By Shani Silver

Published on September 29, 2015

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Photography by Justin Chung

Certain restaurants have design so good it’s a shame we can’t forward our mail there and move in. But really, what we love about these spaces doesn’t have to stay behind with the empty glasses and cleared plates. Design elements we spot (and love!) can translate into the home, and we talked to experts to prove it. Here, we chat with the designers of three NYC dining scene essentials to prove it is possible to take your favorite restaurant design home with you.

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Photography by Justin Chung

THE FOUR HORSEMEN

Ole Sondresen

, Design Principal for The Four Horsemen. Also on this team were

Lisa Ekle

Project Manager, and

Timea Hopp

,Project Designer

WHAT DROVE THE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OF THE RESTAURANT?

The driving force behind the design of the restaurant was simplicity, but with unexpected materials. We wanted to go for more of a Scandinavian vibe than a Brooklyn reclaimed feeling. Christina Topsoe, one of the partners, is Danish and has an impeccable understanding of scandinavian style and design. Perfect acoustics also played an important role in the design process. Ultimately, we chose to emphasize spatial simplicity and let the materiality do the heavy lifting.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT IN THIS SPACE?

The roughly painted natural burlap walls! They are raw but refined. They tone the room down both visually and acoustically.

WHAT IS ONE COMPONENT OF THIS DESIGN THAT READERS COULD INCORPORATE INTO THEIR HOMES

That’s a tough question. The burlap walls would work well in a residence and would be easy to replicate since they are essentially home made textural wallpaper. We lapped the ends intentionally to express the “applied” nature of the material and we painted only one thin coat to reveal the raw warmth of the burlap.

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WHAT IS ONE THING RESTAURANTS DO REALLY WELL IN TERMS OF DESIGN, DECOR, ETC THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD COPY?

The restaurant was designed to have great acoustics. Many homes do not take this into consideration and the spaces feel hollow and vast as a result. I think acoustics are even more important than key elements of design, such as color choice.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DISH (OR WINE!) ON THE MENU?

I came here with my wife, Jessica, and we had the summer squash with green coriander and pink peppercorn. In a way, the dish reminded me of the space because it was so simple and light, yet surprisingly complex.

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photography by  JUSTIN CHUNG

 

The Four Horsemen

295 Grand St, Brooklyn NY

(718) 599-4900

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VIRGINIA’S

Amy Butchko

Designer and

Sam Buffa

,Designer for Virginia’s.

WHAT DROVE THE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OF THE RESTAURANT?

As designers on past projects, we have tended to appreciate and highlight the quirks of old interiors, and we have attempted to embrace some of the happy accidents that inevitably occur during construction, as we believe these elements create an organic sense of lived-in warmth. We brought that same sensibility to this project, but tempered our love of rough edges by focusing on ways to add softness and sophistication to the space. We retained much of the original brickwork and the fantastic barrel vaulted ceiling, but coated the walls with a thin layer of plaster and white paint to smooth them out. We then used white glazed brick at the bar, which allowed us to create a continuity of color and form, but play with contrasting finishes. Christian Ramos’ uncle hand-crafted classically beautiful yet modern tables, and we offset the simple design of our banquettes with leather upholstery in a contemporary, almost orangey-brown. We aimed to create space that was timeless without being staid, and inviting to all without being bland.

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ANY FAVORITE MEMORIES OF THE PROCESS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

The entire process was a blast–from real estate hunting in the summer and fall to site meetings during the deep freeze of winter, we were able to witness the project evolve with the seasons and bloom right on time in mid-spring.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT IN THIS SPACE?

We love the way the bar turned out: It was left in its original location to save on build out costs, but shortened to foster a sense of intimacy. We thought about doing a traditional white and gray bistro bar top, and then turned that choice on its head by selecting a dark marble with white and gold veining in a honed finish. It is rich and warm and looks well-loved already; anchoring the space and allowing the simple white back bar behind to really pop.

WHAT IS ONE COMPONENT OF THIS DESIGN THAT READERS COULD INCORPORATE INTO THEIR HOMES?We’re very pleased with the lighting design and think its simplicity and warmth would work well in many residential settings. In particular, the leather cord wrapped around each sconce shade adds a layer of visual interest and whimsy that is easy and inexpensive to replicate.

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WHAT IS ONE THING RESTAURANTS DO REALLY WELL IN TERMS OF DESIGN, DECOR, ETC THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD COPY?

