Design Hound’s first project with Eric Silverstein and his team behind The Peached Tortilla, this 2,500 square foot brick-and-mortar restaurant along Austin’s Burnet Road Corridor began as an abandoned plumbing showroom. The program for this sized space included creation of a patio within the 2,500sf footprint with dining for 15, a dining area and full-service bar with seating for 50, a larger than normal kitchen that would serve the restaurant and the Client’s food trucks, offices for catering staff and restrooms. Considering the history behind Eric and his food [a fusion of growing up in Japan and Atlanta] and an existing graphic identity of orange and peach with a little green on a background of white-space, the team at Design Hound saw a unique design opportunity. Patrons enter directly into a corner of the dining room to find a small host stand greeting them. The dining room itself mainly consists of white painted vertical wood siding and walls. However, a theatrical play of plywood triangles, some in their natural color and others stained multiple tones of the aforementioned orange and peach, create an homage to Japanese origami paper in the background. The Georgian side of Eric was introduced as a contrasting but complimentary element via custom white-washed wood slat bench and booth seating that line the walls and simple white spindle back chairs. The soffit, continuous across the dining area, provides a shelf for plantings that add a touch of green keeping the interior palette in line with The Peached Tortilla’s branding. The bar, just off the dining area by the kitchen, has a green tiled accent wall with a marble top and white wood display shelving with beveled glass mirrors behind. This being the only area where the existing clay-tile walls could be left exposed, they were cleaned and utilized as the perfect location for a portrait of Lady Bird Johnson. At the outdoor patio, a white-picket fence provides enclosure while more plants hang from the ceiling, a nod to the classic southern porch.
kitchen equipment | Best Restaurant Equipment & Design
photography |Inked Fingers
Our firm grew slowly but steadily during its first two years, and we found ourselves working on top of one another. The search for a new office space began and ended on the Eastside of Austin at the corner of 6th Street and Pedernales. Honestly, we lucked into the space via Craigslist and could not believe what we had found. Though raw and lacking character, it had restrooms, a kitchenette, a storage area and a large open space lined with views to the always active 6th street. With a shoestring budget and carpentry + steel skills within the office [mainly Ramiro], an idea began to take shape. Upon entering, we placed some casual seating and furniture as a place for Clients to relax and wait for a meeting or for members of our team to take a break and catch up on the latest issue of a design magazine. The adjacent front valance, partially blocking views of the workstations beyond, is clad in wood flooring with steel boxes for displaying items of interest. The continuous snaking plywood desk behind the valance starts by the kitchenette and turns back on itself to create two 'U-shaped' work pods before wrapping around a column in the center of the space and ending just beyond. Views to the restroom entry and kitchenette are blocked by a large steel panel with a Texas Flag hanging in front and coats hanging behind hidden from view. Utilizing two large curtains custom made by a turn-of-the-century tent manufacturer in Idaho, we hid the existing [poorly framed/finished] materials lab. The curtain softens the space both visually and acoustically and provides a literal backdrop for the conference room containing a large live-edge wood slab communal table and a wall-mounted TV. Fluorescent lamps in the existing globe pendant lights were swapped for LED bulbs by Ketra that allow for modulation of light temperature and brightness depending upon the incoming daylight or the office's mood and a large brass pendant is hung above the conference table. Knowing that we spend almost as much time at the office as we do at home, we curated a selection of specimen plants and artwork that have been placed throughout the space to provide a comfortable and inspirational workspace.
