Raising The Bar

The last week has been super productive!

I managed to turn 31, hire a new electrician, get the first bit of our duct work up, and tile 2 bathrooms! I had some help on a few of these (…but turned 31 all by myself!) 🙂

The “un-written” post folder is getting out of control… I’m so far behind reality that we’ll probably have the cafe open for months and you guys will never know because I’ll still be writing about the renovation! I’ve been saving this post because it’s a beast… The Building of The Espresso Bar. Yes, good people, Fitz and I custom build espresso bars. It’s just this thing we do.

You’ll understand when you see the complexity of the images in this tangled post. But the magnitude of this project is a bit hard for even me to wrap my head around and I was there, in the thick of it, battling the 3-D beast of our minds.

The bar has to be plumbed – wired – meet ADA code – fit all of our equipment – be ergonomic for workflow on the employee side – be functional for customers – and look AMAZING and ORIGINAL.

No. Big. Deal.

Not to mention I’ve been judging espresso bars for years – both those I’ve worked at and ones we’ve met along the road. I have incredibly specific opinions. This will be my playpen for years to come. It’s gotta be good.

We spent a few months designing out in San Francisco but, like all (best-laid) plans, it was out the window upon moving to Amber Lane. So, both Mouse and Man spent the winter re-designing: a process that involved such intricately detailed consideration of measurements (equipment we don’t yet own – future growth – space for plumbing and electrical – and the geometry of fitting the pieces together: counter tops, counter face, shelving, etc.)… I shudder to think back.

I’ll leave the rest to pictures. Click on pictures for captions. Pace yourselves – take breaks. Grab a snack. And just remember, it wasn’t built in a day. (Pro Tip: It never is.)

Step 1: Build the counter tops.

Step 2: Build the consoles. Our bar is a horseshoe shape “U-ing” out from the back wall of the building. Above all else, we value transparency. We wanted a design that people could walk around and see what’s happening from all angles. The bar is book-ended by 2 consoles.

Step 3: Building the shelves. Remember the barn? Those incredible 3-inch thick beams finally make their debut!

Step 4: Cutting out the floor sink. We need an indirect drain for the espresso machine and all our other waste pipes at the bar. This floor sink ties in below the floor in our crawl space. To get there, we had to get through 5 layers of flooring…

Step 5: Pegging the shelves. Well, how would you connect a bunch of 3″ thick barn beams?

Step 6: Sealing the shelves. After all the insanity of the wood fill and requisite sanding, we sealed the barn beam shelves with polyurethane.

Step 7: Final preparation of materials.

Step 8: Let the drilling begin!

Step 9: Fine-tune for the finale!

Step 10: And up we go!!

Step 11: Placing the counter tops!

Step 12: Connecting the dots. You thought we were done, right?

Step 13: More pegs, on steroids.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to the skeleton of our very own Espresso Bar! Finishes to come later.



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