Creating a brand. Helping a community.

The old Bank of Guerneville building had been empty for almost 30 years. It was run down and a hangout for the homeless. I had the opportunity to help restore and create a vision for the building that would not only involve historical preservation and its restoration, but create a destination that would encompass a range of artisanal businesses. I partnered with Crista Luedtke (boon, Big Bottom Market) on the restoration process and tenant acquisition.

Creating a name, an identity and a way to entice prospective tenants.

A mixed-use/marketplace idea helped create a destination for both local residents and the summer tourists. An old photo of the building in the flood of '55 with the old Bank Club Bar across the street provided inspiration for the name. Guerneville Bank Club became a perfect way to pay homage to the past with a new collective of businesses. I created the deck below for prospective tenants.

Download the prospectus brand presentation

Supergraphics by Jessica Hische, influenced by the building itself.

I wanted to add a stronger graphic identity to the building with supergraphics. Given its historical nature and age it was important to approach the designs with the right partner and designer. I approached Jessica Hische and she was really interested in the project. Jessica came to the building and was inspired by elements in the building including the door of the upstairs vault. Using some colors we were already proposing, the designs she created for the main room wall, vault wall and back wall of the building are conceptually spot on and have become the most photographed elements. New Bohemia Signs handpainted the main wall and vault, as well as the street number and exit sign I designed. CW: Shira Friedman Bogart

The curious followed along on tumblr and Facebook.

Before the work started on the building I knew the community was going to be curious about what was going on. I created a tumblr that gave a window into the state of the building before and during the restoration. There were many cool things I discovered along the way such as a hidden trap door, the original architect's family and the last tenant's sordid past as a key player in the downfall of America's savings & loan crisis. The tumblr amassed over 3,000 followers.

Read the tumblr

Something for everyone. Literally.

In creating the collective, it was important to have things everyone could enjoy. From ice cream & pie to a free exhibit by the Russian River Historical Society, every visitor is able to take something home. You can also take a selfie in the permanent photobooth installation by TomFoolery SF. Historical "easter eggs" are scattered throughout the building to help give more historic context to the building. All signage and communication efforts have specific design guidelines to create consistency. GBC's responsive website helps give context to the businesses, a little bit of history and access to the selfies from the vault photobooth.


Creating a space for contemporary art.

When putting together the businesses for the Guerneville Bank Club, I saw an opportunity to create a unique pop-up space for contemporary art: the Look Up Gallery. A year's worth of shows were curated by Betty Nguyen, a curator, publisher and editor for several contemporary art magazines. I designed the space and all related marketing materials including the website and collateral, as well as managed all social channels.

Read more about the Look Up Gallery

The most rewarding awards I’ve ever received.

On the morning of the grand opening day I was presented a Gold Resolution and a Certificate of Honor from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for the detailed renovation and "a rare and beautiful triumph of intention, artistic discipline and historic preservation that will continue to serve our community." In addition the Russian River Historical Society dedicated a plaque in commemoration of the building's reopening, restoration and history.

The press is noticing us and the town.

After just being open for 6 months, the Guerneville Bank Club has received a lot of great press. For the November 2015 issue of Travel + Leisure we're featured among many great places to visit between SF and Mendocino. Aer Lingus, the in-flight magazine of the official airline of Ireland, puts us on an international stage. And among one of the articles Zagat names us one of the top five reasons why you should drive to Guerneville as a culinary destination.

Read the Zagat article