High St to Home: Get the look of Morningside's Crave cafe
A weekend favourite of Auckland suburb Morningside, Crave cafe has a unique vision with an eclectic style to match.
Begun by a collective of like-minded friends as an initiative to improve and impart happiness to their neighbourhood, the cafe gains its name from the desire it aims to sate.
"There's surface level craving, but then there's deeper craving - for connection, cravings of the soul," says Nigel Cottle, manager of Crave cafe in Morningside. "The basic idea is hang out with us and your world gets better."
To achieve this, the three ideas Cottle keeps at the heart of their decisions are neighbourhood, quality and connection. Altogether, it's about the feel-good factor.
Here's how to copy Crave's look at your place with a few simple style elements, then recreate the vibes by prepping a wicked eggs-benny and inviting over the neighbours.
WHERE TO SIT?
The style journey starts as soon as you sit down. Tables and chairs are all types of wooden, but with the mash-up of different sizes, shapes and heights, it works.
All different decades are welcome, so try pairing the table from your Nana's house with a mix of retro classroom chairs and a couple of ornate-backed carvers.
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DINE OR RECLINE
Crave offers seating to suit your state of being. "The stage is the lounge zone," said Cottle.
On a slight platform, mid-century lounge suites are offset by occasional armchairs in contrasting shades.
Formerly in jewel shades, they've recently swapped for sturdier textiles in a subtler palette of caramel, olive and chocolate.
An easy one to recreate at home, dig out the cut crystal decanter you were given for your 21st and use it to serve water with mismatched tumblers.
Head to the op-shop to pick up a handful of vintage souvenir teaspoons and any New Zealand-made Temuka or Crown Lynn crockery to serve coffee.
Finally, place wildflowers (or whatever's growing in the garden) in glass bottles and jars of varying sizes.
An exquisite super-sized close-up from Michelangelo's Pieta Madonna crowns the coffee machine at Crave.
Created by artist Owen Dippie, it's one of three artworks new to Morningside and was commissioned by the Crave collective.
Whilst it's unlikely you'll have room for art on this scale in your home, signed limited-edition prints of the Pieta Madonna are available on Dippie's website.
Their vision was to encourage neighbourhood pride by urban beautification.
"There's a sort of beautiful serenity and calmness that Mary brings to this whole space," says Cottle.
Dippie painted the mural on a scissor lift while referencing the original image on his iPhone. "Even though I saw him do it, I literally do not know how he did it. I just think he's a genius."
When you stop by for a flat white, make sure to check out the three panels from the Sistine Chapel, also by Dippie, that are across the street on the side of Health and Sports gym.
Make sure to cast an eye overhead, as there's a wooden ceiling fan larger than a wagon wheel. "I love the big fan, it's a beast," says Cottle.
All of the collective's members weighed in on the design for the cafe's new premises, but architect Dan Smith created the overall concept for the cafe's voluminous fit-out.
The harmonious space attests to the synergy within the group. "We had all these good ideas and wondered if they were going to work together. I'm mostly confident that we got it right."
With the overall feeling at Crave much like stepping into a modernist cathedral, take this style feature home by setting lengthy white walls against a polished concrete floor to trick the eye into an illusion of space.
Cottle's favourite elements are the laser-cut wooden hexagon motifs underneath the counter.
To him, the cafe's logo, "the hex", is representative of community spirit and living vibrantly. Pretty fitting, really.
"It's one of those things you probably only notice on your third or fourth visit, but there's an exquisite amount of detail in it."
A secluded area upstairs, "the library" displays an impression collection of retro curios, such as Italian coffee pots, vintage television sets, blenders, egg beaters, telephones and more.
Many of the pieces are on permanent loan from cafe regulars.
The hand-tinted White's aviation picture of vintage Auckland that you may remember as an iconic fixture from "location one" belongs to Emma Eagle of Mr Bigglesworthy's husband-wife duo, who did the cafe's first visual set-up.
But it's too bad if you've fallen in love with the lights, as they were custom-made in Bali - and so were the giant tin letters that spell C-R-A-V-E.