Earlier this year, shortly after having Eva, my husband came home from work and told me that he had given my contact information to a couple of Virginia Tech engineers who were planning to leave their corporate jobs in DC and open up a German brewery in the Hilltop section of Virginia Beach. If you have any sort of school spirit and/or loyalty, you know that when you hear of other alumni (or even students) doing big things, you automatically support them…even if you are technically still on “maternity leave.” Well come to find out, they were expecting to have a baby soon and completely understood my bringing Eva to every meeting! From one of the easiest client/designer relationships came a really fun space that I love to hang out in. Here is the story behind Wasserhund Brewing Company‘s Interior Design.
I made a Pinterest board from the get-go to make sure that the owners were on board with my vision, and they liked pretty much everything! So then, I moved forward with some really rough sketch-up renderings–which are almost always quick and dirty…and cheap! I had a thought for a wood wall that wasn’t like everyone else’s wood wall–this one would be stained black and more refined looking, and would visually ‘turn’ the corners to lead your eyes through the space. We wanted to make the space feel like it belonged in Virginia Beach so it would be a comfortable place for the locals to hang out, but also have a clean, streamlined German feel. Wasserhund means “Water Dog” in German, so I elaborated on that and added beachy elements and canine friendly artwork. Here’s one of the views of the 3-d model.
On a whim, I also randomly designed a logo for them (without their asking) one night. Surprisingly, they loved it and didn’t even want changes…which NEVER happens. Here is the logo that they use in conjunction with the one the owner’s drew up! The German Shepherd is in representation of Aaron and Christine’s dogs, Hertz and Hooper.
The space is located in the same building as Conte’s Bike Shop, where an old Italian restaurant used to be. Therefore the before and after’s are pretty cool, so here you go–the outside of the building before…
And after a little bit of TLC. This outdoor patio is where you can bring your dog (s) to hang out!!
Moving inside, the original entry was bright and crowded…Here is the before picture of the entryway and just inside the space:
And the after of the entryway. Our contractors, Clark Development Corporation, added an accent wall with branding right inside the door so that people would know what the space was if they were just passing by. It is also a great photo backdrop and a lot of the customers are posting pictures with the logo. Local artist, Pete Buescher, created this 3 dimensional sign as well as another one you will see later in the back of the space. He’s my go-to build/make/create/design basically anything I want guy!
Moving inside, here are some more before pictures of the Italian restaurant…
We had the old VCT torn up and Hapax re-finished the concrete beneath. What we didn’t know was how bad the shape of the concrete was beneath, but after some epoxy fill I think the look is industrial and very ‘Brewery.’ I extended the soffit and created a wrap-around bar to seat tons of people. We added farm tables to encourage people to mingle as well as a banquette style seating area and plenty of smaller tables. While the original goal was to open up the ceiling, we ended up leaving the tiles but still wanted to do something fun above the farm tables. Freedom Surf Shop donated two vintage surfboards to be turned into light fixtures. Despite the protest of a few surfers who knew what these boards were worth, we drilled holes in them and hung them from the ceiling so that our electrician, Paul Walker Electric, could hang pendants through them.
The bar top was created by the owners using old beer bottle caps that they had saved from their craft beer obsession over the years covered in epoxy. Behind the bar, we used a darker epoxy paint, so the walls would be cleanable. We also hung several broken surfboards as shelves.
These surfboards behind the bar were destroyed and then donated by local Hatteras surfer, Brett Barley, who is essentially fearless….riding waves 10 times his size and doing unbelievable tricks. (Pictures below taken by Kevin Parker-top right- and Damien Robertson)
Throughout the space, you will find artwork that showcases dogs surfing, dogs on the beach, dogs drinking beer, german maps, vintage Oktoberfest posters, and other German paraphernalia. I was given a budget and told to just do what I thought for the artwork, so the project was actually pretty fun! I also insisted they needed some flowers on the tables…despite the protests from the men.
If you haven’t checked out Wasserhund Brewing Company yet, I advise that you get over there soon–after all, Oktoberfest is coming up and they are one of the only local breweries that sells authentic German beer and snacks! Their pizza, pretzels, and bacon beer are a few favorites of mine…even Eva loves the place! Thanks to Aaron, Christine, baby Andrew, and Craig for allowing me (and Eva) to be a part of this project!!