Solomon Awards 2017 - Ragamuffins Coffee House [Waldon Studio Architects]

Ragamuffins Coffee House was started by Redemption Community Church in a historic building in downtown Laurel, Maryland to create a welcoming place for the community and for fellowship. The building was redesigned to operate as a coffeehouse during the week and for the church to use for worship on Sundays.

Ragamuffins Coffee House was started by Redemption Community Church as an opportunity to reach the local residents of Laurel, Maryland. 

Realizing that their old facility sat empty six days a week in suburban neighborhood, the church purchased a historic building on Main Street in Laurel in order to better connect with people and contribute to the revitalization of the downtown district. The church's main priority is to be a place for the community and for fellowship in the neighborhood.

The coffeehouse operates as a business during the week and the church uses the building on Sundays for worship. They brew locally-roasted coffee, sell locally-sourced pastries, and they have teamed with local Christian potters to make all the mugs and plates used in the coffeehouse. The building is available for community groups to use for meetings, yoga classes, game nights, and music performances.  The name "Ragamuffins" is derived from a book entitled "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning. The book describes members of the church as "bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out" that are recipients of God's love and grace.

As a response, the coffeehouse was designed to be a comforting place for people to gather, slow down, and relax. The ground level has a variety of seating arrangements, including a large community' table to facilitate different sized groups or lengths of stay.  The lower level is quieter and provides a place for larger groups to meet. 

As the building is located in the historic district, the exterior façade was re-clad with new siding and trim to maintain the existing color palette and blend in with the look and scale of the surrounding buildings.  The inspiration for the interior space was derived from the desire to have a peaceful and tranquil space with a palette that represents calmness and the blend of coffee and milk.  The space was designed with natural colors and materials including reclaimed wood on the front of the coffee counter, reclaimed brick on many of the walls, and a wood trellis at the ceiling to give the seating area an outdoor feeling.  The furniture and lighting was chosen to be rugged, yet create a comfortable environment. The existing wood floors were salvaged during construction and refinished to match the character of the building.

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