Protect Your Investment with Nanotex Treated Textiles

Drats spilled coffee on my Nanotex samples again!

No matter how fast your staff is at cleaning up your customers messes, spills will take a toll on your fabrics. Unless your fabrics were treated with Nanotex before they were upholstered. Nanotex is a stain-repellant technology that is applied to fabrics and leatherettes before being upholstered and has been proven to enhance the life and performance of any treated fabric. It’s highly effective at resisting stains from everyday spills like coffee, wine, soda, and condiments however it’s also design to survive harsher substances including iodine, urine, and blood. In addition to stain resistance, fabrics treated with Nanotex are more color fast and abrasion resistant without impacting the fabrics fire rating. The best part is, Nanotex treatments last the life of your fabric and doesn’t impact its recycleablity or overall softness.

Any fabric from wall coverings and drapery to booths and upholstery can have Nanotex treatment applied to them as long as it’s applied at the mill. Just make sure you ask for Nanotex treated fabrics when it comes time to remodel and reupholster.

Here is a link to the Nanotex website which provides more information:

Let’s Make Some Changes

Considering wood trim

Have you ever worked on your restaurant’s layout with your salesperson and designer but can’t seem to get your point across over the phone?   Are you too far from one of our branches or have too much on your plate that you can’t seem to find the time to get out of the office?   Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us.

Bargreen Ellingson Design now has the ability for you to login over the internet and view your designer’s CAD drawings.  A simple conference call between you, your salesperson and your designer and BAM!   Your changes can be made instantly. Can’t quite explain where you want that booth seat or specify the order of equipment on the cook line? Grab your mouse and show the designer and salesperson on their screen in real time. If the design doesn’t work the way you thought it would, we can easily move it all back with a few simple clicks of the mouse.  This collaborative effort is a huge time saver for both you and the designer and helps you create the design you really want. Once all the elements are where you want them, the designer can easily send you a PDF version of your plan for your reference.  And just think – you didn’t even have to leave the comfort of your home or office!  For more information on this collaborative effort, contact your designer!

Reduced Steps, More Profit

How do most restaurant and bar patrons determine what the best restaurants are? Aside from the food and atmosphere, more often than not, it’s in the service and experience the guest has. Restaurants and bars are factories, and as such they require efficient operation in order to remain profitable. The more efficient they are, the more profitable an operator remains.

In foodservice design, an operation must be optimized for performance in order to get meals to the customer quickly. From receiving products through the back door, followed by storing, prepping, cooking and serving those products to your guest, one must consider each and every step made by an employee. An inefficient cookline or bar requiring too many steps from one station to another can create increased labor and time to produce a completed order. Likewise, improperly placed service areas throughout the dining room can create additional work for wait staff.

Seating is another element and an area most operators want to capitalize on in order to get the proper turns and revenue stream they need to succeed. An inefficient kitchen, bar or service design can eat up space that could otherwise be utilized for seating guests.
As a commercial kitchen and interior designer, I take pride in creating an efficient use of the space provided. Whether it’s an existing space requiring a remodel or a brand new location, we are able to work with architects, designers, developers and operators in order to create a successful design and profitable business.

Warm Weather is on the Horizon

June is here and that means warmer weather is on the horizon…

With that being said, now is a good time to start thinking about upgrading your restaurant’s patio furniture.  By the time it’s ordered and shipped, it will arrive just in time for that bright orb in the sky to warm your patrons, drink in hand.  Some patio trends we are seeing lately are comfortable sofa/ lounge seating areas…who said that you have to have a sofa indoors? Check out the Tatta collection from Tropicasual (American Trading)  Stocked in the Expresso color and complimented with a bold cushion color, this line will create a unique, comfortable and casual patio area.Image Courtesy of American Trading Company

Gone are the days of the standard plastic molded seats. There are so many fun options out there, including faux teak, metals, plastics and wovens. If you’re seeking a little relief from the sun, you might want to think about adding patio umbrellas, as well. Order your table with an umbrella hole and you will have the flexibility to add some shade to your deck if need be. If you need help or a creative eye, we can lead you in the right direction and offer you some great products as well as cost effective solutions. Summer’s coming – enjoy the sun and don’t forget your sunscreen (or your new patio sets!)

