August 4, 2013

Design Inspiration......Restaurants

In childhood my parents allowed me to choose restaurants while traveling. This assignment was taken very seriously and my requirements were inflexible;
-no chains
-had to be very attractive from the exterior and follow suit with the interiors
-had to be indigenous cuisine
We are talking a 9 year old here! What were my parents thinking?!!  But what a skill I honed and how I loved that responsibility.......Today I can spot a great restaurant miles away.....with a little help from siri.

My requirements have not changed and when I discover a restaurant with excellent food and inspiring design, I am hooked
  Restaurant design is an fascinating industry. Often the the big city designs embody high drama, and radical flourishes. We can however derive inspiration and pinpoint elements to spice up our own homes.

 Come with me to visit some of my personal favorites for outstanding food and great atmosphere via design

The Atlanta gift show brought me back to town for an extended stay. A local friend took me to a hot new restaurant, King + Duke 
My eyes were busy soaking up the decor, warm, inviting, hip and brimming with ideas. Love the lighting!
Have you noticed of late the explosion of chalkboard art? This can add to the art and mirrors that may adorn your walls, while providing a personal touch.
This window treatment will be presented to a client. A simple rod, circle hardware, chains with small curtain clips holding the curtain panels. Wonderful in a high ceilinged room

This Chicago must, if you can secure reservations, demanded my attention the moment I walked in. The primary wall was charred, a deep coal black. Could that ever be transferred to your home? Probably not, but I tip my hat to such originality

This Chicago seafood favorite boasts terrific food that transports you to the shore
Vertical board, lacquered, three dimensional appearing tile and a chandy I wish were clearer in this image; a mass of rope and glass ball lights intertwined in a masterful twist, reminiscent of a found tangle on the beach
Chalk art again
The same chalkboard with a different image. Notice how it is recessed and lit from within

An intimate find in NYC. These floors are seriously covetable 

Can't you just see this tile/wood treatment in a kitchen where the tile serves as an "area" rug under table and chairs? An easier take-away are these massive greens/stems in clear vases, soaring towards the ceiling. Simple and dramatic at the same time.

How much does design influence your decision when dining out? Share with us your favorite that satisfies you both visually and gastronomically, would love to hear.

 Have a great week!

Amy Howard before and after
September workshop schedule to follow, including a day at my home, barn and gardens, learning and transforming a piece you bring.
Good lines, very orange wood

That hard cabinet-like finish


  1. completely agree that restaurant design is a huge influence. Ambiance right? My personal favorites are Chicago Q and Public Hotel/Pump Room/Library. Want to decorate my house just like these places! And GT is high on the list too :)

  2. I love your list of restaurant requirements. Such an astute nine-year-old you were. I'm a sucker for good signage and, yes, I have noticed a lot of good chalk board art.

    Great makeover on that desk. I love that!

  3. Oh, Debra! You've hit on a passion of mine. When I find a restaurant that has wonderful food AND the kind of original ambiance and charm these examples share...I'm hooked. One of my favorite restaurants I had the good fortune to be introduced to in NY (not convenient to my California residence!) is Freeman's in NY. I still think of the detailing and the antiques. The Musket Room above is exceptional...the tile with wood gives the feeling of standing on the shore when the tide is subsiding. What a fun post, clearly your parents saw your talents at a very early age.

  4. I'm always inspired by a of my favorite places to be. Ha! Have a great week. Mona

  5. I think my comment was just time I'm in Chicago I'll have to try your sounds like you have a gift! Are you selling that paint now...I would like to try it..

  6. How cool of your parents to let you pick the restaurants!! These places all look great and the décor is swoon-worthy. I am loving the chalkboard art trend. By the way, have you tried RPM Italian in Chicago? It is my favorite Chi-town restaurant.

    Enjoy your day!

  7. I have never been to Chicago. Will definitely check out those and the others. And I've not been to Atlanta either - boohoo :(
    Thanks for sharing, Debra! When you are next in the DC area 1) please let me know 2) check out Black Salt, Et Voila, and Bistro Provence (near my shop).
    Happy August!!!
    x Loi

  8. love the inspiration, and that tile/floor idea is amazing!



  9. Great parents! I too can spot a great restaurant by the aesthetics...more importantly, I can spot a bad one this way. Hugs to you...I would love to do your Amy Howard deal.

  10. Hey Debra!

    I cannot wait to try King and Duke here in ATL, will grab some girliefriends and try to go this weekend! AND I'm going to Chi-town in a couple of weeks so will head to the Girl and the Goat!
    Fabulous finds. Wish I could join you for the Amy Howard soiree!


  11. Grammar, vocabulary, tenses, indirect speech, passive sentences must always be keep in mind while writing a blog. Everyone must read this blog. This is going to help everyone.

  12. There's a lot of ways to reach people about this kind of technology brought by restaurant board design. This is really important.


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