Behind the Coffee
Meet Houston White, a visionary entrepreneur whose unwavering passion and innovation define his multifaceted contributions to the Minneapolis community. Not confined to a single role, he gracefully wears the hats of a fashion designer, owner of a unique barbershop and coffee company, and the creative mind steering the thriving Camdentown Flats housing development in North Minneapolis. Rooted in constant ideation, Houston's essence is a dynamic force, propelling him towards the excitement of fresh, community-driven projects.
Photo from the Get Down Coffee Co.
Not Just Good Coffee
In 2015, Houston, crossed paths with Dan Anderson, the owner of Dogwood Coffee Co. Fueled by their shared love of coffee, this meeting ignited Houston's dream of bringing specialty coffee to North Minneapolis, where he found craft coffee culture lacking in both warmth and diversity. Fast forward to today, through endless exploration, continuous learning, and purposeful building, The Get Down Coffee Co. emerges not only as a coffee shop but as a fervently Black-owned speciality coffee company in North Minneapolis, roasting and presenting its own quality coffee.
Houston White and Dan Anderson.
Photo from Get Down Coffee Co.
Donise White and the Inspiration Behind the Mural
The whole idea behind the Get Down Coffee Co. was to "build a cultural collision and connection space that is of the community for the community, a mecca that celebrates and elevates Black Excellence, a place where people from all walks of life can come together to enjoy high style, specialty coffee, dope music, and good conversation." This was something that Houston and his late wife, Donise, aimed to do together in the North Minneapolis community. Honoring her and carrying on her legacy in this new community coffee shop was a must.
In Forever young: remembering Donise White, an article with North News, the author writes that Donise was known for her self-assuredness, intellect, bright smile, timeless style, and giving fair and thoughtful advice. Her "presence just exuded joy. In a crowded room, she stood out. It was her overall personality." We wanted to make sure to carry that same bright energy to her mural. Houston wanted the tiled wall to be the first thing you saw when you walked into the space. He wanted it to be a conversation piece that featured a dimensional, layered portrait of Donise with a stenciled NAS quote to the side. Bringing in elements of graffiti and a mixture of old school & new school hip-hop fashion, our crew worked closely with Houston to dream up multiple versions of an energetic and dynamic tile mural that brought Donise's light to the coffee shop.
From Beans to Brushstrokes
The final design strayed away from the initial chosen pastel palette and took a bolder approach with a vibrant old-school hip-hop feel. We adore the delicate details of Donise's abstract portrait featuring her signature pearl earring, bright red lipstick, and flawlessly swooped short bangs. The lively glaze colors, set against a dramatic backdrop of matte, satin, and glossy black diamonds, create a distinctive visual impact that seamlessly complements the overall ambiance of the space.
After the final design was nailed down, our team of talented Tile Artisans got to work meticulously planning and testing to make sure this design could be executed as planned. With any custom mural with this level of detail, making sure each tile fit perfectly into the next was key. The graffiti-inspired NAS quote presented one of the most intricate aspects, requiring not only the careful custom cutting of each letter but also ensuring the Diamond tiles were similarly cut to guarantee the perfect fit for each letter.
To learn more about our custom tile lettering process, visit our blog "6 Custom Projects to Inspire your Next Statement Space"
Medium Custom Cut Diamonds and Custom Cut Lettering - 155 Steel, 613 Black, 366 Satin Black, 1015E Caribbean Blue, Custom Colors.