Though inspiration for a home's decor can come from anywhere, I've usually taken my cues from hotels and restaurants. The recent sale of the ornate black glass chandelier that hung in my dining room set the scene. I needed to find a light fixture to replace it. A lunch at The Beachwood Cafe, recently given a brightening up by architect Barbara Bestor, provided the aha moment!
Like my kitchen/dining room, the old coffee shop had a dark 70s feel, complete with knotty pine. New wallpaper by Geoff McFetridge brightens up the space, and Granada tiles provide whimsical splashes of color on the floor. (Like Barbara, I'm especially partial to this variety of tile; Fez, the pattern in the Bestor-designed Intelligensia coffee shop, is a favorite). Hung here and there, dioramas by Claire Cresbo and David Tagel draw the eye around the room, creating a comfortably casual yet stylish setting for the cafe's American classics with an Asian twist. Barbara herself describes the makeover as "half Provençal, half Tokyo supergraphics".
But the (no pun intended) lightbulb moment for me came when I spotted the ginormous paper globe that dominates the cafe's back room. Dramatic without being heavy, it balanced out the pine trim. That was just what I needed to do in my own home. A quick trip to Chinatown, twenty dollars, and a lighting kit (mine's from Ikea), and the 36" globe makes my formerly drab dining room my new favorite spot.