We’ve recently had the pleasure of developing and completing a fantastic new cafe in the small Sussex village of Handcross. Enlisted with a scope of work that included the overall concept, menu concept, branding, AND full service interior design, we were heads-down and hard at work with a sharp timeline and a tight budget. Having a hand in every aspect of streamlining the customer journey was a welcome challenge and one that we accepted wholeheartedly. As with all projects, there were valuable take-aways that will make our future projects even better. This is one of my favourite aspects of design, no two projects are ever alike and there are always new things to learn, new craftsman, artists, and build professionals to meet, new clients to make happy!
The cafe owner and serial entrepreneur, whose aim was to share his passion for good strong coffee and custard tarts, was met with great enthusiasm from the village, where such things were rather hard to come by. Given carte blanche with the aesthetics, the MC+CO team got busy creating a welcoming space that feels contemporary in nature, stylish and approachable, somewhere that feels like a special little retreat for locals to enjoy.
Situated in an historic building that was long ago a popular petrol station, the old-fashioned, bright green petrol pump (one of the last of its kind) greets customers at the front door. Inside, the rugged brick walls and large-scale windows were a great foundation upon which to begin to develop the design. A long, narrow space, the entire back half (the kitchen/work area), was painted black to make it disappear, therefore removing the tunnel-like effect, keeping the focus on the seating area and the display of tantalising sweets on offer. We removed some non-structural elements, upgraded the lighting, and covered the walls with fresh chalky paint. Varying cake stand heights, layering in textural elements, and warming things up with the lighting, large-scale foliage, and hand-woven baskets on the wall created a space that feels relaxed, welcoming, and ever-so-slightly sophisticated. Keep scrolling for some before and after photos.
Since opening, the cafe is receiving rave reviews and experiencing high demand. Our client is so pleased with the results, he’s scouting for the next location! We're looking forward to getting started already.