Santa Cruz–based company Verve has three locations in the beachside city. Its roastery is sited in a structure that was built in 1914 to house the Seabright Cannery, which operated until 1989. After that, it became a warehouse for skate and surf companies. Fuse Architecture was called into convert the space into a roasting plant and retail storefront that opened in 2011.
"The roastery location is in an industrial warehouse right in the middle of a neighborhood," says Dan Townsend of Fuse Architecture. "Other tenants in the complex are Oneill Surf Boards, Santa Cruz skate boards, Santa Cruz Mountain Bikes, Element, Pacific Edge Climbing, and others. The neighborhood had not dealt with the smells, noise and traffic of a coffee roaster so the Owners wanted us to design the space where the neighbors would feel like they could walk up, see the operation, and order coffee."
This is what the building looked like before Verve moved in. Fuse served as designers and builders of the project, which was key in accomplishing the desired effect.
Verve's Seabright location is just over 6,000 square feet that's divided into a storefront, office, training room, cupping room, and roasting plant. Fuse used materials reclaimed from the building's demo to construct new details.
In its cannery days, the structure was used to wash and package string beans and to process pears. To that end, the concrete floors on on both levels were sloped to drain water. When jackhammering away concrete on the second story's floor, Fuse's builders discovered douglas fir beams that were in good condition. They salvaged the wood to create doors, windows, and counter fronts. "We used every scrap of it," Townsend says. "You can see the nail holes in the pictures."
To further tie the structure into its history, Fuse used bonderized corrugated steel on the exterior. They torched the redwood used on the staircase for a charred look and sprayed the Cor-Ten steel elements with sea water to accelerate the rusting process. The result makes the business look like it's been a part of the area for years.
Here's a look at the counter. In addition to the solid-wood beams, Fuse found more pleasant surprises in the building during the renovation. "We demolished the drywall off of one of the internal walls and found that the original builders used a piece of an old train trestle to construct this wall—probably to save money," Townsend says. "We exposed it, sand blasted it, and now it's a main feature."
The second-floor office overlooks the roastery below.
The lights hanging above the counter are repurposed chicken feeders turned upside down.
Fuse designed Verve's Pacific Avenue location concurrently and wanted to tie the two spaces together aesthetically. The salvaged douglas fir from Seabright also clads the counter at this space and was used on the shelving. The counter is capped in Caesarstone.