Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Restaurant Progress Report

Some walls have been shaved back since the last post.  The area at the bottom of the stairs needed to be opened up visually and to provide easy access between the two sides of the first floor.  The wall in the foreground on the right will also be moved back to the conduit you see running up the wall.

 That means this alcove will not be as deep.  But this doorway is being changed to a fixed glass right behind the stone arch.

 That will leave room on the inside for a hostess station.

Even though this beautiful tile is in perfect condition, it will be covered to make the floor level with the floor at the bottom of the stairs,  Some battles you just can't win.

This is taken from the front on the left side of the building.  There is a hallway to a back exit with two bathrooms off this hallway.  The plywood leaning against the studs is where the kitchen starts.  It extends across the back to the east wall of the building.

This is just a close up of the bathroom framing.  Those support poles you see on the floor are required and not designated for a location that is ideal but, as I said, some battles cannot be won.

This shot is from the front of the building on the right side.  The doorway in the back will become the entrance to a walk in freezer that extends out the back of the building.

This close up shows the space designated for the kitchen.  Initially plans were to have some of the storage and freezer space, along with some prep tables, in the basement.  Than plan has changed with the walk in freezer out back.  The basement will still be used for supplies.

Notice the handrails that curve along the stairs to the top.

Both sides wrap around at the top so there will be two columns where the railings attach.

Originally this staircase was enclosed to the ceiling. The plan now is add a 22 inch wall on each side and leave the end over that red area for a gate that was once on the outside of the building.  It was used  to enclose the recessed area behind the stone arch.  Because the height of the sides needs to be 42 inches, an iron railing will be added on top of the short wall.

This is the back of the second floor.  Note the amount of brick showing above the windows.

This is the front of the building which shows more exposed brick. Due to the slope of the roof the ceiling will be higher in the front.  It would be great to keep this exposed but a sprinkler system and  insulation will be added.  Then a sound absorbent ceiling will be added over that. 

There are three large I-beams that will be exposed below the ceiling.

Directly at the top of the stairs there is a raised area that was once a skylight.  It will remain open to the floor below but, for now, no skylight will be installed.  The recessed area starts above the black I-beam in this picture.  The recessed area is approximately 4'x11'.

This is taken from the front of the building.  The bar is on the right with the satellite kitchen behind that and a bathroom next.  There will still be room for tables beyond that in front of the windows across the back.

This shows the kitchen and bath area looking from west to east.  You can see the top of the staircase on the right.

Across from the kitchen and bath, on the opposite side of the room. will be two banquettes.
As you can see the building has a jog on this side, so one banquette will be larger than the other.

Here is the same area shot from the back of the building.

You may have noticed an exit on the back of the second floor,  This leads to a small deck and a set of stairs to the ground.  The Ritz park is directly behind the restaurant building.  It is an event park for the Grand Business District and hosts festivals, movies, yoga, and booths for various local activities.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A New Project

  I have been anxious to blog about this new project, but the wheels were turning a little slowly and I didn't want to start posting and then have huge lapses because we were at a standstill.
However, it's looking like full steam ahead now, and I feel more comfortable talking about this place without jinxing it.

A friend purchased this building with the intention of turning it into a restaurant.  The building housed varied businesses since it was built in 1927.  But the most recent was a hair salon on the first floor with two efficiency apartments on the second.  Those apartments were being used as office space when my friend, Victor, purchased the building.  Notice to vacate had to be given to the upstairs tenants.  Then time allowed for them to relocate before demolition could begin.  But that waiting time was well spent hiring an architect, a kitchen planner, and a contractor and working out the plans with all three.

 Finally the tear out  began. That included removing three kitchens and three bathrooms as well as all the dividing walls and closet areas.

Turns out more demolition was required than originally planned.  Because of the need for a sprinkler system, the entire ceiling on the second floor needed to be removed.  (a rather long and boring story that I'll skip over here)

Insulation from the attic space.

No one needs to see thirty pictures of debris to know this was a messy and time consuming job.  Once the walls were removed on the second floor, it changed how we visualized the space.  So a few of the plans went back to the drawing board.

The stairway to the second floor starts a few feet inside the front of the building and cuts the building in half until it reaches the top.  That is roughly dead center of the entire space.

This is the view from the top looking down to the front door.  Until demo began that was was the access for the second floor business/apartments.  There was no way to get from floor to floor from the inside of the building.

The access door to the second floor was through the arched opening.  The turquoise doors lead into each side of the first floor.  Although once you get far enough inside to be past the staircase the first floor opens up with access to both sides.  The plan is to keep the middle door but make it non- functional.  Because it is glass it lets in light and provides interest at the base of the stairs.  From the outside the niche could be used as a wait station for servicing patrons who are dining outside.

