This summer Boston-based online retailer Wayfair asked me to write a guest post on its blog. It’s live today, and I hope you’ll check it out. The post details some tips to achieving the sort Brooklyn hipster design vibe seen at West Bridge, a new(ish) restaurant/bar in Kendall Square, tech capital of Cambridge. Since I’m a research fiend, it’s no surprise that my piece for Wayfair ran long. Below I’ve provided more back story, quotes, and design details, along with additional photographs.
Photo: Delicious Dishings
Restaurateur Alexis Gelburd-Kimler and chef Matthew Gaudet (both formerly of Aquitaine), tapped Williamsburg-based Crème Design, led by principal Jun Aizaki, to design the 3,600-square-foot space, located in the former Boston Woven Hose Factory (fire hose, not panty hose). Built in the early 1900s, it has a rustic loft feel—light and airy, with 18-foot ceilings, wood floors, painted brick walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Its back-to-basics, crafter sensibility is prevalent in emerging neighborhoods across the country. Gelburd-Kimler says, “Matt and I are definitely inspired by a lot of things Brooklyn.”
Photo: Delicious Dishings
Gelburd-Kimler, who lives in a converted school in Somerville, aimed not just to mimic the spare, industrial chic aesthetic she cultivates at home, but take it to the next level. She says, “I got to build beyond my home; I got to build everything I would want in my home.” She especially loves the restaurant’s wood floors and the white brick walls, saying, “I have a partial brick wall at home, but I wish it were white.” The restaurant’s amber-colored boards are reclaimed, and purposefully set at a 45-degree angle, a traditional design element often seen in old factory buildings.
Gelburd-Kimler’s main directive for Aizaki was the adage “less is more.” She says, “That was the number one rule.” She adds, “You’re not going to see a bunch of framed photos on my fireplace mantel at home. Same here.” Indeed. Artwork was kept to a minimum, with just two large-scale pieces in the upstairs space. The original artwork by Boston-based Thomas Tietjen of ASIZ Industries provides the lone slash of color in the main dining room. As for the black-and-white photo of a woman sitting on rubber hoses, Gelburd-Kimler reveals, “We found it in a magazine from 1827. It’s of the original factory. It was one-third of a page; we had it blown up to six-feet-tall and transferred to canvas.”
Photo: West Bridge
For the long dining tables, the team turned to Boston craftsperson Jamie Cumming of Loki Custom Furnitureto create the tops out of recycled bowling alley floors. Cummings credits Aizaki with the idea, and admits that although he’s used reclaimed lumber in the past, re-working bowling alley wood was a challenge. The custom-designed braided rope chandelier is by Toronto-based studio Atelier 688.
The bar is fashioned from reclaimed barn wood and topped with slate and the white x-back chairs are by Brooklyn-based Chair Factory. The guy in the picture is Bar Manager, Josh Taylor (formerly of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks). Believe it or not, the stools paired with the cafe tables in the bar area are from Pottery Barn.
Photo: Matt Demers | Inset: Pottery Barn
+ + + + +
For more about the design of West Bridge, additional photos, and tips on how to get the look at home, read my post on Wayfair’s blog.