As a person who appreciates the tastes and smells of my favorite restaurants, I also am easily won over by a well-designed interior. The smooth lines, that right balance of color and light, or the details that tell a restaurateur's story, these tactile and visual assets propel a quality food venue into a destination.
The boys from The Brick Store and Leon's know what this means. These sibling restaurants are different in so many ways. It was a bit surprising that they were both designed by the same person. Owner, Dave Blanchard's, brother agreed to help out in one of those 'if you have the time, I have this project' ways. While they both turned out excellent, it was time for a new vision seen through fresh eyes.
Dave, along with coconspirators Miles Macquarrie, Matt Christison, Bryan Rackley, and Jesse Smith joined John and Vivian Bencich from Square Feet Studio at the Museum of Design Atlanta to discuss the production of Kimball House.
Kimball House takes it namesake from the grand hotel that resided just southeast of five points in downtown. The boys and girl are transforming the oft used but never sustained Decatur train depot across from the old Trackside bar. The plan is to utilize the existing skeleton of the turn-of-the-century building to create a bar that rivals those of the great hotels in early 20th century America. The idea is to be a classy, laid back place where you can enjoy a curated menu of oysters and a superior cocktail, but still surround yourself in dirty witticism.
The group discussed the pitfalls that come with redesigning a building that is not only over a hundred years old, but that has been pieced together, infrastructurally speaking. The group has battled plumbing issues among other snags, but looks to have the place up and running by mid-summer.
This goal is an attainable one, in spite of the tribulations one can imagine that comes from so many chiefs. Surprisingly, they are able to work closely and move through decisions without much fisticuffs. The challenges of deciding which period sconce Bryan wants to use or how much refrigeration Miles needs to maintain his empire of cocktail creations while still maintaining budgets are just a few among the many topics discussed.
While Square Feet is just getting into the restaurant design aspect of their company, their resume already includes Abattoir, West Egg Cafe, Barcelona Wine Bar, and more recently White Oak Kitchen, with its vaulted ceilings, mammoth pendant lights and organic lines, and The General Muir, which sources antiqued mirrors, white, subway tile work and vintage family photos and newspaper clippings. The team works hard to collaborate with their clients and it shows. Their restaurants have a style that is almost no style. Everything they have designed has an aesthetic unique to each establishment. Every place shines with subtle details and forward-thinking visual themes.
I am very excited to see how this plays out.