Not a great photo but you can see the depth of the entry here.  The door may have to be move about 14" closer to the front of the building to make a wider area for patrons to access the stairs.

This is a shot of the left side of the first floor looking towards the back of the building.

This is the same space looking from the back of the building to the front.

This shows the back of the first floor.  The stairs end right at that sharp inside corner on the right side of the photo.  This is also where the entrance to the basement stairs is located.  The area behind the orange line on the floor will be kitchen.  There will also be prep and storage areas in the basement.

This photo shows the two bathrooms outlined in orange just to the left of the kitchen

This is the first floor taken from the space that will be the kitchen.  Behind the support pole in the center you can see the door to the basement.

A closeup shot of the corner windows on the west side of the first floor.

This photo taken on the second floor and looking towards the front of the building shows the area that will become the bar.  So basically the area behind those uprights will be bar area.  It will be accessible from the area by the windows as well as the area to the left of the stairs.

Hugging the same wall but closer to the middle/back of the building will be a satellite kitchen and behind that a bathroom.  The kitchen is mostly for receiving food via the dumb waiter from the kitchen below.

This view is from the bathroom looking towards the bar area.

Second floor, looking towards the back. (bar area on the right)

Second floor, looking towards the front.

I think that covers the space.  I just want to point out one more feature.

The first floor has a tin ceiling in the area to the right of the stairs. 

The next phase is to install the sprinkler system.  Not the most exciting material for a post so  hopefully there will be some decor decisions to talk about.

Just as I was about to publish this post, we had more significant delays.  Menu ideas were debated and many changes were made to the kitchen plans.  I'll talk about those changes and show the updates in the next post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


It has been pointed out to me that I change my decor more than the average person.  There might be some truth to that, but I don't think I'm that far from the average mark. However, if you read my last post about rearranging the area above my mantel in the dining room, and then I told you this post is about rearranging the area around the mantel in my dining room, you might be suspect that I am guilty of obsessive redecorating.  Hear me out on this one.

This is what things looked like at the end of my last post in mid July.

This is what it looked like three weeks later.

At 4:10 AM the mirror detached from the backing board and careened to the floor while lashing out at everything in it's path. (Quite a startling sound in the dark of night) It embedded one of the antlers into the mantel and landed on top of the other one.

The candles and candle sticks went flying.

One candlestick was broken but for now hot glue is holding it together.

It slashed the caned back of this chair and

gave it some nasty wounds as it fought it's way to the floor.

The mirrored hearth took a smashing blow as did the wood trim and hardwood floor.

The mirror self destructed and has been buried in the dumpster.

That sums up the damages except for the mantel that endured a few scrapes from the mirror on the loose.

That brings me to the best possible reason to be redoing the area above and beyond the mantel.  Well, maybe "best" is a poor choice of words.  "No-other-choice" sums it up better.

After taking care of the obvious vacuuming of pulverized glass and removal of the larger broken shards, I was faced with a lack of inspiration.  I roamed Home Goods and even brought a mirror home only to return it the next day.  Too expected! Then I explored the antique/resale malls and came up empty handed.  Too period!  Then I was reminded of the Refind Room.  That's where I found a mirror that might work.  The price was right, so even if it didn't work over the mantel it could work somewhere else.
That same day, and because it is very close to the Refind Room, I stopped at Anotol's Fabric.  Why?
Well, because after trying to get the torn chair back to stick together with Mod Podge and paint, I gave up on salvaging it.  Instead I was considering having the backs upholstered.  It would all depend on finding a fabric that would complement the intense pink of the seats.

That is where I found this fabric.

Just wild enough to grab me and the color wasn't bad either.

Next I got two bids on removing the caning, adding the padding and my upholstery fabric.  There was a $90 difference between the two bids for the matching chairs  An easy choice since I have used both upholsterers before and was satisfied with their work.

The wall over the mantel needed to be patched and repainted. The mantel itself needed the scrapes sanded and the entire top repainted.

I removed the rope from the mirror and hung it on two hooks instead.

My brother, Dan, replaced all the trim around the hearth and spliced in a narrow strip of mirror after cutting out the smashed section.  I still have to fill the deep cut in the floor and add a little stain to that area.

I would have published this post much earlier but I was waiting for the chairs to be finished.  They were dropped off yesterday and I have to admit they are a bit on the wild side, but I'm OK with that.

Everything is pretty much back in place.  Maybe just a little more tweaking with what is on the mantel top. A couple pale bluish pumpkins for a fall centerpiece on the table and I am ready for company.