The Velo House, of Tunbridge Wells, has only been open six months and has already garnered praise

Kent bike shop and café up for international design award

The Velo House on St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, will find out on November 14th whether it has picked up an award from Society of British and International Design awards 2014.

One of only two UK venues to make the shortlist in the Restaurant and Bar Design category, The Velo House opened in April this year, including a café, shop and workshop. The café boasts a menu of pre and post ride food plus big screens showing all the racing. Upstairs the shop sells essentials, clothing and accessories plus a range of bikes.

Formally an old bank, the workshop occupies the former Bank Manager’s office, while original features such as the bank foyer Terazzo floor remain. 

The Velo House is the brain-child of keen road cyclist, Olly Stevens, who left a job in the city to pursue his passion, enlisting his wife Sophie’s business, SGS Interiors, to transform the bank into a mecca for cyclists. She said: “The Velo House was our first commercial scheme and whilst the brief specified a welcoming, comfortable ‘home’ for cyclists, the transition from residential design to commercial property design presented an opportunity to research a whole new market for my business, and adjust our approach.

"I’m proud of the project as the cafe is regularly filled with a mix of local residents, school run families and cyclists, all socialising in the same space. The overall aesthetic is something different for Tunbridge Wells, more urban, young-spirited and independent, and we’re delighted to be finalists in the SBID awards.”

Founder Olly Stevens added: “I am delighted that we have been able to create a modern light and spacious cafe which retains much of the character of the old bank. With a limited budget the skill of SGS Design was to make the most of the original features and materials and compliment them with new industrial fabrics to create a modern space that feels warm and homely. I feel this has been perfectly realised and of course feel that Sophie’s business should win the award!"

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