I stopped by the Marimekko flagship on Newbury Street the other night. They were serving hot cocoa and cookies, and whipping up custom made tablecloths. (There’s a glassed in sewing booth downstairs where the magic happens.) Of course, with all the great color and pattern, and fab gift wall in the entry, I couldn’t resist taking a million photos. Tour the Marimekko store with me; you’ll spot lots of holiday gift inspiration.
This summer Boston-based online retailer Wayfair asked me to write a guest post on its blog. The post, “Bring the Look Home: Industrial,” details ways 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.
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.”
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.”
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.
There are a few really wonderful home decor boutiques here in Boston, many in the artsy SoWa district of the South End. Diseño is one of my favorites. Frank Campanale was inspired to open the boutique after an extended trip to South America back in 2001, during which he stayed for a week each in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile. Moved by the contrast of daily life in Third World countries and the richness of the culture, he travels there often to source treasures for the shop.
His most recent expedition was to Guatemala just two weeks ago. Intrigued by my recent spurt of Instagram photos (glad to know somebody out there loves them!), he invited me over, curious to see how his products, which range from delicious blankets to earthy pots to cowhide rugs in cutting edge colors, would translate with the app. Here are the results. I like them; he did too. What do you think?
Boston chef Wheeler del Torro has closed the Barrio pop-up for the season, but is re-launching another culinary adventure, Small Bytes. Del Torro’s company launched Small Bytes back in 1993 in San Francisco. Now he lives in Boston, and we all know that Cambridge is the new S.F. . .
Small Bytes is a forum for connections and discussions between start ups, tech folk, and investors over a tapas menu. The Boston launch is June 19 at the French Cultural Center, 8:30 – 10 p.m.. He has offered us a pair of tickets worth $350 each to give away.
TO ENTER: “Like” StyleCarrot on Facebook AND leave a comment on this post naming a tech company with offices in the Boston/Cambridge area. Deadline to enter is Tuesday, June 5, 2012, midnight E.S.T.
Chef Wheeler del Torro
Jamaican-born Wheeler del Torro is best known in Boston for his vegan and liquor-laced ice cream company.
Inspired by John Walker’s The Hacker’s Diet, del Torro aims to bring healthy, high quality food to the tech community through his Small Bytes events. He promotes the intrinsic connection between excellent food and energy, thought processes, and endurance. He will also be launching his black truffle tasting menu.
What: Barrio A pop-up dinner party Who: Chefs Wheeler del Torro + Matt Drummond When: Saturday, April 28th at 9 p.m. Where: Boston (We’ll tell you where if you win!)
Matt Drummond, chef de cuisine at Brasserie Jo, is joining forces with Chef Wheeler del Torro next Saturday night at Boston’s latest clandestine pop-up restaurant, Barrio.
TO ENTER: “Like” StyleCarrot on Facebook AND leave a comment below noting if you’ve ever had Afro-Cuban cuisine. Be sure we can easily get in touch with you since the dinner is next Saturday. Opportunity to enter ends this Sunday at midnight Boston time.
Chef Wheeler del Torro
Jamaican-born Wheeler del Torro is best known in Boston for Wheeler’s Catering & Frozen Dessert Co., his vegan and liquor-laced ice cream company, though these hearty dinners will fuse Afro-Cuban flavors with each guest chef’s cooking style.
Past Barrio dinners have included slow-cooked yuca with citrus-garlic sauce, a ragout with a trio of mushrooms, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, corn cakes with a guava glaze and grilled pineapple, black and white truffle crostini, and spicy white truffle squash soup.