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Project Spotlight

Project Spotlight: Roses' Taproom

By Lindsey |

Tile Shown: Ogee Drop in Emerald // Design: Young America Creative // Photos: Lauren Andersen 

Designed by Young America Creative, the free-spirited watering hole known as Roses' Taproom in Oakland features a vibrant Ogee Drop bar backsplash highlighting its delicious, house-made brews. 

For a look like this, go for our Ogee Drops in Emerald

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We caught up with Meghan and Brian of Young America Creative to learn more about their firm, their design process, and the Roses' Taproom project. Keep reading for their full interview!

About Young America Creative:
Young America Creative (YAC) is a design firm. We were trained in architecture and thrive in cross-disciplinary work ranging from graphic design to custom fabrication. We started in 2011 when a friend asked us to design a cafe for her, and that same year we also produced our first product. We work on 50% commercial projects and 50% residential projects-- we like the mix!

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YAC creators, Brian Friel (left) and Meghan Dorrian (right). 

How did you get involved with Roses' Taproom?
Hillary and Luke, the owners of Roses’ Taproom, were our friends before the project and they asked us to provide architectural/design services for their new endeavor, a brewery buildout in Temescal. We provided the overall layout, permitting, and harnessed their vision into the aesthetic gem you can visit today. Great projects always come down to great clients. These clients are great AND went to design school at Cooper Union, so they speak the language fluently and both have an incredible eye for detail and design. Also Luke was transitioning from his previous career in millwork, so when it came to the wood scope, he built everything you touch and took on those details like the pro he is.

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Is there a story behind Roses' Taproom? What was the aesthetic you were going for? 
Hillary and Luke had a strong vision for the atmosphere of Roses.’ They were envisioning a space that was warm (think tropical Caribbean warm) in contrast to the more industrial elements of brewing that sometimes end up dominating a brewery taproom, for better or for worse. By no means did they want to hide the process of brewing. Like all designers, their true love is in the process of making, so of course, they wanted the brewing equipment to have a presence, but not overtake your experience. They continually emphasized wanting a space that was inviting to all, and especially women. I often go in there and see groups of women hanging out together and do a hidden victory dance every time.

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What was your number one goal for Roses' Taproom? 
The space has amazing afternoon/evening natural light, so orienting the layout to capture as much seating in the afternoon glow was the first move. We also wanted to keep an open brewery which required moving a large staircase that lived in the middle of the space. That move significantly opened up the space both visually and functionally for the brewery setup. Having clients with a strong but simple vision is a dream. We were able to take their concept and run pretty swiftly through the phases of design.

Before:
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After:
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How involved were your clients in the design/build process? 
Very involved!  Probably the most involved of any project we have completed to date. There was a GC (Echo Summit) on board but Hillary and Luke took on about half the work themselves. They demo’d the space and built everything they could above ground. Luke engineered the brewery system and put it together, as well as the beautiful Ash bar tops, benches, tables. Everyone loves the wall color that Hillary chose and I think it really works. It oozes the warm Caribbean vibe and complements beautifully with the Emerald green of the Ogee Drop and all the plants.

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We noticed a reoccurring theme throughout the space...Tell us more about that. 
The clients love curves. You can see it in the bar layout, there are curves and a beautiful round bar end that acts almost as a communal gathering point. We also designed the rounded, wall mounted table tops that we think are incredibly successful because two people or a group of five can comfortably sit at them. We matched that shape to the mirror design, and spec’d the round Cedar and Moss globes to fit in the center of each mirror. This is all to say, that the feature tile was destined to be the Ogee Drop. The clients loved it from day 1. We knew it was going to be included somewhere, and the Emerald is the complementary color to the tropical walls and in the same range as all the plants. We then used the Ogee Drop shape for the face of bar design which is CNC cut panels with the same design at a larger scale. People often think this is also tile. 

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What's important to you when designing commercial spaces? 
Since this is a brewery, all the beer you drink at Roses’ is brewed about 20 feet away. The tap wall is the central element of the bar space. At YAC we feel like the designer has failed if you have to add a sign that says “order here,” so it was crucial that the tap wall be both beautiful and obvious. It’s basically the pulpit of a brewery.

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How was the installation process? Did you face any challenges? Lessons learned?
We love the range of saturated colors the Fireclay Tile offers. The gloss glaze of this tile is necessary for the amount of beer flow in this zone. I love the crackle; it gives the tiles so much more depth. This was my first time working the Ogee Drop shape which is probably the most complicated shape out there for tile. The tile installer did a great job at centering the tile so that we have equal cuts on the ends. There is a Schluter edge on the corner which is well executed but not always our favorite detail but mitering that shape is just not a good idea and I think it turned out great as you see it!

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What other shapes, colors or handpainted patterns would you love to use in future projects?
We use a lot of Fireclay Tile!  Probably the most prominent use of Fireclay is the scalene gradient install at Verve Coffee Roasters on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz.

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Tile Shown: Scalene Triangles in Salton Sea, Sea Glass, Iron Ore, Calcite, and Frost

We have yet to use a handpainted tile but because we are both from south Santa Cruz County, about ten miles from the Fireclay Tile factory, I am obsessed with the crop circle tiles that were influenced by our home turf. 

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Tile Shown: Handpainted tiles from the Agrarian Collection

If architecture is anything, it is an environmental/atmospheric endeavor as much as it is part of the building industry and our youth among the strawberry fields, apple orchards, redwood forests, and wild beaches continues to influence our design practice. We can’t wait to use that one! If I build myself a house, there is no doubt I will use it.

Why do you love working with tile?
Oh man! Tile is a functional, durable product that can be made locally, comes in a plethora of finishes, colors, and glazes adding incredible texture to a space. Geometrically it can be used in an endless quantity of patterns. Tile can be subtle, or it can shout out loud.

Best design advice you can offer?
Trust your designer!  We think about design in our sleep. All design firms work overtime basically for free, we vacation to see famous buildings. It is essential for clients to have a simple, strong vision; our best projects are the ones where that is the case and then we are set free.

Check out more of Brian and Meghan's work on their website, and if you're in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, don't forget to visit Roses' Taproom

Need some help on your own project? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. 

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