When Michael Schulson and his wife Nina Tinari-Schulson first stepped inside what would become Harp & Crown, it was a gutted, cavernous expanse that that once housed a Gap Outlet. “It’s not often you see a beautiful, open space with towering, 24 foot ceilings in Center City Philadelphia,” Schulson recalls. “It was love at first sight.” The husband and wife duo behind some of Philadelphia’s most noteworthy restaurants lovingly transformed the vast space into a warm and welcoming American tavern-inspired restaurant—a fitting concept for a city steeped in history. The name itself is a nod to one of Philadelphia’s original taverns dating back to the 19th Century. The 14,000 square-foot restaurant manages to exude intimacy with seductively low lighting and charming details like exposed brick walls, vintage wallpaper, and plenty of plush nooks. Below the main dining room, a speakeasy-style jewel box of a bar beckons, with an elegant-meets-playful two-lane bowling alley. (Dubbed Elbow Lane, the moniker refers to the name of the street that was home to the original Harp & Crown.) Take a cue from the Schulsons’ expert renovation to add a few warmth-evoking details to your own space.
“We really wanted to try to bring the height of the ceiling down by using these big, beautiful, antique chandeliers,” says Schulson. “They came out of an old church in upstate New York.”
Schulson scored his dramatic lighting fixtures from an antique dealer, but a gold-accented centerpiece like this one from Worlds Away will add the same warmth and character to your space.
Rowan Gold Chandelier, $1,127.99
Flea Market Finds
In addition to help from antique dealers, the Schulsons rented two 24-foot trucks and took their designer and a handful of employees to Brimfield, the sprawling antique market in Massachusetts. The group spent four days exploring stalls and collecting pieces to outfit Harp & Crown. Among the many treasures were 30 leather Chesterfield chairs. Smitten, the couple nabbed two of the old school chairs for their own newly renovated home.
Pair a vintage (or vintage-inspired) floor lamp with a soft leather chair for an instantly cozy retreat. A good book and warm cocktail are optional.
New Castle Club Chair, $2,116.80
A Salon Wall
Other Brimfield finds included vintage mirrors, prints, and black and white photographs. Arranged together, the collection helps downplay the expansive wall, while the old portraits add a dose of familiarity. “I always tell everyone they’re Nina’s family,” jokes Schulson.
Arrange your own salon wall by displaying whatever art, prints, or photographs speak to you—whether they’re really your ancestors or not.
Vibrant Greenery in the Garden Room
The airy Garden Room welcomes guests under a canopy of leafy green plants dangling from the ceiling, while foliage also rests on the hearth and mantle of a vintage non-working fireplace for a visually appealing vertical garden.
Nothing brings more warmth and life to any room, big or small, than vibrant greenery. In addition to arranging plants in beautiful vessels on the floor, hang plants from the ceiling or use a plant stand to mix up heights.
Succulent Glass Terrarium, $258.99
Mix and Matched Chairs
Schulson describes the couple’s newly renovated home as light, bright, and clean. “Our house feels nothing like our restaurants. It’s our zen place.” With a group of popular restaurants that includes Double Knot and Sampan, among others, the duo aimed for an altogether different feel. “These restaurants, you want them to feel lived in, with a life and warmth to them.”
Mix it Up
Details like the eclectic mix of mismatched vintage chairs anchored by a clean, marble-topped table help achieve that warm, lived in goal.
Skate Dining Side Chair, $77.49
The Speakeasy and Bowling Alley
When the Schulsons first surveyed the long and narrow basement of the building, Nina had a vision to create a bowling alley. “It’s definitely my favorite spot in the restaurant,” said Schulson. The space includes an intimate area for sipping cocktails while waiting to bowl, with bookshelves and a gorgeous green tufted sofa they plucked from a vintage stall at Brimfield. “That was definitely a splurge.”
Select Your Sofa
A soft-hued sofa in a plush fabric will anchor the room. Add a carefully curated bookshelf and candlelight to create your own private speakeasy.
Canal Sofa, $1,677.76