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When Chef Austin Johnson and Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson conceived the atmosphere at their new restaurant One White Street, they turned to Richard Felix-Ashman Design to elevate the atmosphere of a restored townhouse in Tribeca to a mindful space focused on the experience of gathering to enjoy food and wine.

We pulled Richard aside to get his perspective on fine tuning design elements at home to foster a welcoming environment for wine tasting parties or wine dinner gatherings. Here are his top five tips to level up any space for an ideal entertaining haven:

1. The key factors should be the food, wine, and your company.

The interior design is a complimentary frame experience — it should not compete. When designing, Richard asks himself: “How can design elevate the experience, without being the dominant influence on memory?”

2. Good interior design enhances personal experience in layers.

Layering adds balance and depth to a space. The soul of the space, however, is always the people and their experience.

  1. The first layer is spatial. Organizing the seating and circulation in a harmonious way enhances ease of movement and respect for personal space.

  2. The next layer is warm and clear lighting. Combine different strata of lighting from daylight through ambient lighting to decorative pieces which act as jewelry within the space. Each has its own function, and as a whole creates a comforting environment.

  3. Finally we consider materials, furnishings, and color. These should be appropriate to the space and to the guest – it’s an interplay of these three that gives human scale and comfort.

  4. For texture, the use of simple, natural materials is vital: wood, stone, wool, ceramic, and brass. These are materials that are familiar, domestic, and honest. Natural materials have their own beauty and character. They are not precious, and can be touched without concern. They age gracefully. Keeping the tonality light and neutral also showcases the experience within the space, so keep the perimeter as clean as possible. Use blocks of color strategically, so that the eye doesn’t dart around the space too quickly. Strive for calm and natural interiors which I hope bring comfort and ease to the guests.

3. Focus the table’s attention inward, showcase the food and wine with beautiful plates, glassware, and small taper candles. To add warmth to a room, I love Akari paper lamps for their glowing softness. They are an investment, but will last lifetimes if treated with love, and they compliment any style of interior. Place one on the floor or on a sideboard.

4. Last but not least: for a personal, tactile experience, there is nothing more reassuring than a 100% linen napkin. March has beautiful, ethical options from natural to indigo. Lastly, have a few small, soft linen pillows available as bolsters to offer to guests for added comfort and support.


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text description provided by the architects.

Nestlé and Très Arquitetura open the doors of the exclusive 'Casa Grão by Starbucks at Home' at CASACOR 2019, the largest architecture, decoration, design and landscaping event in Latin America. This year's show was based on pillars such as affection, sustainability and technology, intrinsically linked to the brand's consumer profile, eager for new experiences and seeking to always be ahead of trends, but without neglecting the planet. To design the house, Starbucks at Home found the ideal partner in Très Arquitetura, as it is recognized for its clean, minimalist, elegant and sustainable architecture.

Building their first complete residence at the event, architects Fernanda Tegacini, Fernanda Morais and Nathalia Mouco were guided by the concept of the grain (Grão), which names the project. In addition, the premises of a generation that seeks a more detached, altruistic and humanized life, and the lines of the Pavilion of Mies Van Der Rohe, in Barcelona, also inspired the 1000sqft dwelling in the shape of a glass box, which encompasses living, dining room with a small kitchen and master suite. The light, dry and sustainable iron structure was reused from an old shopping mezzanine, and demonstrates the office's technical competence.

Natural materials, almost rustic, communicate the core values ​​of the brand in a very direct way, glorifying their products and the casual nature of the trade, bringing an approximation of nature with the individual.

Two main gables of Brazilian marble (Donatello by Brasigran), support this skeleton, which was closed off by large glass frames, which integrate the beautiful landscape of the garden by Bia Abreu into the décor. The composition of the interior still has few furniture, and as a great highlight the modular sofa, made in partnership with Líder Interiores, which takes care of the center of the living room and allows the interaction, from any angle, of the people who sit there, in addition to guide the flow of activities around you.

The ceiling lining was designed with walnut leaves, creating a contrast with the floor and the color palette that transitions between black and white. In the dining room, the table has four chairs, two covered in a fabric with a dark green tone, and another two in black, creating a subtle connection with the iconic green pantone of Starbucks, conceiving a more intimate and modern space. Facing it, an imposing bookcase, designed by the architects, illustrates the firm's expertise in carpentry, its trademark, and boasts design and decoration elements and objects, subtly arranged in niches and compartments.

In addition, it works as a large window for a mini 'forest', provided by the partner landscaper, framing the green and incorporating it into the decor.

Still creating an interaction between the architectural design and Starbucks' familiar visual identity, one of the main fencing gables, which separates the social area from the intimate, was painted in the dark green color characteristic of the stores.

The entire architectural concept was conceived not only as a point of sale, but as a meeting place, a place to feel at home. We strive to make natural and green materials present through architecture as central and prominent elements.

In a way, we seek the idea of ​​breaking away from the food alienation experienced by the inhabitants of the great cities as inspiration. Evidencing the origin, the origin of the food. The colors and textures of the products are decisive for the decoration of the store."

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Text description provided by the architects:

The arrival in Rome, the Eternal City in which the stratigraphy of eras and styles can be read at every corner, in every stone, induces a reflection on the matter. The focus is on contrast, because in Rome contrast is always, and has always been harmony. In the city of travertine, we renounce one of the essential materials of its own grammar of elements in order to place amazement before redundancy. the boutique looks like a vibrant monolith of green onyx, a precious material with a unique design that contains a thousand-year history.

The green onyx, which thanks to the particular mineral structure dematerializes in contact with the light in nuanced transparency. It is a stone that comes from Afghanistan, an area of extinct volcanoes, and whose history is at least as long as that of the city.

Treated in large symmetrical blocks and worked to obtain a matte surface, green onyx creates a total immersion in the shop: it drowns the entire space, from floors to walls. The entire perimeter of the scenic box is illuminated and marked by a cascade of light, while panels of polished brass folded in on themselves and anchored by brass stitching make up the back wall.

In contrast, the ceilings are white in the initial part of the shop, with inclined and dynamic bands, while in the second they open in a geometric composition of luminous portholes. In such an affirmative space, the dressing rooms closed by brass hinged doors opened by portholes are a mysterious presence, which reveals feminine, boudoir–like interiors in sage-colored capitonné velvet.

The forte_forte spatial narrative is an ongoing path in which powerful and present materials and pure forms – now airy and impalpable, now solid – are molded on the unique characteristics of the place. Meaning by locus, not so much, or not only, the immediate surroundings, as the genius loci itself, and with it the city.

From the creative dialogue between Giada Forte and Robert Vattilana a language is born which, following a rhythm and a metric that is different each time and locations, becomes a lingo. The opening of the new roman boutique, at number 4c in Via Borgognona, in the heart of what was once the Campo Marzio, in a street full of character marks a new chapter and affirms a new idiom, made of extreme synthesis, of a desire for intimate permanence. a sense of gentle power, of timeless lightness, pervades the whole.

The challenging moment is about the concept itself which takes into consideration a complete custom-made and artisanal project located in a historic building under the protection of the city superintendence of fine arts.

Working with the green onyx treated in large symmetrical blocks means designing the whole space counting every single inch. The great artisanal team made this project possible. During this period of world pandemic and lockdown, we managed to keep safety at first while timing plus budget was always under control.

Source: ArchDaily, Curated by Paula Pintos

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