Case Study

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits

The Challenge: MurLarkey Distilled Spirits in Bristow, VA was the first licensed distillery in Prince William County. Although he already had a design for the distillery, Murlarkely Founder and CEO Tom Murray needed an architect to navigate him through certification of occupancy, approval for reclassification and a floor plan. Distillery projects are known for having additional safety and building regulations that can cause substantial (and costly) delays if not properly addressed. The Solution: MurLarkey contracted with Loveless Porter based on recommendations Tom received from others in the spirits industry. In addition to guiding them through permitting, classification, compliance, and zoning challenges, the architecture firm also made suggestions on materials that aligned with the vision for the new space. The Result: With those recommendations, the finished building is one that creates a more welcoming atmosphere for customers, guides them logically throughout the space and allows more room to display products. Tom said he is very happy with the work done by Loveless Porter, and is amazed by the dedication and personal interest in the distillery's success. “We at MurLarkey cannot speak highly enough of Loveless Porter's Sean Porter. It is fair to say that if it were not for him and his team, we would not be in our current facility," said Tom. "Through this experience, Loveless Porter not only won our loyalty, but we all made a good friend in Sean. Thank you!”                              

Sinistral: Loveless Supported Our Vision

The Challenge: When Blane and Stacey Perry decided to open Sinistral Brewing Company. in Historic Downtown Manassas, they had a clear vision for the look and feel of their taproom, and defined requirements for the brewery area. They needed an architect who “got” their vision, and could finalize their design to ensure it met City of Manassas codes, also helping the entrepreneurs to navigate the permitting and construction phases. Brewery design experience was important too, as the industry must adhere to additional federal and state regulations. Additionally, the pair, longtime area residents, was committed to using local vendors. The Solution: In Loveless Porter Architects, the Perrys found a firm that was competitively priced, with a number of brewery and distillery projects under its belt and established connections with city and state planning officials. “Sean Porter was supportive of our vision. He made sure it met code, recommended engineering consultants, and was very helpful with everything we asked,” said Blane. “He helped greatly in getting Sinistral open for business by making sure the process with the city kept moving; he kept the ball rolling.” Sean’s relationships with building officials and knowledge of building codes were advantageous when the brewery was faced with city architectural requests that would have increased building costs and delayed opening. Through meetings with the city’s building development team, Sean demonstrated that the changes were not necessary by code and thereby kept the project on schedule. “Sean is easy to work with, and he will take care of […]

Design Improved Workflow, Productivity

The Challenge: Founded in in 2002, Dizzy Pig is a small batch seasoning crafter with a line of over 20 different spice blends, hand blended using natural ingredients, and no MSG or gluten. The company had a vision for its future, one where a large, inviting headquarters would embrace more elements of BBQ-style cooking. In addition to space to blend and sell seasonings, space was needed to sell BBQ supplies such as grills, smokers and accessories and to hold cooking classes and other events.   “We wanted a functional warehouse/production area, but a warm and welcoming office/retail store/classroom area,” said Dizzy Pig owner Chris Capell.“I was able to design the basic layout and flow of the building, but needed the expertise of an architect to design something attractive yet buildable within our budget.” The Solution: Dizzy Pig contacted Loveless Porter, upon the recommendation of a neighbor at their previous location. Loveless Porter took the time to understand the flow and functionality envisioned by Chris, as well as his desire to create a warm and welcoming environment for customers.  With that information, Loveless Porter completed the design drawings, keeping in mind cost considerations for the build out, and submitted the final plans. As with most construction projects, having an architect familiar with area building codes and officials made it easier to navigate the small obstacles that arose during the project. “Loveless Porter was always very responsive and helpful when we needed them,” said Chris.   The Result: Being able to house its full operations […]

Daycare Design Impresses Prospective Clients

The Challenge: The Goddard School in Gainesville, Virginia is a private preschool for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This owner-operated franchise needed a building that provided a nurturing and spacious environment for their play-based education system, which emphasizes learning through experiences and exploration. “Most Goddard Schools are purpose-built,” said Greg O’Brien, who co-owns the Gainesville location with his wife Lisa O’Brien. “While Goddard Systems Incorporated provides franchisees with standard building templates, each one must be customized to fit state and local requirements. In our case, we had a property that didn’t lend itself well to the standard building. As such, we went ‘off script’ and designed a building from the ground-up.” The Solution: In search of an architect familiar with the childcare industry, who could also customize plans to make the best use of their lot, the O’Briens contacted Loveless Porter Architects based on recommendations of fellow Goddard owners. Goddard Systems Incoproated (GSI), which franchises the schools, lists the Northern Virginia-based firm as an ‘architect of choice.’ Greg explained that architect Sean Porter took the time to understand their vision for a light, open space with a homey feel, creatively working within the current building footprint that had already been sited on the lot: “Sean made the building ‘work’ for GSI, Virginia, Prince William County and our own requirements. He also suggested several enhancements that we incorporated to improve the overall look, such as pediments, and feel, like skylights, crown molding and subway tiles.” The Result: Balancing unique design needs […]

