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Restaurant Inspiration for Residential Spaces

by - Monday, February 16, 2015

Are you in a deep freeze? It is incredibly painfully cold up here in Toronto with temperatures with the wind chill feeling around -35 celsius (about -30 fahrenheit). Brrrr! 

Call us crazy but we ventured out on Sunday for brunch at Cluny. It was both a late birthday and Valentine's celebration. It was only our second time at this restaurant but it has become our new favourite spot. The food is delicious but really, I think I come for the decor. I thought I'd take a closer look at some of the design details - restaurant and retail spaces often feature trends, clever space solutions, and dramatic design moments that are great inspiration for residential spaces.

Cluny was designed by Munge Leung, a Toronto firm I have long admired. We actually featured two of their projects in our book Design City: Toronto (I wrote this feature on Ultra Supper Club and Sean wrote the Lux profile) and I have watched over the years as they have created some of our city's most memorable spaces. Here's a few design ideas I picked up that I'll be keeping for future reference:

1. Create subtle separation with glass:

Photos via Munge Leung
I've never been a fan of open floor plans, where you can see your kitchen, family room, living room all from the front door. But I do like the idea of using glass walls to separate rooms yet keep them connected. How fantastic would it be to have a floor to ceiling glass wall leading into your kitchen? I love that the glass has muntins which gives the look of divided glass panes and provides a subtle barrier. 

 2. Beef up your moulding.

You know we love our moulding and trim around here. Usually we'll pair a piece of flat mdf with small panel trim to create a traditional shaker style like with our basement doors. But here you can see that treatment taken up a notch: doorways are extra deep with layered moulding - look at the shadows, even at the top of the door frame!

This photo was taken in the bathroom. I love love love how the simple white subway tile has been framed with wood. Such an easy and clever way to elevate the look of a plain wall. I love the attention paid to the wood wall as well. I'm starting to tire a little bit of the "everything white" look so seeing this wood on wood is inspiring.

3. Mix Your Woods

Photo via Munge Leung
Just like we've become braver about mixing metals, I think you'll be seeing more of mixing woods in home decor. There were variations in the stain on the coffered ceiling, the wood floors, the island, and the more limed wood walls in the far corner of this photo. Since none of the woods 'touched' each other, the effect was warm but not distracting.

4. Frame Your Floor Tile

Photo via Munge Leung
Encaustic tile (this is one of my current favourites) is enjoying a huge renaissance. It's bold patterns and colours are popping up on kitchen backsplashes, bathroom floors, and in entryways . I love how they've treated it here. With the border tiles, it looks like a rug. The wood floor breaks it up nicely so the tile doesn't look like a giant overwhelming field of pattern. Couldn't you see this used in an eat-in kitchen, to define the kitchen table area?

5. Stick to a simple palette

The restaurant was visually interesting but if you looked closely, the palette was simple: natural wood, glass, black, white, hints of navy, and bronzed metals. This separate dining room, tucked behind hefty frosted glass and wood doors, had a similar style to the larger dining space but felt much brighter and airier. Using light materials instead of darks was enough to make the room feel special but still cohesive with everything else.

6. Don't forget the small details

How fabulous is this dish? This plate of vanilla pancakes (which Chloe devoured it was SO good) reminded me not to forget the little things. That small copper saucepan? We were obsessed with it the first time we saw it and I've been on the hunt on Etsy for vintage ones ever since. The copper saucepan is so simple in form but fill it with maple syrup and an everyday breakfast becomes spectacular. The objects we surround ourselves with can do that - the smallest of things can alter your experience of a space.

Do you ever look to restaurant or retail spaces for inspiration? I have a Pinterest board with some of my favourites.

Follow Jen @ Rambling Renovators's board Home: Retail Inspiration on Pinterest.

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