Wanderlushousness: Far flung restaurants with design flare

I adore travel, though for me, it is typically relegated to the time in between.  In between flips that is, this isn’t some premeditated plan to met out the world’s destinations as if they would run out if I allowed myself to just willy nilly, visit them whenever the thought occurred to me that I was ready for a little get away.  The world is quite large enough  for me to explore away. It is sadly, much less interesting, having to do with the boring topic of money. Tragic how many decisions are ruled by having it, not having it, the thought of losing it, or not using it wisely.   When I am “with property” as some gal busting with baby might say, I stay close to home. 

Dear Lily . Hong Kong

By the time I visit Cuba in January, my hope is that all the possible leaks intent on springing will have sprung, and I can travel without threat of another infiltration.   I listened to an audio book, a Reese Book Club recommendation, if that lends any credibility to its pages, Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton.  The reason I bring it up is the narrator said Cuba in a way I’ve never heard before.  It’s almost as if she replaced the “c” with a “g” and delivered it with a lazy, muddy, moody, low voice – you know the type, a long night of whiskey drinking and one too many cigarettes – – gooba – gooba—gooba.  I listened to it said so many times, and yet I still don’t think I quite have it.  Perhaps I will have mastered in by the time I reach its sun soaked shores.

Kudu . London

I’m not quite sure if I owe my obsession with supper clubs to the tales of Cuba my grandmother used to tell, or Doris Day.  Either way, the Tropicana may have been responsible for my love of restaurant design.  Doesn’t the name make you smile?  It’s fantastical Hollywood set drew me in and the production value, frankly has never gone down. 

Lasse Salling . Copenhagen

This week I saw restaurant interiors that knocked my socks off.  From London to Hong Kong, and other glamorous places beyond, I gathered some of my very favorite things.  Is it terrible to say, even as much as I love food, if the design is divine – I’m going. 

Hencoop Hospitality my feather boa!

If Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell ( a painter and interior designer) Founders of the Bloomsbury Group, or Set, as they were known, and who gathered around them other like minded intellectuals, philosophers, artists, and influencers, could be considered frivolous by any group or gender, than I’ll eat that feather boa. I’ll do it without reservation, in protest to the outrageousness of the coinage.

Above: Allbright . London. Photographed by Tina Hiller

It’s only a wonder to me why it has taken us so long to embrace and proliferate, women’s only social and co-working clubs. Certainly we work differently than Virginia and Vanessa did at the turn of the 20th century, and Me Too wasn’t yet a movement, though it was a harsh reality, whatever the reason, a few pathfinders have helped to get the ball rolling.

From The Wing, which I have written about several times now, and if I am allowed to brag a bit, my firm, Elaine Construction is responsible for constructing in Boston’s Back Bay, to dozens and dozens across the country, women only co-working is in full swing.

Above: Make Lemonade . Toronto . Canada

Admittedly, it was the design of The Wing which first caught my attention. To my eye, it’s luscious interior is like a movie set that I could imagine Jan Morrow of Pillow Talk walking onto and sitting right down with a cup of tea and a bag of samples for her next project. It’s perfection. There are others which are worthy of mention for their jaw-dropping interiors including: Allbright . London, The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA, Make Lemonade . Toronto . CA, and Paper Dolls . LA . CA.

Above Left: Paper Dolls . LA . CA and Right: Paper Dolls Founder Jen Mojo

The names are as inspiring as the interiors and their missions. Allbright an ode to Madeline who famously stated: There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” so often quoted these days it would be hard to imagine anyone not familiar with it. The Hivery which elicits images of the Queen Bee buzzing around in control of her kingdom, and believe me, I’d be happy to Make Lemonade out of Rachel Kelly’s brainchild of a work space. I loved making paper dolls as a young girl, so Jen Mojo’s concept, born out of a dinner club that gathered regularly, brings a smile to my face.

The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA by Design Renegades
Design Renegades Founder . LeAnn Wanninger

The fact that all these spaces were designed by women, and in the case of The Wing . Boston – built by one too (yeah!) is a source of collegial pride. Allbright was created by London Based firm No. 12 Studio, founded by Katie Earl and Emma Rayner, is a stunner.

Above Left: The Hivery . Right Top: The Hivery Main Studio. Right Bottom: The Hivery Founder . Grace Kraaijvanger.

LeAnn Wanninger of Design Renegades is responsible for the clean, bright lacquered white desk tops, lucite accents, and happy yellow pops of color that make up The Hivery, and have women making the trek from the heart of San Fransisco and other Bay Area locales to get creative and get working. Grace Kraaijvanger its founder is driven to explore: “what create and supports a courageous women”. This space might just provide the bird’s eye view to answer that question.

No. 12 Studio Founders . Katie Earl and Emma Reyner

The inspiration and pride I feel for these spaces abounds. I hope you find a little of your own inspo today.

Rachel Kelly . Make Lemonade Founder.