''s more refined finishes. Since the spaces opened last fall, Verve's roasting capacity has increased sixfold. Revenues have more than doubled, and Barr expects them to triple by year's end. He and O'Donovan see Fuse's work as key to the perception of their brand. 'We wanted these projects to be beautiful, and we did that because that's who we are,' says Barr. 'But over time it has reflected on how people interpret us as a company and reflects directly on the product.'
Lamar Anderson is based in San Francisco and frequently contributes to RECORD.
Fuse Architects + Builders
201 Monterey Avenue, Suite G.
Capitola, California 95010
(831) 479-9295 (phone)
(831) 479-9325 (fax)
104 Bronson street
Santa Cruz, California, 95062
1540 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, California, 95060
Seabright: October 2011
Pacific Avenue: November 2011
Gross square footage:
Seabright: 7,200 sq. ft.
Pacific Avenue: 2,700 sq. ft.
Total construction cost: Withheld
Building Owners: Lou Rittenhouse (Pacific Avenue location); Seabright Station (Seabright location)
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
General contractor: Fuse Architects + Builders
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Wood doors: Fuse in-house, custom fabrication (all made of reclaimed wood from the Roastery)
Sliding doors: Fuse in-house, custom fabrication (all made of reclaimed wood from the Roastery)
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Solid surfacing: Caesar Stone/Mild Steel
Floor and wall tile: Modwall Tile (Seabright Bathrooms), Heath Tile/Mission Tile (Pacific Avenue back wall and Bathrooms)
Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Upholstery: **Commercial Seating Specialists, 481 Laurelwood Road, Santa Clara Ca. 95054
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: