We often talk about creating interactions with our design. Human-to-space, human-to-human interaction, and sometimes…our spaces help foster real community interaction. Our recent project with Oakwood Homes Reunion was a special project in many ways. Oakwood Homes calls the Reunion community a “real hometown”, and it’s certainly an apt description. The community includes a 21,000 sq. ft. state of the art recreation center, a 52-acre central park, an outdoor pool with interactive water features, and miles of trails circling acres of lakes. It’s a suburban community that exudes a Small Town USA vibe. Neighbors gather in common areas that foster real connections and a true community feeling. It was quite the exciting challenge when the team at Oakwood asked us to design the interior for the Reunion Coffee house. A space meant to act as, perhaps, the most central gathering spot for the community. A welcoming venue to start the day with a warm cup of coffee or wind down the week with friends and neighbors over a beer or glass of wine. A place that will host community events and live music. A hub of connection that will also serve as the community’s information center.
What was originally an abandoned information center building constructed of 3 forty-foot trailers, the design team was challenged in many ways to convert this building into a coffee house. Working around limitations posed by existing conditions such as ceiling heights, structural restrictions and converting the building to meet current codes, the process was complicated for the design and construction team from start to finish. Converting the space into what would be a hub of the community required creative programming, which developed into an eclectic style coffee house by morning and hip wine and music bar by night. The upbeat vibe of the interior was created with a delicate balance of modern and vintage influences highlighted with blue accents that relate back to the communities branded color scheme, resulting in an enticing and inviting spot to gather.
The indoor and outdoor seating options were all chosen and arranged to create opportunities for groups to gather, settle in, and open up. From cozy booths and padded oversized outdoor chairs to plush U-shaped sofas, the seating at the Reunion coffee house is both functionally designed and aesthetically beautiful.
Not to be left out, the children of the community needed a fun and engaging place to play as well while their parents enjoy a coffee or mingle. We created the kids nook where kids can color, read a book from the fun bookshelf, and write on the chalk board wall. All within eye sight of their parents.
A true hallmark of any great coffee shop is friendly, talented baristas. In an effort to create real community interaction Oakwood Homes has partnered with Community Uplift Partnership (The CUP), a local non-profit working to break the cycle of poverty through education and relationship. The Reunion Coffee House provides a place for young barista apprentices to learn job skills in a hands-on environment. Providing these young workers invaluable experience and skills to make them marketable employees upon graduation. Providing the team at KTI an opportunity to be a little extra proud of our work.
We talk about the concept of transformation a lot in our work. Seeing through what is and into what could be is where we find our passion. Transforming an old outdated home into something more modern and new, or transforming a blank canvas into a work of art makes our work really rewarding. Most rewarding of all is knowing this project is a venue for a different kind of transformation. One that will happen day-in, and day-out for years to come.