Hi! This is Marni Elyse Katz from StyleCarrot. I’m a Boston-based blogger, writer, editor, art collector, and a tiny bit interior designer. I have a serious Pinterest habit and have all but thrown away my digital camera in favor of Instagram. I curate images and items to create blog posts and articles that inspire and instruct design addicts everywhere. My aesthetic leans towards the modern, contemporary, as well as Nordic cool and artisan hipster, but I’ve been known to mix in a scrap of toile or a claw-foot tub to keep things fresh.
I just discovered an amazing space in Cambridge, Mass. West Bridge, a neighborhood restaurant/bar, brings ‘Brooklyn hipster’ to the techy Kendall Square. Restaurateur Alexis Gelburd-Kimler and chef Matthew Gaudet, tapped Williamsburg-based Crème Design to create a space you’d love to actually live in, not just visit for dinner. And it’s easy to bring the feel of West Bridge’s rustic loft home.
White brick is essential to the space, and dates back to when the building was a factory. To incorporate white brick into your own home, start by sweeping and vacuuming the surface to remove debris. Then, apply a masonry stabilizing solution to seal the surface. Finally, paint with a mix of rollers and brushes for even coverage.For additional warmth and texture, Crème principal Jun Aizaki layered earthy fibers, like thick twists of rope, with the worn wood and painted brick. There’s a braided rope chandelier over the long table in the private dining room that would work equally well at home, especially above a kitchen banquette. You could drape a chunky rope around an inexpensive light fixture for a similar effect. It’s a clever, inexpensive touch that goes a long way.
Following Gelburd-Kimler’s request that guests be able to see entirely through the restaurant, Aizaki created glass doors that partition the private dining room from the main eating area, fabricated out of common stock steel that was blackened for a warmer, reclaimed feel. The glass on the French doors looks pebbled, but it’s just a film adhered to regular glass. It’s a neat, inexpensive trick. You could even apply a film like this to the glass doors of your kitchen cabinets.The overall palette is pared down, a style cue that Gaudet followed in his newly purchased home, which they were fixing up the same time the restaurant was being designed. Gelburd-Kimler says the influence is evident. “They painted neutral colors; it’s very sleek. Matt and his wife have great style.” It will come as no surprise that Gelburd-Kimler is not a fan of “stuff or clutter.” Clean, simple things are the most sophisticated, right down to the glassware. Rather than getting carried away with a heavy industrial look (too much of anything gets kitschy), the restaurateurs used plain pieces with basic silhouettes, devoid of embellishment. Ask any chef, it’s not just about the décor—food looks better on white. For seating, the white X-back chairs are decidedly not industrial. Rather, they’re a classic design with a Swedish sensibility, and an accessible style that would work in almost any home décor. The wood slat topped stools by the bar are pure industrial chic. “The restaurant is supposed to have a casual feel that welcomes everyone and is unpretentious. These met the requirements.” Similar stools would look just as great at your kitchen island, be it stone, tile, or wood.
Finally, a portion of the poem “The Bridge” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is artfully stenciled on the downstairs wall. The restaurant is named after the nearby Longfellow Bridge, which was originally called the West Boston Bridge before being renamed after the local poet’s death. Text is a fresh way to add not just a graphic design element, but a lot of personality into a room. If you don’t trust your handwriting, or even stenciling skills, consider wall decals, which you can custom order if a ready-made saying doesn’t resonate.
I’m such a fan of the design I might want to move in, or at least keep its design cues in mind for my own projects.
For more images and information, visit my design blog, StyleCarrot.