A Cafe Just Like Home
Walking into this Craftsman style home in Tucson is like walking into my aunt’s 1923 Craftsman bungalow in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Similar beautiful door and window surrounds. Same large baseboards. Same creaky wood floors and even the same wonderful smells drifting from the kitchen.
The Face Behind the Crepes
Meet Michelle Frazier, owner and crepe-maker at Cafe Marcel on Tucson’s Fourth Aveneue.
Michelle was kind enough to let me wander around her cafe taking pictures of her moldings. In between taking orders and serving her customers, she told me fun facts and her own molding story.
Where the Cafe Name Came From
Marcel was Michelle’s beloved older brother, a disabled Vietnam Veteran who passed away years ago. Marcel loved to cook, he loved food. His name is French and Michelle’s cafe serves crepes. Perfect!
Michelle’s Mansion Molding Memory
When Michelle’s Vermont elementary school burned down, she and her schoolmates were moved into a grand old mansion that served as their temporary school.
Michelle remembers being awed by the grand staircase, elaborate cornices and just the overall architectural opulence.
Homesick for Moldings?
One day a sad young woman walked through the front door of Cafe Marcel and just stood there for a while.
When Michelle asked the young woman what was wrong, she said that a friend told her that if she were having a bad day to go down to Cafe Marcel, and that just being inside this cozy cafe will make her feel a lot better. Less homesick.
The young woman, probably an out-of-state, home-sick college student from nearby University of Arizona, drew comfort from some affection she has with the Cafe’s historic Craftsman interior. I know that feeling well.
The Joy of Moldings is a Real Thing
And that is why we ended up naming our blog The Joy of Moldings.
Because, even though it may sound silly, architectural details have the power to give us a sense of place, of permanence. And with it, joy.
It’s the reason we turn out in droves to protest the demolition of ornate historic buildings, but not faceless modern ones. It’s why we pay extra to stay in a charming historic home turned bed and breakfast, but less for a room with no detail.
And it’s why Jennifer and I always end up back at Cafe Marcel, even though there are many other very fine cafes in Tucson.
Let’s Reproduce These Craftsman Moldings
In the coming months (when I’ve finished posting everything we’re doing to our half bathroom) I will show you how to make all the molding patterns you’ve seen here in this historic Craftsman bungalow.
The series will include my usual material lists with prices and step by step installation tutorials.
How little it will cost and how easy it will be to reproduce these moldings will surprise you. But that’s what we like to do here, surprise you!
Then of course, I’ll paint the whole thing and show you how to do that too. Perhaps we’ll try a few different paint schemes while we’re at it.
Subscribe to The Joy of Moldings if you’re interested in keeping up with our progress.
Thank you Michelle and Patrick for letting me get in your way while I took pictures and fussed over my breakfast and coffee!
Support Fourth Ave Business During Trolley Construction
If you live in Tucson or are just passing through, don’t let the trolley construction down the center of Fourth Ave. stop you from making your way to Cafe Marcel.
Michelle will personally give you directions to the best parking spots during construction. Visit her and check out the menu here: CafeMarcel.biz.