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Downtown LA’s Arts District gets a new one-stop coffee and bicycle store

A one-stop cycle shop has opened its doors inside a former industrial complex in Downtown LA’s Arts District.

The Wheelhouse, run by Tami and Chase Spenst, brings coffee and cycle culture under one roof at the heart of the area’s creative community. In addition to the café and bike shop, the store has a service department.

‘Coffee is a huge community builder and it also has really deep roots in the cycling culture,’ says Chase Spenst. ‘Pairing coffee with bicycles was the perfect way to connect the cyclist and the non-cyclist in one space to make bicycles more approachable.’

Photography: Skandia Shafer
Photography: Skandia Shafer

Tami Spenst, whose studio Pluck designed the 3,700 sq ft store, says: ‘Our space had previously been a refrigerated storage warehouse, so it had essentially been preserved, in all its concrete glory, for the last 20 years.

‘The 25 ft ceilings provide this huge wow factor when you walk in and the exposed wood beams add a wonderful warmth in contrast to the concrete.’

Photography: Skandia Shafer
Photography: Skandia Shafer

Spenst and her design firm added further touches of natural wood as well as garage-style roll up doors that open onto an outdoor area for the store’s café section. Inside, it introduced a blue colour palette to offset the harsher tones of the space’s concrete surfaces. A feature wall, mounted with black bike parts, gives the impression of bicycles ghosting through the partition.

The firm also opened up the existing mezzanine level to create a loft space for the service centre.

‘We needed a big space,’ adds Tami. ‘We were already very focused on the Arts District as an area so when we met this space, it checked all of our boxes and then some.’

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