Top Navigation

Craftsman Moldings & Crepes in Tucson’s Cafe Marcel

craftsman style moldings

This Craftsman style historic bungalow is now a cozy cafe. Coffee, crepes and moldings!

[This is part of The Joy of Craftsman Moldings series.]

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.

tucson historic homes

Cafe Marcel owner, Michelle Frazier, and fresh off the griddle crepes!

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.

tucson historic home

Of the great cafes on Fourth Ave, Cafe Marcel serves the best coffee, Arbuckle’s. The molding ambiance is a bonus!

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!

craftsman style baseboard molding

From Tucson to Michigan, Craftsman style baseboards rarely deviate from this pattern.

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.

craftsman archway moldings

The entablature design on this archway is repeated on most of the other doors and windows.

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.

how to install moldings

When you don’t have enough room to finish a pattern, you can create a dissolve like this. More about Molding Dissolves here.

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.

how to install craftsman style molding trim

Moldings need not be fancy, but they absolutely must be big!

craftsman style door trim header entablature

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.

Further Reading

PZ Ranch House Moldings (An historic Arizona ranch)

My Nesting Material: Books, Not Just Moldings, from Tucson

How to Build Craftsman Style Wainscoting for About $10.33/lf

Nonce Orders.  Why There’s a Lizard in the Architecture

2 Responses to Craftsman Moldings & Crepes in Tucson’s Cafe Marcel

  1. Mike October 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Im upgrading a “Craftsman-Interpretation-of-the-Suburban-Home”. Its acutally very architectually sound, but honors a lot in modern floor plans, for better or worse. As we’re replacing the builder’s casing, etc., Im always selling the Mrs. on the elgant simplicity of Cratsman moldings. These photos go a long way in making my case. The proportions are great. We have a lot of larger transitions from one room to the next, like one that you show. Im upsizing to 5/4″ stock on my MDF, and maybe upsizing one nominal size to make the proportions more suitable to the larger openings, but she is over the moon on these profiles. Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work. LOVE THIS SITE!

  2. Ken October 26, 2012 at 2:20 PM #

    Sounds like you’ve got a great project on your hands, suburban-generic to Craftsman-specific.

    When you install historically inspired moldings on a modern floor plan, that modern floor plan will become greatly diminished by simply diverting attention away from it to big, beautiful moldings.

    Glad you two find our site inspiring, we love it too!

    Keep us posted on your project. Send us a few pics and we’ll show off your craftsanhip!

    Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes