Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mother, daughter renovate 1916 Mesa Craftsman bungalow

[Source: Jessica Wanke, Arizona Republic] -- When Coffee Talk, a quirky, antique-filled coffee shop in downtown Mesa, went up for sale last year, the shop's legion of loyal fans feared it might mean the demise of their favorite haunt. Luckily for them, the shop was purchased by mother-daughter team Betty Freeman, 58, and Carrie Hensley, 34, who have not only kept the business going but have a slate of improvements and additions in the works. Included in their plans are a move to more organic and natural foods, the restoration of the building to its original arts and crafts motif (it was built in 1916) and the addition of a yoga studio out back.

The name of the business will eventually be changed to Inside the Bungalow to shift the emphasis away from coffee and onto the overall atmosphere. The pair, who moved to the Valley with their families five years ago from the Midwest, work most days together behind the counter at Coffee Talk, chatting up customers and creating concoctions in the kitchen. "What first drew us to this place is there is nothing like it in all of Mesa for sure and possibly the East Valley," said Hensley, a former yoga studio manager.

The building's current incarnation is only the latest of several over its lifetime. Today it looks like the home of an eccentric grandmother, standing in stark contrast to the simple modern architecture surrounding it downtown. It's exterior is yellow clapboard with green trim. The brick chimney is twisted into the shape of a spiral staircase, and the black and white checkered patio in the front garden has an offbeat Alice in Wonderland feel. It was originally built to be a home for prominent Mesa physician Eli Openshaw, according to the Mesa Town Center Development and Historic Preservation Division. Its bungalow design reflects the arts and crafts movement taking place at the time.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tom Tingle, Arizona Republic.]