Winning Wood


WOOD NEEDS TO BE USED WISELY TO CONVEY A PARTICULAR AESTHETIC. It should be used to help develop the restaurants brand; whether casual, sophisticated, modern, rustic, organic, or trendy. Wood has a very strong philological impact on guests. Overall it is more expensive than plastic laminates when installed and, occasionally, it can be comparable to stone in price. Wood should be used to create a WOW factor, create interest and authenticity. It can be smooth, monochromatic in color for high-end establishments, various colors, textures and patterns for more
casual environments, or used to sharply contrast the overall space in hopes of adding organic, comfortable elements. The warmth and appearance of real wood is so popular that there are now ceramic tiles made to look like wood. The Janka Hardness test is the standard for determining the density of wood. The more dense, or harder the wood is, the better it is to use for exterior applications. It is common to use Cedar (western red cedar) and Ipe (the most dense and attainable wood available).

wood-tap-fish-houseTAPS FISH HOUSE
Four 400 pound sliding Alder wood barn door panels span the 35 foot arch that separates the private dining space at the latest location of TAPS.

wood-oak-grill--terranceOAK GRILL
Island Hotel, Newport Beach
It’s always magical when you can use the real thing! A growing tree softens the hard lines of a built environment setting the mood for an afternoon garden party or nighttime romantic evening under the stars. At Oak Grill the patio’s Ficus trees become the focus, center-stage, the vista point that draws guests to the patio and are the most functional way of providing shade. As a designer, we always struggle to provide shade and lighting that work effortlessly with the overall exterior space, and Oak Grill did it perfectly.

Costa Mesa
Chef James presides on the other side of this beautiful 150 year old bubinga wood bar that accommodates eight.

Zov’s 28 seat bar face uses blonde and cherry stained wood types in a chevron pattern. Psychologically this gives the guest energy through movement in the pattern and depth. Without this pattern the space would be less interesting and lack a specific focal point. As you can see, this pattern is occurring at the bar, which encourages guests to get a drink or appetizer while they wait for their tables, by catching their eye immediately upon entering the restaurant.

wood-ranchTHE RANCH
The wood ceilings at The Ranch and Provenance utilize the same technique and installation style however, different wood types and arrangements were used. Both are custom, hidden, acoustical ceilings. They are both made with 6 wide wood slats that have a 2 gap between them with a black acoustical blanket above. Provenance wood is reclaimed, rough and finished raw from a barn in Pennsylvania and The Ranch is new rustic ‘grade A Hickory, stained and finished smooth. What a difference the wood type and finish can make on the overall aesthetic of a space.

Newport Beach
For Provenance restaurant at Eastbluff in Newport Beach, the quality of food that Chef Cathy wanted could only mean growing the produce themselves. With such a high focus on food quality, as the designer, it only made sense to open the entire restaurant up to view the 1,300 square foot garden. As a rule of thumb, designers should always feature what is most unique and special about a restaurant. Wood was the only option to make the garden as natural feeling as possible. To accentuate the garden we painted the interior of the restaurant in light relaxing tones so that guests would naturally look toward the garden area immediately upon entering the restaurant. The exterior canopy and back patio wall is made of rough sawn Western Red Cedar to give the look of age and authenticity of Napa wine country. The garden boxes are made from standard Pine lumber, full of knots and character. The choice to use pine allows us to replace and maintain the planter boxes over the years with little cost impact on the restaurant.

Long Beach
Pattern and texture are critical for a restaurant interior. They provide a focal point and a place of interest for the guest. It’s a great way to keep an overall design budget in check and still have a large impact on guest perspective. Sometimes a simple painted wall with art can set the tone for the entire space.

Long Beach
The kitchen is super small and space was limited so this little work horse of an oven on the patio was exactly what we needed to put out quality product. It added to the comfortable backyard-feel atmosphere we wanted and puts out amazing pizzas, roasted, braised and baked items. If wood-fired grilling is the restaurant specialty, the restaurant should have a design that highlights and accentuates this feature. An exposed open oven and stacked wood of different species should be the focal point, the WOW factor, the “stage” and the location of entertainment. Guests should know immediately by sight, then aroma and soon taste, that this restaurant is using a special technique to set them apart from other restaurants.

Costa Mesa
The use of “barn wood” is a hot trend right now. Social uses this wood as a layered textural element, showing age and authentic beauty. The wood pieces vary in color, some with paint chipping off, sun faded and raw. This use of wood is perceived as casual feeling by guests. The more color or variation, the more relaxing the feel. In contrast, wood that is the same color and smoother texture is perceived as higher-end and more modern.

Laguna Beach
The Polynesian inspired exotic ambiance truly feels like an oceanic oasis complemented with a large beautiful wooden table the owners purchased while vacationing in Indonesia that now serves as the community table and a place where large parties can enjoy cocktails and fare from Tabu.

wood-moulin-bristoMOULIN BISTRO
Newport Beach
This stunning wood refrigerator & ice box commonly used in Bistros in France during the 1950’s procured at the Marché de Saint Ouen flea market outside Paris by Chef Laurent appears to be made from French red oak and brass fittings and adds to the cozy feel of the space.

Huntington Beach
Wood should always be used as an extension of your brand. SeaSalt uses wood to help guests feel as though they entered a well-weathered beach house. By using wood that is bleached by the sun, soft greys and light brown, the guest is immediately transported.

Costa Mesa
In front of the open kitchen at Scott’s Restaurant & Bar is a massive, meandering plank of gorgeous Balinese teak that was found in an Asian bog, covered by water and almost fossilized for an estimated 150 years. It is artistry of the highest order in its natural form and serves as both a community table and remarkable banquet seating for special occasions. It seats up to 22 guests comfortably, and has even accommodated two separate parties of six or more – it is quite versatile. Its dimensions are: 18′ long, 27 wide and 32 high and has been with Scott’s since the
fall of 2008 when the owner discovered it through his vast design sources. Sometimes a clean modern space can become too stark and lack the ability to feel comfortable. One way to balance a modern interior is to use “liveedge” wood elements. Keeping the organic form of wood, the bark and/or undulating edge, contrasts a stark interior and provides a warm comfortable environment. A community table or bar is the perfect application since it’s in direct relation to the guest’s experience. Too many “organic” elements, though, can cause an environment to feel like a cabin or cottage; cluttered.

Newport Beach
Wood light fixtures are a bit rare; however, they can really set a mood for a restaurant. The bamboo light fixtures at Baja Sharkeez in Newport Beach combines the Baja California, beach shack surf community and nightclub aesthetic to create a truly original brand. The fixtures help to achieve a Polynesian beach vibe.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email