As a young, contemporary architect and principal with the Dado Group, Kristin Hefty has taken on numerous design/build commercial projects, including the design of the corporate offices for Sweet Leaf Tea in Austin, The Monterey restaurant in San Antonio’s Southtown, and Granary at The Pearl. Her latest achievement is Rosella Coffee Company, an interior finish-out in San Antonio’s River North neighborhood, where she showcases her passion for turning underutilized existing structures into vibrant, interesting spaces.

 

For this project, her team was tasked with converting a space in a former plumbing supply warehouse into a contemporary urban cafe serving high-end coffee, craft beer and wine, complemented with artisan pastries, breakfast dishes and gourmet sandwiches.

“We really liked the bones of the existing space/structure: the weathered pine ceiling,  the concrete floors, the exposed brick walls, and steel windows. Our goal was to play on those materials and do something industrial and raw, but comfortable at the same time,” says Hefty, whose designs strive to incorporate local building traditions and often utilize native materials including stone, wood, metal and repurposed industrial material.

“The challenge with tenant finish out and remodel projects is always working within the confines of the existing space,” explains Hefty. “Sometimes you luck out and are presented with a structure with great character to begin with as we did on this project, but we still had to fit all the working components of a full service coffee shop, meet the owner’s seating requirements, and create an inviting, warm place to relax and enjoy a mini java vacation.”

Challenge number one arose with the 18½-foot-high ceiling. In order to fill the space and utilize that height, Hefty recommended adding a wood and steel mezzanine. “The owner was reluctant since it added expense to the project, which was on a tight budget anyway,” she explains. “But, we were sure that it would break up the height and bring some human scale back to the space. Also, we felt the reduced scale in the bar area would add a layer of coziness while creating more seating upstairs, which would also have a dynamite framed view of downtown through the existing high windows. Design wise, we try to incorporate at least one big move in our projects, and we believe this was the critical move in creating the right feeling for the space.”

However, adding the mezzanine brought structural challenges, like the need to add piers and new columns. And, while cutting through the existing foundation, the team found voids in the foundation which had to be filled. The size of the mezzanine was also an issue, since current code and ADA requirements limited its size. In an effort to reduce the floor area but keep the continuous look of the mezzanine, the team opened up the floor by peeling back the wood boards at the main entrance above the bar. This move brought the additional bonus of more natural light under the mezzanine. “We find that on most projects, these types of challenges often lead to opportunities, and this was a great example of that,” says Hefty.

The modern, industrial look was enhanced throughout with materials like clear coated steel, steel beams, wood columns and s a young, contemporary architect and principal with the Dado Group, Kristin Hefty has taken on numerous design/build commercial projects, including the design of the corporate offices for Sweet Leaf Tea in Austin, The Monterey restaurant in San Antonio’s Southtown, and Granary at The Pearl. Her latest achievement is Rosella Coffee Company, an interior finish-out in San Antonio’s River North neighborhood, where she showcases her passion for turning underutilized existing structures into vibrant, interesting spaces.

For this project, her team was tasked with converting a space in a former plumbing supply warehouse into a contemporary urban cafe serving high-end coffee, craft beer and wine, complemented with artisan pastries, breakfast dishes and gourmet sandwiches.

“We really liked the bones of the existing space/structure: the weathered pine ceiling, the concrete floors, the exposed brick walls, and steel windows. Our goal was to play on those materials and do something industrial and raw, but comfortable at the same time,” says Hefty, whose designs strive to incorporate local building traditions and often utilize native materials including stone, wood, metal and repurposed industrial material.

A pine treads to tie in with the existing industrial material, and the bar was custom built out of a solid steel plate and pine. The walls that surround the bar were covered floor to ceiling in chalkboard to add hand-written menus and specials.

The lighting and electrical work unexpectedly became another big design element. “With all the exposed elements, we decided to run all the electrical wiring through exposed conduit,” says Hefty. Working with lighting consultant/designer Christina Brown from Studio Lumina, the team came up with the clever lighting pattern on the wall, which spells Rosella in Braille. The pattern also draws the eye upward and helps balance the taller space visually. “As the lights went up during construction, we loved the winding patterns of the exposed conduit so much that we decided to paint the conduit black to make it stand out more and match the blackened steel used on the stairs, handrails, and elsewhere,” adds Hefty. “We took it a step further with a gray wall paper that had a similar pattern to the exposed conduit, which we used behind the bar. We then painted a few accent walls in a gold tone (selected by Greg Mannino who acted as color consultant), similar to the color in Rosella’s logo, to contrast all of these elements.”

The result is an open space that combines an industrial aesthetic with a cozy atmosphere and a good balance between modern and rustic. “In the end, I think the owner is very pleased with the outcome of the project, including the mezzanine, and has already mentioned working on a second location with us. I think he may have to — even with the additional mezzanine seating, the place is packed every time we stop in for a cup of joe!”

RESTAURANT Rosella Coffee Company
210.277.8574 | www.Rosellacoffee.com

DESIGN-BUILD Dado Group
210.828.4599 | www.Dado-group.com