Thursday, August 28, 2008


There are some coffee shops in America that sell cups of coffee not too much smaller than this one. 

However! That's actually part of our sign, which was designed (or the logo was, anyways) by the illustrious Katie Sholler, a true patriot. Also, if you feel, like some people, that I look older nowadays than I did, oh, a month ago or so, it might be best to keep that to yourself. 

I thought I'd post a picture so you'll know it when you see it on the street. 

In other news, Mark told me that today he took a taxi and told them to go to the Red Park CafĂ©, and they knew exactly what he was talking about. Took him straight there. 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Renovation Pt. 3

So. We were in the big city for a while this week, and when we got back I took a few pictures of the current renovation for your benefit. While we were away, we had the paint shipped to the coffee shop, and when we got back they were already almost finished painting. See for yourself!

Here's the way that the counter turned out. On the sides is the same type of wallpaper that we used along the stairs. 

Here you can see the full room, the way the colors look together. The ceiling isn't yet the way it'll be--under the grey paint will be a ceiling that looks like black plastic squares. I think that's the best way I can describe it now, but I'll take pictures later. You can tell here that the color isn't a true red (it's a little light), as I unexpectedly discovered that it's impossible to make red paint in China. Note that this is in spite of the fact that everything in China is red. It's not so obviously light when you're there, though (in these pictures the lighting was strange, and it looks washed out), and I think ultimately it'll help the place not feel overwhelmingly dark. 

Here's the view obviously looking outside from deeper in the first floor. You can see a couple of the tables we made attached to the walls, as well as the way the bar looks from farther away. 

Here's an above view, where again you can get a good view of the bar and the tables.

Here's a closer view of two of the things I'm actually most proud of--the bookshelf that looks like part of the wall, which I got ideas for from the internet and then designed and decided on. The design of the left side eliminates the need for bookends, and looks pretty awesome in the process. The under-stairs shelves were designed and made by the workers without us even asking, but they turned out to be very useful and awesome-looking. 

Here's the upstairs, looking towards the outside window. The columns on the right were a surprise, but not a terribly unwelcome one--it'll help the wall-space to not look so terribly empty, even if we don't put that much on it (which we will).

Here's the view back in on the top floor. Again, the ceiling will be the black plastic squares, and the lights will be on the brown part. We'll also have lamps hanging over each table. 

Here you can see the way the stairs look, with the border of wood and wallpaper on the wall. The wallpaper, again, is the same as that of the bar. 

Let me know what you think! Hehe, but only if it's good, because most of this is non-negotiable at this point (what's done is done--forget dissenting opinions). 

Edit: I should probably note that the most interesting part of the bookshelf, the way of holding books on the left side, is completely someone else's idea. My part in it was only to modify it slightly, put it with the normal-bookshelf-type right side, and decide to make it look like it's part of a wall (originally there wasn't a wall there at all).

I got enough compliments on it that I thought I should give credit where credit is due. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wall Color

So. I think, for the walls, we're going with a color similar to "Rapture," the color that I painted my room back at 110 Finley in Clemson, for those of you who have seen it.

For those of you who are more acquainted with the Chinese Dulux brand, you may note that it's about half-way between "Flaming Sword" and "Party Place."

For everyone else...

Well... It's red.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Tonight, as I did laundry by lamplight, I threw open my windows to a storm. The wind that rushed through carried, unmistakably, the scent of perfume. Even now, later, the house still smells faintly of it. 

The lingering scent reminds me of something Pessoa once considered (or should have), under the moniker Bernardo Soares. He wrote of a kind of nostalgia for a memory that never happened. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kodak Moments with Mark

Here are two conversations that Mark and I had a few days ago:

Me : Let's order a pot of tea.

Mark : But you like red tea. I like green tea. You say tomato, I say tomahto. Let's call it off.

Me : Okay. Forget it. 

And that night, walking home from the bus stop:

Mark : You know, you really are handsome. Especially at night.

Me (laughing) : Ahhh. You mean in the mooooonlight?

Mark : No. I mean in the dark. 

Renovation Pt. 2

Here are some more shots of the construction:

Here's the storefront. You can see the way the sign will look, though of course it'll have Chinese characters, as well as English words, made of metal soon, and with lights to shine on it at night. 

Here you can see the counter pretty clearly. We're going to need to make a lot of changes to it, but the structure's there. Also, you can get a pretty good look at the rest of the room--the bookshelves I'm especially pretty proud of (I'll include some more shots when they're closer to being finished). You can see a little bit of the ceiling work (the wide part that wraps around the sides, which will later be black and contain lights and speakers). 

Top view of the first floor, especially the counter. 

Here you can get a better view of the ceiling work, and you can also see where they took out the old windows. They put in large panes of glass this morning, and they should finish with it tomorrow morning after I talk to them about a couple of the specifics. 

Here's a few of the street right in front of my house, when the sun came out a little before sunset. It's been raining a lot lately, so the low today was 47, even though we were in the 80s last week. 

Tomorrow I'm taking a mid-day break (working out a few things at the space before, doing interviews after) to go to a park with some friends that's a little outside the city and sports our very own Great Wall, in miniature. I'll try and snap a few pictures. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Renovation Pt. 1

So. To be honest, at times this renovation has come pretty close to driving me (not to mention my contractor) crazy. Twice I've caught the workers rushing through a job and doing it poorly, and we've had several communication issues about what exactly I want him to do with the different things I'm having him build. It doesn't help that I don't have enough time to dedicate just to being at the space and making sure everything's going smoothly according to plan.

At times I worry the end result will be terrible, and at times I think that it's going to be the best coffee shop that ever was. Right now I figure it'll probably lie somewhere in between. And I'm excited. 

Regardless! You can see here what the construction looked like a few days ago.