photography | Ryan Farnau and Molly Culver Photography
The industry veterans behind J. Black’s and the Golden Goose bar, Ashley and Sean Fric, realized that the options for them to have a night [or day] out with solid cocktails and even better food was becoming more and more difficult since starting a family. So they relocated away from the nightlife destination of downtown Austin to East Austin where the dearth of nearby options for family dining became too important to ignore, so they decided to use their expertise to create a solution. After many late-night discussions regarding the ‘feel’ of their new establishment, they kept arriving at memories of the wonderful times Ashley had spending time with her quirkily and amazing Aunt Colleen while growing up in Houston. Ashley, and subsequently Sean after meeting her, knew that she would not be the strong, fun, independent wife/mother/friend she had become without those hours spent amongst Colleen’s company and her collections of knick-knacks and ad-hoc in-home art installations. Therefore, this casual, family-friendly restaurant and bar was to be an homage to Aunt Colleen. After all, what is a great restaurant without fantastical inspiration? Ashley and Sean showed up at Design Hound with pages upon pages of photos of Colleen’s unique house, and we talked for hours about Colleen and their hopes for the restaurant that would soon be located in their neighborhood. Our office poured over the images with fascination, hoping to glean some design cues that would honor Colleen while giving Ashley and Sean a restaurant they would love. The resulting project, located on the corner site below the new Alamo Drafthouse in the Mueller Development of Austin, will utilize accents of green and brass and create a playful but elegant space for everyone to enjoy elevated comfort food and a drink or two. To achieve just enough privacy for a truly enjoyable meal or date-night, the open-concept dining area is broken into smaller spaces with millwork elements that display a curated assemblage of Colleen’s collections. A dramatic Cy Twombly inspired custom wallpaper adds depth to the space, and the glass enclosed private dining room and its wedding photo wall (another inspiration from Aunt Colleen) provide a place to enjoy a large group meal without pretension. Clerestory windows and a glass backbar, where shelves act as shutters, allow controlled sunlight to enter the space and minimize glare. Small design touches like a screen made of Colleen’s collection of teacups, slightly embellished ceiling medallions around flush-mounted lights, and inspirational quotes taken from Colleen’s pin-up board transcribed on the green steel columns further the personal touches that are so dear to Ashley and Sean. A large outdoor bar area just off the entry and visible to anyone heading into Mueller via the main entry, is anchored by painted planters and a picket-style fence. Lastly, a ‘To-Go’ window just off the outdoor bar will cater to pedestrians looking to grab a coffee or picnic lunch to enjoy in the park just to the south.
*construction scheduled for 2017
Design Hound’s first project under its former iteration as Kevin Stewart | Architect, A-OK Chinese was a budget conscious conversion of a 1,500 square foot space into a fast-casual concept within an unassuming retail center. The program suggested that the minimal but impactful design elements inserted would freshen the space and broaden its appeal to the surrounding neighborhood’s youthful demographic. The material palette of white subway tile, plate steel and chalkboard paint were combined with splashes of red and wistful accents lending themselves to memories of the Chinese-American take-out establishments of our youth. Subway tile lines the entry wall and frames a photo of Richard Nixon, the first president to visit the People’s Republic of China, eating with chopsticks before turning into a standing counter for quick dining and a shelf for wine and beer display. Plate steel was bent into the shape of a bar-height banquette in front of the Point-of-Sale and also utilized for booth seating opposite the entry wall. Traditional ‘Chinese Red’ accents the areas around the kitchen pass-through, the wall along the booths and the existing steel trusses. Aside from simple recessed cans within the white-lacquered ductwork-hiding soffit over the dining area, the space is lit by inexpensive chrome clamp lights attached to a large salvaged sprinkler pipe that runs, rather sculpturally, over the queue before bending and terminating above a corner table. The white cloth-bound wire powering the lights wraps the pipe showing that sometimes exposing the matter-of-fact elements associated with buildings, in this case wiring, have their own beauty. Industrial drafting stools and chairs, old felt menu boards with plastic letters, bathroom walls lined with wheat-pasted Chinese paper placemats, and graphic instructions on how to use chopsticks provide the finishing touches.
photography | Ryan Farnau
Juliet Italian Kitchen
The original restaurant design by Clayton & Little Architects, Mark Word Design and Joel Mozersky was highly lauded for its beautiful aesthetic, however the restaurant Owners desired a revision to the original interiors concept that would create a more casual experience for their patrons. With a limited timeframe of three weeks to create the new vision and a subsequent two and a half weeks to implement it, Design Hound, immediately took an inventory of the existing spaces to determine which changes they could make to create the greatest impact with the least effort. After deciding to revise the layout of one of the private dining rooms to better accommodate group functions with audio/visual capabilities and altering the lounge area to a smaller private dining room and waiting area, the team inventoried furnishings, light fixtures, artwork and existing finishes. Based on the revised layouts and that inventory, as well as subsequent discussions with suppliers, fabricators and installers, a plan materialized. Each area within the restaurant would have a unique feel with common undertones of cohesion. The entry/bar area with its beautiful walnut and brass bar was reinvigorated with new large pendants and sculptural lightbulbs, colorfully re-upholstered barstools within a new table layout, and a multitude of hanging plants to visually connect it with Mark Word’s beautifully designed patio area just outside the front door. The former lounge was converted to a private dining area with a lush dark blue wall color and a blue-and-white striped privacy curtain similar to the existing awnings. The adjacent walkway also utilized the dark blue wall color but introduced splashes of orange-red, brass barstools and intimate lighting. The extremely public visible front sunroom received some blue accents and a custom Judy Paul mural covering the previous antique mirrored wall. The adjacent Private Dining Room’s acoustical issues were resolved with padded/upholstered wall coverings with exposed brass tacks. A dramatic green wallpaper was placed within the side dining room where the walnut trim was painted. Last, navy-blue bentwood chairs, red napkins and new quirky ‘Italian’-themed artwork were placed in each area to further unify the casual theme.
photography | Mark Menjivar
Coopers BBQ | Austin
Bringing Coopers BBQ into a historical building in downtown Austin with a large heritage oak located in the existing rear courtyard consisted of a complete gut and remodel of the existing 2-story building on Congress Avenue, two separate additions, insertion of an elevator within the turn-of-the century existing building, weaving an outdoor deck and its accompanying supports around the oak tree, completely new utilities, and installation of a high-end VRF air-conditioning system with smoke scrubbers to clean the BBQ smell from the smoker ventilation system. In addition to approvals by the usual site planning and building department officials required to bring a project through the approval process and to completion, this project required multiple meetings and negotiations with the Austin Historic Landmark Commission, the City of Austin Arborist, Austin Energy, Austin Water Utility and pollution control system engineers. The Coopers BBQ in Austin is a far-cry in both size and scope from the beloved and quaint original restaurant up the highway in Llano, Texas. At times, the complexity of the project began to outweigh the aesthetic and operational constraints. Luckily, the existing historic building and the neighboring structure had so much character that Design Hound did not need to re-create a shabby-chic aesthetic – it was already present. The design team focused on working through the complexities and the functionality with an eye to design opportunities such as the juxtaposition of the modern steel frame that supports the second-story addition and braces the original structure against raw brick with painted advertisements from 100-years ago. Additionally, the Client had huge stores of old barnwood, beadboard and rusted metal that he offered up to clad almost every surface. He also found and restored and old bar and backbar that was placed upstairs in the newly minted ‘Llano Lounge.’ In the end, the space looks and functions as all had hoped and is fast becoming a go-to staple for BBQ enthusiasts.
The Brewer's Table
After multiple visits, the potential of the site off of East 5th Street in Austin and the beauty in the bones of an abandoned 5,000 square foot Quonset hut were realizes. Design Hound took advantage of the multiple elements of the complicated program [micro-brewery, giant climate-controlled oak foeders for aging beer, an open-kitchen revolving around an 8' custom wood-fired grill, and an 'elevated' Brewer's Table for special events]. Though contradictory at first, these elements began playing off one another and gave shape to the restaurant within its extruded semi-circular housing. As the functional aspects of the design were further resolved, opportunities to modify the building in accordance with its new identity arose. Elements of wood and exposed steel became the visual breaks the space needed in conctrast to the texture associated with the existing building. Large expanses of glass disappear at the threshold between the bar. The covered outdoor dining area connects the dining room to massive wood foeders that age beer for blending into proprietary, limited-release beers. Simple decorative elements of festoon lights and aging barrels provide a nod to beer halls. If lucky enough to be invited, patrons ascend a bent-steel plate staircase and look out over the action below while dining at the actual 'Brewer's Table.'
