Cafe Design Notes

Have you ever had that moment when you clicked your heels in anticipation of a project you would love to design? Well, this contemporary cafe is one of my heel-clicking projects.

The cafe owner’s concept is an establishment that serves delectable, healthy food in a fun environment with educational support regarding healthy lifestyle habits from nutrition to exercise. His design vision was a sleek, contemporary space with clean lines and an infusion of warm and rustic elements. Think of a Miami/Midwest mash-up. Here is my inspiration board:


I oversaw the space planning, design process, furniture selection, food photography, custom art creation, paint color and placement. My process included working in close tandem with the owner to oversee the accuracy of his vision through interaction with the general contractor, architect and suppliers to bring the cafe to life.

Color + Design Story

White serves as the backdrop to a mix of grey, chrome, purple and lime green to amplify the brand. I selected a combination of straight and curved lines to utilize as much as of the angular space while incorporating some softness with the curved lines of the chairs and bar area.

We reclaimed wood throughout the space, stained it and integrated it throughout from the window frames to the base of the bar. I worked with a local organic farmer and artist to convert shipping pallets to a vertical garden. The concrete floor was stained a grey color that was repeated in the bar countertop surface, chair legs and pendant lighting.

White walls and tables were accented with colored chairs and vibrant, custom photography. A pop of green was painted on the bar ceiling and purple appeared in the middle section raised ceiling area.


 Seating to Serve

I maximized floor space and added visual interest with a combination of seating from bar height chairs, to standard seating and bench seating. The mix of single and group seating options with expanded configurations accommodated the patrons.  During warmer months, the front patio provides additional seating.



Due to space configuration and wall limitations, a series of hanging menu boards was designed for quick ordering at the cash register and to avoid interfering with the lighting. Additionally, I took into consideration simplicity and affordability of updating individual boards in case menu updates were necessary. Ideally, a future design will feature video menu boards.


It was important to showcase this new restaurant and menu concept with images of its food.  The chef and a food photograph worked with me to capture the beauty and visual taste of an array of menu items. I then had these professional images printed to custom sizes that fit the walls in specific places. I chose  plexiglass and chrome standoffs to accent the contemporary theme and showcase the food.


I also designed nutrition cards featuring superfoods that also referenced menu options with that particular superfood ingredient to further promote the owner’s healthy lifestyle message.


Vertical Garden

One of my favorite design ideas for this space was adding this vertical garden. It featured beautiful succulents on the bottom and herbs for the chef’s use in dishes. Plus, it is fabricated out of discarded shipping wood pallets.


Patrons have raved on social media:

“Great atmosphere.”

“The atmosphere is modern and clean.”

How can I be of service to you in bringing your cafe and/or restaurant design to life? Contact me.

10 Modern Decked Out Furniture Designs

Ah Spring. The rhythm of renewal begins. The sunny, cotton-candy cloud infused blue skies and the constellation starlit nights help you shed those cabin fever blues. It’s time for warm sand, water escapades, green grass under your toes and dancing on your deck.

As outdoor living continues to be a part of our lifestyles during warmer months, it is becoming just as important of a functional and visually stimulating space as the rest of the house. Decks, patios and balconies serve as scenic framework for hosting your social affairs, family playtime, romantic rendezvous, pet parlors and urban gardens.

Today’s furniture is designed to flow both indoors and out. The latest creations feature organic and geometric shapes, LED-lighting capabilities, bright colors and modular, space-saving solutions. This season, consider my 10 cool, modern furniture picks to deck out your outdoor space to accommodate lazy lounging to backyard bourbon BBQ’s:



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Check out these 10 modern planters for your outdoor plants and garden.



10 Stylish Modern Planters for Your Home

Ah, spring is finally here. The allure of vibrant flowers and lush green plants drives most of us to our favorite nursery to replenish our existing planters or add some more greenery and color to our space. Besides embellishing our interiors and outdoor landscape, live plants clean our air and replenish it with fresh oxygen.  They decrease our stress and ignite our productivity.

Therefore, the right thing to do is to place your plants in the most stylish, artistic planters that enhance their natural color, design and growth patterns. Here are ten of my favorite modern and artistic indoor/outdoor planters to add to your decor with your favorite flowers and plants.

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Check out these 10 modern furniture solutions for your deck, patio or balcony.

3 Style-Packed Interior Design Ideas for Microdwellings

Microdwellings are readily gaining popularity throughout the states. However, our American taste for vast space has spawned planned communities with 3,000 sq ft homes on large lots, McMansions in suburban subdivisions and a thirst for more garage space, storage space and in essence, stuff.

So, let’s face it. Although microdwellings are on the rise, the process to downsize from several thousand square feet to 600 to 1,000 sq. feet bodes some serious consideration. What will you keep? How can you have great style in such a small space? How does your day-to-day life function? My biggest question, where am I going to store all of my shoes? Answering these types of questions require a clear, intentional plan.

It can be done. From personal experience in choosing to downsize to researching hundreds of microdwellings, you can live in less space and with less than you might first think. In my recent Big Style ~ Small Space presentation, I shared the following tips for planning your smaller space for functionality while retaining your personal style:


A change is physical dimensions requires a different set of objects with multiple functions.  My tips include:

  • Reduce the size of furniture in relation to the scale of the space.
  • Select multi-functional pieces like nesting tables, ottomans that serve as tables and convertible furniture that can adjust to your needs as necessary.
  • Pop up furniture (my term), like the blue chair below, is crafted by an Amsterdam firm and provides sturdy support with gorgeous contemporary lines and is easy to assemble and stack.
  • Incorporate lucite furniture to add what you need with no visual weight. Tables, chairs and desks in lucite are fantastic solutions for room and style. The Kartell Ghost Chair is one of my absolute favs.
  • Break the rules! Traditionally, living rooms feature a sofa, loveseat, a few chairs and tables. You can have chairs vs. sofas; loveseats vs. couches. Think differently and try new options.
  • There is a resurging interest and need for murphy beds. The new ones are smart and clever such as the one below that serves multiple functions within a space maximizing every square inch.

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Mirrors and reflective surfaces such as lacquers are two great secrets to adding more light and thus the illusion of space to any room in any size of home.  The example below makes this mirror area a focal point. It could hide a Murphy bed or serve as a storage or wardrobe unit. Oversized mirrors such as the image below are perfectly fine in a small space. Try bold looks.




Use your wall space and functional space like stairs for storage and to add design details that won’t work on the floor of your space. And, for any home, there are many beautiful and creative ways to hide your junk in plain sight by making the storage boxes a part of your décor. You can add them to a dresser, console, desk or shelf. You can consider hanging baskets as art and storage as well.

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These tips are just a few ways to individualize your microdwelling interiors.The exciting thing about microdwellings is that once you define your style and space functionality, the existing and customized design solutions make the process very, very fun.