KO Distilling: From Warehouse to Welcoming Destination

The Challenge: Manassas-based KO Distilling offers locally crafted spirits, tours, tastings and a banquet hall for special events. Before all of that existed, however, the building was just an empty shell of a warehouse. KO President and Head Distiller John O’Mara needed an architect who could look past the barren building and envision an inviting space that could seamlessly function as a destination, retail space, production plant and storage facility. All while meeting the heightened building requirements for distilleries. “We wanted to make the distillery experience as inviting as possible and provide a nice flow for guests and tours,” said John. In addition to the challenge of transforming a warehouse into a welcoming blend of form and function, the building had inherent drainage problems and additional sprinkler requirements that threatened to slow down construction. The Solution: After much research, John selected Loveless Porter Architects based on the firm’s solid reputation, experience with brewery design and ‘hands on’ approach. John also liked the idea of working with a fellow small business, and Loveless Porter’s Manassas location offered both convenience and familiarity with local regulations. Loveless Porter Owner Sean Porter designed the multifaceted space keeping in mind the multi use nature and unique regulatory requirements for distilleries, working hand-in-hand with John to execute his vision. Additionally, Sean managed the construction schedule, meeting with the general contractor weekly. This kept the project on track despite inevitable issues such as the drainage challenge “I was always able to get a hold of Sean when […]

Board Game Tavern Makes it to the Finish Line

The Challenge: “Think Dave & Busters, unplugged,” said John Hornberger, a lifelong board game aficionado, of his concept for Crossroads Tabletop Tavern in Historic Downtown Manassas.  He chose a design firm to create the space he envisioned, with varied, colorful dining sections and a “wow factor” wall showcasing over 1,400 board and card games. Unfortunately, the firm mistakenly did not pull permits, failed to provide the team they had promised and provided unusable design drawings. The freelance architect John hired to correct the situation was unable to get the plans stamped by city officials, and time was running out. With only two weeks of funding left before his dream would come to a screeching halt, John turned to Loveless Porter Architects. The Solution: Sensing the urgency, Sean Porter pulled an all nighter to design new plans. He then worked with city officials to address compliance issues and facilitate the permitting process. His relationships in Manassas meant that he knew which questions to ask and pitfalls to avoid. “It helped that Sean is very local, and knows exactly what Manassas needs,” said John. Within a week of hiring Loveless Porter, Crossroads was open for business.         The Result: John’s dream of creating a space where people could bond over made-from-scratch food and an abundance of board games old and new has been realized: Crossroads is already one of the hottest spots in Manassas. Servers double as guides who can help patrons select games to play onsite or to purchase, and the […]

Sweeney Barn

The Challenge: “Rustic charm” is the first phrase that comes to mind when viewing the scenic Manassas event and music venue, Sweeney Barn. The two-story destination space offers modern conveniences while maintaining the traditional beauty of its origins as an early 20th-century dairy barn. Owners Noel and Alannah Sweeney saw its immense potential when they purchased the property. All they needed was an architect that understood their vision and had experience bringing older spaces up to the current building code. “One of my biggest concerns was maintaining the look and feel of the old barn while coordinating the design and placement of new services like the air conditioning, sprinkler system, elevators, and a circular staircase in the silo,” said Noel Sweeney. “The local jurisdiction had never renovated a dairy barn, so designing a sprinkler system with the unique shape of the old barn was challenging. It was also difficult to design a complete thermal envelope for the upper banquet hall that worked aesthetically with the wooden interior.” The Solution: After a great experience on a previous project, the Sweeney’s turned again to Loveless Porter Architects to make their vision a reality. “They were patient with the many design changes and requests I made during the process. They were very responsive to those changes,” noted Noel. “We took a barn made for cows and hay bales and turned it into a space to comfortably seat hundreds of people,” said Loveless Porter owner Sean Porter. “The ceiling height in the lower level […]

Zandra’s Haymarket

The Challenge: Zandra's wanted to renovate a former school in Haymarket, VA, and needed an architect to navigate through certification of occupancy, approval for reclassification, and a floor plan.  The Solution: Zandra's contracted with Loveless Porter. In addition to guiding them through permitting, classification, compliance, and zoning challenges, the architecture firm also made suggestions on materials that aligned with the vision for the new space. The Result: With those recommendations, the finished building is one that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.   “We’re honored to be a part of this launch and the expansion of the Zandra’s brand,” said Sean Porter, owner of Loveless Porter. 

MacMillan Makeover: Dated Offices Become Upscale Dining

Our latest restaurant design project is a bit of a phoenix, with a sleek dining room and bar rising from a long-vacant office suite in Alexandria, Virginia. MacMillan Spirit House is the second restaurant venture for Derek Andersen and Emma Hand, who also own The MacMillan Whisky Room in the Mosaic District. At 3,800 SF space, which includes a covered patio area built for all-weather comfort, is more than twice as large as the Mosiac eatery. This larger footprint will accommodate more customers and allow for more food and beverage offerings.