Last week during Design San Francisco I attended a private event held at the most amazing showroom at the Design Center – Coup D'Etat.  The event was called "Public Eateries: A Conversation on Designing Restaurants in the Era of Food".  Two of my favorite topics + Coup D'Etat – it couldn't get much better than that!  It's been a dream of mine to design a restaurant…perhaps, oh I don't know, maybe an urban farmhouse open kitchen type-of-thing… 

The discussion was panel style, moderated by Jeffrey Alan Marks whose work I have long admired.  I strongly encourage clicking over to see his inspiring portfolio (as long as you promise to click back here after!)

Jam-1 via thelaurelstreetblog

Notice the arched windows and doorways.  There's so much detail (a trademark of Marks') in this big kitchen, yet it has a relaxing and comfortable feeling.

Jam-2 via the laurelstreetblog
above photos via thelaurelstreetblog

I wouldn't have thought to pair the ottoman and chair fabrics with a busy carpet, but it works beautifully and gives a slightly boho vibe to an otherwise formal room.

I was so excited to find out that Marks' will be starring in the new Bravo reality tv show – Million Dollar Designer- that follows five LA based interior designers as they go about their daily activities.  Is this not the best news you've heard all week?! I can't wait!!!  

On to the panelists.  The talent on that stage in the area of restaurant design is hard to beat.  First to speak was Cass Calder Smith.  I'd list all the restaurants he's designed but I would run out of room, so here's just a few – La Mar, Restaurant Lulu, Perbacco, Barbacco, Rose Pistola and the newest addition; 25 Lusk.  

Restaurant LuLu SF
restaurant Lulu



above two photos – 25 Lusk

How flippin cool is this place?  I can't wait to check it out.

Next to speak was Stephen Brady; Visual Director of Gap, Inc whose restaurant design credits include Spruce:


Notice the panes of glass (not mirrors) separating the bar from the restaurant. This is such an elegant restaurant. I especially like it for lunch.

And Cafe Des Amis.


cafe des amis

The third and final panelist was Charles De Lisle of CDL Workshop.  I first discovered his work last spring at the SF Decorators Showplace which I posted about here.

Cdl workshop - sf decorator showcase

The entire room was covered in rusched navy blue gingham and accented with chartreuse chairs. The affect was so dramatic and creative.  The restaurants that CDL has designed include the remodeling of one of the oldest restaurants in San Francisco; House of Shields and the kitchy Canteen.

Canteen - charles lisle


I have been planning to do a proper post on Coup D'Etat since they opened their new bigger space (next door from the old one) last fall, but haven't had a chance.  I took a few photos with my phone and they are not very good, but will give you an idea.  Also, they have a 1st Dibs shop that never disappoints.

Coup d'etat1

Lots of industrial elements that have been reworked into furniture and lighting.  In addition to European and American antiques, they also make a variety of custom upholstered pieces.

Coup d'etat2

Lucite table base with gorgeous wood slab top.  How about those canister lights???

Coup d'etat3

One of my favorite parts of the showroom are Erin Martin's pieces.  The custom designed leather engraved cocktail table (in background) is outrageous and has a price to match!

Coup d'etat5

Coup d'etat6

I adore these French nesting tables (unfortunately sold) and the casters are brilliant.

Restaurant design is so much more complex than I realized.  Sound, lighting, menu, flow all need to be carefully considered.  I definitely have a new perspective and will look at restaurant detail more thoughtfully now.  I would love to see shelter magazines do bigger spreads on them.  What's your design favorite restaurant?  


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