Location: Kalamazoo, MI
The old building that now houses a new and colorful diner and coffee shop had been empty for years and had a crumbling brick exterior and dark, worn interior. Clearly in need of an “extreme makeover” inside and out, the task seemed initially daunting to the potential owners. It was the neighborhood that convinced them to proceed, however, as the building site is perfectly situated between the families in the Stuart and Westwood neighborhoods, and the students in the Fairmont and Kalamazoo College area, and worth the investment required to reinvent the corner.
The owners started by gutting and reworking the interior of the building, creating a new kitchen and an eating area for 30 patrons. Knowing they would need to spruce up the exterior as well, the opportunity came when a Community Block Grant for facade redevelopment became available for city businesses.
InForm Architecture was hired for the re-design of the exterior, and together we worked out a spunky new look for the building. The owners wanted a colorful, bright, and bold face to appeal to the surrounding neighbors as well as passers-by.
Throughout the re-invention process, the owners built on their good relationship with the neighbors. Success of this was evident on opening day, when neighbors stood at the road-side flagging down customers and creating a splashy welcome!