Follow the ADA Road

Image of Courtesy US Department of Commerce

I recently retweeted an article from RD+D Magazine (Restaurant Design + Development) regarding changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some of you may not be familiar with the ADA (or Twitter, for that matter…follow me! @kelseyjmitch).  Briefly, the ADA is civil rights legislation that protects discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  As a designer, I follow ADA standards for Accessible Design, meaning I create public spaces that follow standards allowing for all individuals, no matter their level of ability, to be able to comfortably and safely use a space.  Elements such as ramps, larger restroom stalls, wider aisles and accessible seating are all part of ADA design standards.

What caught my eye about the article from RD+D was the fact that establishments are becoming ADA compliant not only for business reasons, but because it is a moral responsibility. Check out the entire article here:  It does a much better job spouting off regulation years and remembering the difference between swing in and clearance out…which to me, sound like the same thing.

Color Boards 101

Simply put, color boards are the adult version of science fair projects. Instead of huge, tri-fold displays on how different fertilizers affect corn production or the life span of a typical house fly, color boards are windows into the creativity of a designer. They help confirm your ingenuity and talents and show that your design education was actually put to good use. After all, you did learn how to NOT eat the glue – but actually use it – and to cut out squares with those dull, left-handed scissors. Oh, the things you learn in kindergarten…

Here’s how a design board works: find something that inspires you and work around it. A piece of fabric or carpet typically work well, but in some cases you find yourself working with existing artwork, a chandelier that reminds you of your Grandma or a 13-foot replica of the statue of Buddha. In that case, you need to use all of your creative juices to make it flow. Once you have your muse, the rest will usually fall into place. Pages upon pages of light fixtures, coordinating bar stools and parades of paint chips will be scattered across the table; while it may look like the bedroom of a 5 year old to passersby, to you it makes perfect sense. Your job as a designer is to “make it work” (in the words of fashion advisor Tim Gunn, for those avid fans of Project Runway).

Now for the easy stuff: cutting, gluing, trimming, arranging, cursing, sweating, re-arranging and more re-arranging. Make sure your picture edges are neatly trimmed, and that you’ve wiped away any hot glue strings that seem to stick like cobwebs to EVERYTHING. Did I mention re-arranging? Getting the right balance of negative space between images is key to a successful color board and it’s much easier to obtain that balance when things aren’t glued down. You usually have about 45 seconds before the glue is really affixed to the board. Any longer than that and you’ll need a new board.. and maybe a cocktail.

That’s it! You’re done! Stand back and marvel in your accomplishments. Make sure to unplug the hot glue gun and put Band-Aids on those paper cuts; you’ve earned them. I realize this isn’t the only way to put a color board together and each designer will have a different method to their madness. As of late I’ve done quite a few “digital” color boards, which has an entirely different set of rules and is often less messy (although no less complicated). I’ll save Digital Color Boards 101 for another time.

Remodeling a Classic

Changing a classic bar into a sleek & modern bar while keeping the integrity of the classic space – A change such as this poses many challenges. Having recently remodeled CI Shenanigans on Ruston Way in Tacoma, WA. this classic ‘good ‘ol boys’ bar had stood the test of time for many years, but the owner wanted something fresh and new to draw in a younger crowd. While we retained many of the existing design elements of the space, we were able to incorporate these elements and transform it into a sleek and modern atmosphere.

The new and more modern bar now has back lit glass columns & glowing frosted resin shelving that provide the appearance of liquor bottles suspended or floating off the wall. Barstools were replaced with a comfortable modern seat and the bar top was brightened up with a clean white granite top with a hard edge to continue the modern feel.  New floor tile in addition to the updated lighting changed the space in order to create an appeal to cater to a younger generation, but yet leave elements of the classic feel that the restaurant is known for.

Check out the time lapse video of the transformation:

Rebranded for Success

Who doesn’t love a lodge style bar?

My fellow co-worker and I were contacted by a restaurant group/partnership that has multiple locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. They were having trouble with their image as it had not been updated for over a decade and was beginning to look tired. It was time reposition themselves with an upgrade to their appearance and an update to their customer’s dining experience.

