The past few posts have been about the process of renovating the Twisted Tree Cafe, which my girlfriend Rachel and I bought last April. The tools and sawdust are cleaned up, and the cafe is open again. To the point:
We worked hard to design a beautiful, comfortable, and flexible space. Overall, the cafe now feels much more open, yet we have added 7 more seats to the layout. While I've been able to do essentially whatever I want, we had very real constraints. Every idea had to fit within our relatively short time frame, and very small budget. (Granted, I was able to absorb my own labor costs, but raw materials and supplies cost real money.)
The tables, chairs and counters are reclaimed heart pine. The window counter stools are made from old barn siding left over from this project. The built in banquette is made from regular lumber yard 2x4's (Because they're cheap, ya know?). A few coats of waterborne grey lacquer from Target Coatings makes those wall studs look way better than they deserve to. The cabinetry around the service counter was built on site from lumber yard plywood and painted with the same grey lacquer. All the chairs, tables and counters are finished with Target Coatings finishes as well. Check out their stuff, they make the very best waterborne finishes I've ever found. And I've looked. A lot.
The menu chalkboards are plywood painted with chalkboard paint, which works so much better than you'd think. (I love how chalkboard menus look; I gained a new appreciation for how long it takes to draw all of those letters!) We sanded the old worn finish off the floors and left them raw.
Finally, I usually hate before and after photos, mostly because they tend to be unfair. The before shot is often a terrible snapshot, while the after shot is professionally styled, lit and photographed. Here is a before shot with about the same perspective and lighting as the first photo in this post.