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Online Exclusive! One Shot - Philadelphia

Feb 24, 2011

By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen; photography by M Scott Whitson

One Shot, an 80-seat café in Philadelphia's up-and-coming neighborhood of Northern Liberties, was a personal project for designer Chris Sheffield. Not only is he a friend of owner Melissa Baruno and a longtime patron of her original location one block away, but also his office and home are both less than two miles away. "We spent so much time hanging around, I think she figured we were a safe bet since we'd have a unique sense of ownership," jokes Sheffield of how he got the job.

As for the design: "We wanted an authenticity that reflected Northern Liberties' turn of the century, industrial past," explains Sheffield, founder of SL Design. "We wanted the space to feel as though it had grown organically over time, and wanted to celebrate individuality and the neighborhood's well-deserved reputation of as the center of art and creative energy in Philadelphia."

The two-story space (once a first floor bar and second floor apartment) has a handcrafted, been-there-forever, homey feel. Part of the reason: the budget. With less than $90 per square foot, Sheffield had to be creative with materials and furniture—the result is a mishmash of found pieces.

On the first floor, the ceiling is a collage of tin ceiling panels (eight patterns in all) recovered from local buildings, and reclaimed panels make up the bar, which Sheffield scraped to reveal the layers of paint and wood below before sealing it. Upstairs, the ceiling is made up of wide plank roof sheathing reclaimed from demolished 19th century row homes and walls are clad in hardwood slats salvaged from palettes donated by a local freight company. As for the furniture, some is custom, but most was collected over a six-month period, from café chairs purchased for $5 each from a local flea market to Toledo chairs found through a dealer.

The standout is the upstairs library/family room populated with framed photos of the owner's family and the kinds of books that "people collect and borrow over time: bestsellers, biographies, classic fiction," Sheffield says. And a motorcycle does double duty as an unexpected surprise and it fills Sheffield's need for a sculptural object to fill an odd space below a staircase leading to the third-floor office.

"The budget was a challenge, but the bigger challenge was trying to create a space that doesn’t feel designed, too intentional, with the comfort and familiarity that the neighborhood demands," Sheffield explains. "And since we're neighbors, the biggest challenge was creating a space that we live with everyday when we stop in for our morning coffee."

See more images in our photo gallery.
One Shot, Philadelphia
Owner: Melissa Baruno
Interior Design Firm: SLDesign
Project Team: Chris Sheffield and Kate Rohrer
General Contractor: Buckminster Green
Signage: John Reardon, Jamie Oakes
Bar/Backbar Millwork: Workerman Gallery
Library Millwork: Mike Baker
Banquette: Carolina Custom Booth Co
First Floor Cafe Tables/Bases: Beaufurn
Second Floor Tables: Carolina Custom Booth Co
Second Floor Table Bases: Daniel Paul
First Floor Pendant Lights: Rejuvenation
Tin Ceiling Panels: Olde Good Things

hdtalks: the interviews

Two of Grupo Habita's partners, Moises Micha and Carlos Courturier, discuss heir partnership and their management style. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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