*construction scheduled for 2017
Freebirds 2.0 | Prototype
Freebirds began as a single entity, free-spirited, burrito joint across the street from the Northgate area of Texas A&M University before growing into the regional, fast-casual chain restaurant it is known as today. That original small shop, a staple for Kevin during his time at architecture school there, is omni-present in many of his best college memories. Design Hound was asked to lead the design efforts associated with re-imagining the brand’s built identity as they began their expansion into new markets. Though successful from a business perspective, Freebirds had pursued multiple incongruous designs lacking consistency beyond a somewhat shabby and ‘hippie-ish’ vibe of mismatched furniture, cloud-painted ceilings and adornments of aluminum foil sculptures. In fact, the appearance of their restaurants ran contrary to the farm-fresh, ingredient-focused, open-kitchen concept the company had been pushing for years. With this concept in mind and knowing that no two restaurants would be the same [they are generally built within strip-center developments], the team developed a re-branding guidebook with specific ‘honest’ materials that tied in with the new concept. Additionally, a prototypical layout and renderings showcasing the guidebook’s ideas were produced to inform the company’s architects as they developed new restaurants and remodeled existing ones. The small screen wall element, encountered upon entry, provides a sense of privacy for the diners while reinforcing the longevity of the Freebird’s brand with perforations of the backwards ‘F’ logo. Clean wood walls with orange-lacquered stripes incorporating over-sized graphics clad the entry wall. Built-in banquette seating of white-washed wood and waxed steel pipe armatures guide the patrons to the open kitchen. Surrounded by dark steel plate, the open-kitchen and it’s smattering of textured, burrito-shaped tiles, glows white and clean. Orange accents at the kitchen area, windows and cords woven into the tectum ceiling panels are offset by wooden chairs and tables with blue accents. Lastly, a wood-framed soffit, with exposed bridging and white barn light pendants, floats over the community table built of steel pipe and wood with the backwards ‘F’ logo emblazoned on the seats. Above it all, aluminum-foil backed sheathing [usually utilized as a radiant barrier in residential construction] has been CNC routed with a pixelated version of Lady Liberty.
*implementation in progress
Pi Pizza | 1
The first of three re-concepting projects for Cherry Pie Hospitality Group, Pi Pizza replaced a fried chicken restaurant. By focusing on the front-of-house spaces that patrons interact with, swapping a few pieces of kitchen equipment out (like a pizza oven in lieu of fryers) and working with the existing infrastructure, Pi Pizza was designed, permitted and constructed in only four months. Design Hound infused the previous fast-casual restaurant and its modest design with an attitude that reflected the operating partner’s personality from growing up in Houston during the skater scene of the late 70’s and 80’s. Black wallpaper with gold-toned skulls allude to the attitude of that time while the checkerboard floor pattern is reminiscent of slip-on Vans as it runs across the floor and wraps up the wall. Splashes of bright teal ductwork, orange barstools and neon signage create a visual bridge between the darker tones and the custom painted skate deck display that the owners commissioned for the project. Lastly, the brass tones of the menu signage provide a touch of class to contrast with the hanging linear LED lights that are reminiscent of old warehouse skate parties.
photography | Julie Soefer
State Fare | Houston
For the State Fare re-concepting project, the second of three for Cherry Pie Hospitality Group, Design Hound was tasked with repurposing much of the existing restaurant layout to create a fun and lively neighborhood restaurant. Early on the project team felt the large space had a cavernous, cafeteria-like feel. To remedy that feeling, large steel and amber corrugated glass partitions were placed on top of existing booths and banquettes to provide a sense of privacy. Additionally, a herringbone patterned reclaimed wood wall was placed just behind the host stand to offer a sense of mystery and surprise as the patrons entered. Booths and wall-paneling were re-upholstered, chairs were switched out, a new color scheme was introduced to brighten up the space and the flooring was replaced. Lastly, a small music room was created off of the entry for intimate acoustic performances.