The partners got together and agreed that they wanted to go with the look and feel of a lodge-like ranch combination that would help reinforce their steakhouse menu.

They asked us to pull together our ideas, so I transformed their old and dated look to a more appealing and rustic feeling steakhouse. Using materials such as river rock, vinyl leatherette, cow print vinyl in the bar, antler lighting, and a custom yoke style booth back design with exposed and weathered rivets, we were able to give them the style and appearance they were looking for.

To further brand the facility, we also suggested that they change rebrand themselves with an updated logo. Once their logo was redesigned, we asked Specialty Wood Manufacturing to help in creating new digitally printed table tops, which have the appearance of real wood without the expense. The tabletops turned out gorgeous and incorporate the logo of the restaurant without the increased cost of custom inlays. Plus the customers are presented with the restaurant’s logo outside of the menu and printed materials which further reinforces the establishment’s brand.

The wood and leatherette give the dining room a warm ranch feeling.

The restaurant has been open for a several months and their customers have commented on how much they love the new look. Even more importantly, the owners love us for helping them create the perfect dining environment. We have gained their confidence and we are on to our second branding’ exercise for a new concept and remodel.

Time for a Change

A decade of heavy use will cause the best materials to fail.

Seven years ago we did a small renovation for a local, well known establishment with a long history. Being a high use, well-oiled restaurant not to mention a local land mark, it’s time for another face lift. This particular face lift will be a much more extensive overhaul of the interior finishes and will include major kitchen upgrades. After seven years, the materials are just now starting to show their age through their wear patterns. The carpet has been particularly abused and is well worn in heavy trafficked areas. Their tabletop laminate has also been worn to it’s core and is in need of an update. Plus, trends and colors have changed over the years and seven years seems to be that sweet spot when an establishment should seriously consider an update before it begins to look dated and worn out.

When we design a new restaurant we always take the customer’s best interest to heart. We don’t use anything less than the best most durable finishes for commercial applications. The owner has specifically requested materials that will last another seven years without showing the wear patterns that are happening to some of the materials now. Since this location carries much history, this time around we are choosing an even more durable approach. In order to create further longevity, we are looking at stained concrete floors as opposed to carpet and hand holds on the back of the chairs to minimize the wear and tear of the chair back material.

As a designer we have access to hundreds of highly durable materials along with years of experience that will help give your facility the to stand the test of time. Keep an eye out for new and exciting things to come for this local landmark.

Everything but the Bathroom Sink

I lied, we did include the bathroom sink.

Lavatory. Washroom. Loo. The restroom is just as important to a restaurant as the kitchen and dining room, yet is often an afterthought when it comes to its design. I came across an article about restrooms and honestly found it more interesting than my iPad. No doubt this was written with a female perspective, which may be why I appreciated the bullet points. What follows are a list of components for successful restroom design, and can account for repeat business.

Well lit restrooms: No flood lights necessary here, but something to make us look non-ghoulish when checking ourselves out in the mirror. We have all done it, don’t deny it. We want our guacamole to be green, not our complexion.

Women’s restroom should be larger than the men’s: This is a no brainer. You could also say “duh”. The fact that we women travel to the bathroom in packs is enough to justify a larger space for us all to convene.

Ventilation: Need I say more? I’ll take the intense smell of limburger cheese over the smells that come of some restrooms. Period. (Insert gagging noise here).

Commode Style: Who knew there were various styles of toilets, other than white, off-white and bone-white? Thinking of commodes as a piece of furniture may take time, soon we may all see an IKEA-ish style catalog full of porcelain seat choices.

Hand washing area: Deeper sinks and longer faucets are the key here, to avoid splashing and creating an awkward water spot on the front of your chinos. The trend is headed towards hands-free everything. Now if only we could open the door hands-free…

As a new mother, I have a different perspective on the cleanliness and layout of restrooms and will get a bit giddy when I see the beige, floating cot that people call “changing stations” (you want me to lay my kid where?). My son doesn’t appreciate the subway tiles on the wall or the color of the soap dispenser, but at least he lets me “ooh” and “ahh” while freshening him up.