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Clever Ideas from a Restaurant Remodel

Clever Ideas from a Restaurant Remodel

Every design decision Zach Bliss made for Louro Restaurant was in haste. But the final look, which features clean lines, round edges, and gray and vanilla tones, has an undeniable serenity. Here’s the story:

Co-owners Didier Palange and Kiwon Standen decided they wanted to create something new in their West Village restaurant Lowcountry. They partnered with chef David Santos (who hails from acclaimed establishments Per Se and Bouley) and shut down the space for a mere two weeks in order to raise $25,000 on Kickstarter to reopen it as Louro. While raising the money itself was a grand feat, they also wanted to redo the entire space. So they turned to designer Zach Bliss.

Having worked in production design, Bliss was experienced at working under tight time and budgetary constraints. For Louro, his goal was to streamline and open everything up.  “I needed a way to do things fast, clean, simple, and super efficient,” he says. Drawing inspiration from Portuguese and Danish midcentury modern furniture, Bliss rid the space of any hard lines, employing soft chamfer edges, smoothing over the doorframe, and washing the walls in a warm gray and soft white. He added bespoke character with handcrafted chandeliers and several inventive DIY features.

Do limitations breed creativity? Read on and you may be inclined to think so.

Above: “I wanted the new micro-seasonal menu to shine,” says Bliss of his intention of a simple, streamlined interior. The previous space was dark and cavernous, which inspired his idea of creating two-tone walls. He painted the lower portion in a chalky gray and the top in an ivory tusk to give it an “opening-up sensation.” To connect the dining space to the kitchen, he made the tabletops out of Ikea butcher block counter tops. Photo by Alice Gao.

Above: “Louro” is the Portuguese word for Bay Leaf, the botanical image that graces the wall. Bliss projected a painting on the empty space and had a local artist outline and sponge shade it. Photo by Alice Gao.

Above: The mirrors behind the bar are framed in rusted steel. Bliss created a bar rail out of mahogany wood that allows the perfect amount of space for an elbow to rest. Photo by Alice Gao.

Above: A DIY for the books: To add interest to large blocks of wall space, Bliss designed bespoke bookshelves with a chambered edge (staying true to to the theme of soft corners and turns). He added context to the shelves with black and white photos he took of the interior of the NYC Public Library. (He manipulated the size of each photo and had Kinko’s put them on matte board for reinforcement. He then completed the DIY project by rounding the edges so each photo fit perfectly inside the shelving units.) The final result often piques diners’ curiosity. “People think they are books,” he says.

Above: The warm and bustling interiors. A chandelier inspired by Lindsey Adelman illuminates the space from above. Photo by Blaise Hayward.

Looking for places to go in NYC? If so, refer to Remodelista‘s City Guide for ideas.

Read more: Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Feng Shui & Organizing, Materials & Architecture, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Remodelista, Surprising uses for ..., , , , , ,

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Remodelista is a one-stop sourcebook for the considered home, guiding readers through the design and renovation process. Founded by four friends with a shared design DNA and appreciation for intelligent design, Remodelista counts architects, design professionals, and style-conscious consumers among its daily audience. The Remodelista aesthetic favors classic and livable over trendy and transient, well-edited interiors over cluttered environments, and thoughtfully designed products over mass-market, disposable goods.


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9:26PM PST on Feb 9, 2015

I always visit on a daily basis a few websites to read the best content, though this blog offers really the feature based content. Thanks!!
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10:29PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

I have been really impressed by going through this awesome blog.

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6:16PM PDT on Jun 11, 2013


6:53AM PDT on May 22, 2013


4:46AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

12:32AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Although I love all the ideas, the simplicity of the two toned wall and also the last picture with the chandelier are my favorites. I would like to eat there. Thanks.

11:45AM PDT on May 21, 2013


7:51AM PDT on May 19, 2013

Thanks for sharing - the last pic is a bit spooky as it looks like there is a ghost walking through...

4:30AM PDT on May 19, 2013

Great ideas. Not a lot of clutter.

2:34AM PDT on May 19, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

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