Be Your Own Barista

Interior design trends come and go but some styles have staying power. For example, the hotel bathroom influence of the past decade is still a great idea. Lately, I’ve noticed a trend towards incorporating café/coffee shop style into residential kitchens. It’s a trend I really like and not just because I am a coffee addict. For the couple or family who loves to entertain, the café materials and design elements make for a durable and crisp kitchen/dining room style.

Recently I had the opportunity to consult on the décor in the popular new coffee shop Analog Café on 17 Ave. S.W. I’ve received a ton of emails and inquiries from customers of the café, asking where to source some of the elements. Today I’m going to provide a bunch of tips on how to bring this look home as well as a mini sourcing guide for you.

Start with good quality hardwood or engineered floors. I like a wide board look or if you can get it, the classic herringbone application like we used in Analog. In my design practice I tend towards lighter woods like white oak or Ash, but you can carry this look with virtually any wood tones. Keep in mind the darker the wood, the more dust and scrapes you have a tendency to see. I use the one metre rule. If you don’t notice a dent or scratch from standing, it doesn’t really exist right? Black and white checkered tile or marmoleum is another great easy care option.

A neutral (white) paint palette and simple white subway tiles are inexpensive and easy to attain. Don’t be afraid of adding color though. Paint a feature wall in a bright color (yellow is always fun) or add a brick element if you can. If your kitchen has room for a built-in banquet, consider a black tufted look in leather or leatherette, it’s super easy to wipe down and impossible to stain. A good gooseneck restaurant-style faucet is both practical and beautiful. Marble or quartz countertops in white or even butcher block lend European coffee shop style to any kitchen.

It’s all in the details. Using lighting choices, seating and décor items you can accomplish the look even if you are not renovating.

Here is a sourcing guide directly from my café project for you.

For lighting choices, try hanging lights like Noir pendant lights (CB2.com) over your table or island. Reasonably priced, they have a great teardrop shape and the scale is wonderful.

For seating choices, Tolix (www.tolix.fr) metal chairs look great around a farm table. We used a classic bentwood chair and barstools in Analog, you can find them at Restoration Hardware (www.restorationhardware.com)

For décor choices we hung an inexpensive, large security mirror above the coffee station. The convex mirror has grand scale, a super price point and adds a playful element. You can find one at any local security company. Don’t forget the menu board! Hang a great framed chalkboard, or paint a wall, your backsplash or cupboard fronts in chalkboard paint. For a dose of fun, list the week’s menu items. The chalkboard is also a great organizing tool for grocery lists and appointments.

I salvaged the old exterior signage from the locations exterior for the project. We installed the old metal lettering on the walls behind the work area. Type fonts make great inexpensive wall art. Try sourcing some metal wall or three-dimensional letters for your own kitchen.

Should you have a wall that is large enough, you could do a great collage of your favorite art. We hung a large collection of paintings, photographs and prints and grouped them together along the main seating wall at Analog. If you are looking for tips on how to develop an art wall don’t worry, I will be sharing all of my tips on grouping art in my next CREB®Now article.

Lastly, and most importantly, add a top-notch home espresso machine to your countertop. Spend some time researching models until you get a good machine in your price point and get practicing your latte art!

Lori Andrews is an insanely happy Interior Designer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta Canada. www.loriandrewsinteriors.com.

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