New York City is so saturated with restaurants, those who hope to attract and retain a crowd must–in addition to serving top-notch food–be designed in such a way as to present the usual in an unusual light. In other words, one must be unafraid to take risks with design and decor. The same can be said for home design–one must follow one’s intuition and try out seemingly strange ideas: take that color you see on the insides of your eyelids each morning right before you wake and put it on the wall! Place your great-grandfather’s club chair next to your mid-century flea market find. Choose dark countertops when everyone else wants you to do white.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DISH (OR COCKTAIL!) ON THE MENU?

Don’t ask us to choose, it’s impossible. (But if you twist our arms, we’ll cry “uncle!”–and “the duck!”).

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photos courtesy of  VIRGINIA’S

Virginia’s

647 E 11th St, New York, NY 10009

(212) 658-0182

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TIPSY PARSON

Julie Wallach

Owner & Designer of Tipsy Parson

WHAT DROVE THE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OF THE RESTAURANT?

We’re all about Southern hospitality in the heart of downtown Manhattan, so the space needed to be homey and cozy. We want guests to feel at home when they dine here, so the space is filled with warm woods and dark, moody paint. It’s filled with accessories that make you feel like you’re at your quirky aunt’s house in the deep South! The use of wallpaper plays up the “at home” state of mind. We serve ‘belly-filling goodness.’ comfort food created around seasonal produce from local farms – so you can feel flirty and indulgent (or healthy, depending on how you order) all at the same time.

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ANY FAVORITE MEMORIES OF THE PROCESS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

Oh lord, the build out was one of the most excruciating experiences in my life. Really, it was awful. Bad contractor, a mess of delays and well over-budget. The best part of creating the restaurant design was shopping for all the fun items to fill the space. A fruitful trip to Brimfield (the mecca of flea markets) yielded so many treasures – our 14 person, 100+ year old farm table that we use for large parties, a brass top hat that we use as a flower planter and lots of vintage silver trays.

Hitting the annual John Derian sample sale (I’ve been first on line for far too many years) has helped us amass our collection of decoupage plates that adorn the walls of the back dining room. We’re always changing them around and adding plates – it’s granny-chic in the best way!

Also, finally committing to the Brunschwig & Fils Bilblioteque wallpaper in the front bar room really cemented the overall vibe of the space. The mother of a childhood friend of mine used the very same wallpaper in her sunroom and I’ve loved it ever since. Tipsy needed something visually stimulating and interesting in the front to draw people’s eyes in when walking up/down 9th Avenue. The wallpaper definitely piques curiosity, and evokes a feeling of warmth and coziness that makes people come in.

We’ve had guests comment that Tipsy looks like a Wes Anderson movie. I think that’s one of the nicest things someone can say!

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT IN THIS SPACE?

It’s a toss up between both wallpapers–the Brunschwig & Fils in the front room and the Nina Campbell ‘Peony Place’ in black in our bathrooms. The peony wallpaper is so dark and moody and feels like it belongs in an old Southern estate.

WHAT IS ONE COMPONENT OF THIS DESIGN THAT READERS COULD INCORPORATE INTO THEIR HOMES?Use wallpaper! Even if it’s a rental apartment! There’s so much amazing wallpaper available today, at all price ranges. Some of it is even removable so you don’t have to worry when your lease is up. Committing to wallpapering even one wall (above a bed, in a breakfast nook or even a small entryway) can make you smile every time you walk into that room.

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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DISH (OR COCKTAIL!) ON THE MENU?

This is a tough one! I’m in love with our Nashville-style schmaltz-fried chicken and biscuits with our housemade habanero jelly. We just started jarring our condiments and they’ll be for sale at the restaurant soon! Serve with a Porch Swing Swizzle (bourbon, ginger juice, mint & ginger beer) and you’ve got a winning combo.

WHAT IS ONE THING RESTAURANTS DO REALLY WELL IN TERMS OF DESIGN, DECOR, ETC THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD COPY?

My favorite restaurants have soul and evoke a feeling of warmth when you’re there. It’s that soul that makes you want to come back again and again. Don’t be afraid to show your uniqueness when it comes to decorating a space. If you love it, buy it, and you’ll find a way to incorporate it into your home or apartment. Fill your space with things you love and you’ll always be happy.

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Photography by Tipsy Parson

photos courtesy of  TIPSY PARSON

 

Tipsy Parson

156 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011

(212) 620-4545