[ Above: A peek inside the front door of Carnegie Coffee Company ]
We love good design. We love finding people who are crafting well-made, modern goods. We also love exploring how folks we know are incorporating these design elements into their spaces----hopefully providing you with some design inspiration along the way.
First stop: Carnegie Coffee Company. We visited this creatively appointed coffee shop late last month, just after it had opened for business. Located in the heart of Carnegie, PA, Carnegie Coffee Company is providing a special kind of coffee shop experience----from the bold turquoise and red color scheme, to its eclectic, modern interior, to perhaps most importantly, its carefully brewed coffee. For us this place is a destination, one that's totally worth the short trip just a few miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
And that's exactly what owners Ashley Comer and Greg Romeo hoped it would be. While it's certainly a great stop for a quick cup of coffee, this shop is the kind of place where you want stay awhile to enjoy the experience.
[ Above: A centerpiece on Carnegie's main street, the building was once a post office ]
Once a post office, Carnegie Coffee Company's building boasts the enviable structural details of municipal architecture of yore. The exterior of the building is brick. The lampposts and door handles, solid metal. The windows soar two stories tall and fill the interior with incredible light. The wood floors are rich and worn. Ashley and Greg worked with an architect to renovate the building, adding a catwalk and lofted second story, but when it came to outfitting the space with furnishings and subtle design touches, Ashley trusted her own instincts.
[ Above: The original character of the building is accented by modern design accents like built-in bookshelves, a boldly patterned rug, gray IKEA armchairs, Gregory Beauchamp's States United letterpress print, and metal chairs from our partner shop TOWNHOUSE ]
Of the color scheme, Ashley told us that she considered using earth tones (a natural choice because as she pointed out, a coffee bean starts out green and roasts to brown) but changed her mind after a friend suggested she capture the spirit of the town's traditional main street, which is adorned with features painted turquoise-almost-aqua. The final result is a combination of that same blue-green hue paired with primary red. These colors are dashed throughout the interior in just the right amounts, their vividness balanced by vintage character.
[ Above: Repurposed post office boxes and marble make up the coffee bar. The original wood flooring and brickwork add warmth throughout the space ]
Using what was already there. There are all sorts of details in the space that hint at the building's past life. The coffee bar's countertop is solid marble repurposed from the postmaster's bathroom, which was once paneled from floor to ceiling with the honed rock. Supporting the counter are the original post office boxes. Ashley shared that a patron fondly remembered her grandmother's mailbox. It's these subtle details that that help tell a story that slowly unfolds the longer you linger in the shop.
Bringing in the new. In contrast to nostalgic details are the clean lined yet cozy modern and contemporary furnishings. Much like the rest of us do these days, Ashley said that she gathered her design inspiration on Pinterest----her notion of what would compliment the architecture evolved from coffee-shop-standard to something much more refreshing. The most eye-catching among the furniture are the brightly painted Tolix-inspired metal chairs. Built-in white bookshelves and over-sized gray armchairs present the perfect spot for reading a book or getting a little work done. Similar nooks are found throughout the space, sometimes accented by a cool light pendant or artwork.
[ Above: A tucked away nook with a pop of color from those sapphire blue Tolix-inspired chairs and an aluminum and wood side table ]
All in all, we think Carnegie Coffee Company offers a delightful and unique coffee shop experience, one that you won't find anywhere else in or around Pittsburgh. Our design and coffee appetites were certainly quenched.