Sweet Caf

COMMERCIAL REMODEL Remodeler: Kaiser Building Co., Cranbury, N.J. Interior designers: Jerry Reilly, Halo Farm, Lawrence, N.J. The sterile space once belonged to a celluar phone store. Now it's a charming old-style ice cream and pastry parlor that gives reason for celebration in a newly re-developed section of downtown Princeton, N.

October 31, 2006

Halo Fete's mosaic marble floor is very unique for a commercial space, says Kaiser.  Photos by Janet Paxton Photos

COMMERCIAL REMODEL

Remodeler: Kaiser Building Co., Cranbury, N.J.

Interior designers: Jerry Reilly, Halo Farm, Lawrence, N.J.

The sterile space once belonged to a celluar phone store. Now it's a charming old-style ice cream and pastry parlor that gives reason for celebration in a newly re-developed section of downtown Princeton, N.J., an area that resembles old-style Williamsburg.

Located in a mixed-use urban area that combines retail space with residential apartments within walking distance of Princeton University, the sweet treat shop — a product of Kaiser Building and interior design firm Halo Farm — is one of several in the area, each with its own unique theme and menu, owned by the Halo Farm micro-dairy. This shop, appropriately called Halo Fete, was completed in January 2005 and designed to reflect the style and character of a French café.

"This client does something out of the ordinary for each one of its stores and sets an appropriately high budget in order to support that," says Michael Kaiser, head of Kaiser Building in Cranbury, N.J. The project had a budget of approximately $140,000. "It is this type of very detailed and unusual commercial project that is our specialty."

The back bar and service counter were custom built to fit the space and showcase the display freezers that contain the shop's edibles.

One of the most challenging elements of the remodel, says Kaiser, became ensuring all materials would comply with health department standards because it's a retail space where food would be served.

The design for the gourmet ice cream patisserie called for high-end finishes selected to contribute a charming and rustic European flavor to the customer seating area as well as to the service counter and display cases. Materials, such as the Italian Carrera marble countertops and floor are intended to wear over time for added patina. Shiplapped pine plank paneling used for the wainscoting on the walls features a hand-rubbed gold glaze finish and has a red Venetian plaster above it.

The beamed ceiling is actually suspended from the building's structural framing, creating a chase for concealing HVAC, plumbing, piping and wiring runs. The rough-sawn beams themselves were recycled from a barn in Lancaster, Pa. Drywall panels between the beams were faux finished to simulate real plaster work, says Kaiser. "These custom touches really made this project extraordinary."

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