Amaranth Bakery and Cafe
Amaranth Bakery and Cafe is located on West Lisbon Ave. The building was used by different businesses over the years, including a dentist office, general offices, and campaign election space on the second floor. The first floor was once a tavern and then a restaurant. Currently the first floor is a cafe and bakery. Tabal Chocolates and Kofi Dance Company occupy the second floor premises.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, multi-story units with residential above and commercial below became a common building type along Lisbon Avenue. The interior layout and spatial organization of such buildings are unique because they afford a variety of possibilities and uses for residents. One may use the ground level as a retail space. The glazed and transparent front façade promotes views into the building, allows store owners to display their wares, and as in the case of Amaranth Cafe, creates a well-lit, visually accessible, and public front room. Indeed contemporary customers sitting in this front space often look out into Lisbon Avenue and appreciate the view. In the past the front space was used differently. In the original floor plans a general office and a vestibule constituted a brightly lit, open and public front office zone, different from the dark interior rooms aptly titled "private offices."
The top and bottom floors can be used and accessed independently because of the location of the stairwells. As a result, the owner of the building has the flexibility to rent off the upper floors. The projecting bay windows in the front rooms facing Lisbon Avenue are skewed in relation to the side walls. These two front rooms define the front section of the second floor. The staircase landing cuts off the two odd-shaped front rooms from the back rooms, further establishing a front-back spatial organization. The original plan shows that the front two rooms of the second floor facing Lisbon Avenue, were used as offices in the past. These two offices had separate entrances. However only one is used today.
The only oak finish is in the two offices, main hall, and living room. This suggests that these spaces define a more prestigious and formal front zone. In the past, the rest of the second floor was used as an apartment. The apartment consisted of a living room, kitchen, bedrooms, a balcony and back stairs laid out sequentially in a single file. The current owners made further changes to the second floor layout. Between the office and the bedroom a wall was knocked down to allow for a door. The original bedroom door was taken out and the room was sealed off from the living room. A new door was put in to connect and make a hallway connecting the bathroom, backroom and kitchen. These changes transformed the internal circulation and restructured the spatial hierarchy of the upper floor.
Changes and modifications
The unique bay layout of this building permits incessant change and flexible uses. During the turn of the 20th century, natural lighting was important. Many of the doors were made of glass and the left (or east) bay with its many windows was more well lit than the right (or west) bay. As a result the living room and kitchen were brighter spaces than the chambers that were private, inaccessible, and darker. However the brightness of the east side unit causes problems for the current tenant who makes organic chocolate. This is because he needs to have a cool pantry, where he stores chocolate. As a result the current tenant has plans to cover up windows, place new walls and use the darker west bay rooms for storage.
Stephanie Shipley explains Amaranth Bakery
Here are photographs of the second floor and the condition it was in at one time.