Industrial Design Comes Home

The Remedy Bar & Lounge

In a visit to The Remedy Bar & Lounge, located in Austin, Texas, the industrial design served as rich fodder in my search for the ultimate home decor.

By Ashley Steel

Austin, Texas is a city so fundamentally cool that some 110 people move here daily. The allure of this city — founded upon the enigmatic, but magnetic motto, “Keep Austin Weird, is cause for the rapid acquisition and growth of such major events as SXSW, Formula 1’s US Grand Prix and the ACL Music Festival. No longer stuck in obscurity, Austin is a destination city. It’s the place people come to be inspired, to see and experience the intangible elements of wonder, surprise, originality and ambiguity — the it pulse of the moment.

And so, Austin seemed like the obvious choice to start my search for home décor inspiration. Not surprisingly, I found what I was looking for in the aptly named Remedy Bar & Lounge, a place where industrial design collided onto the new home landscape and got my design wheels turning. Here’s what I discovered:

The Remedy Bar & Lounge

It does — as any good décor should — draw the visitor in, before revealing itself. A storied wallpaper boldly adheres to the foyer, its golden sheen delightfully attractive as it casts you into the sitting area.

It doesn’t stand on pretense; this is not another touristy gimmick or trendy cottage-turned-bar. It feels a lot like home in the familiar sense and that’s the idea, says owner Claire Bensimon, who wanted to create a space in which people could unwind. But it’s not your “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” level of familiarity, says Bensimon, who wanted to offer a more upscale alternative to sitting in the backyard in your flip-flops. This space excels at the urbane. “I’m a proud Texan” she says, “but when you’re in a city you should … not have to worry about getting mud on your shoes.”

Moving behind the rich, dimpled couches and hand-crank metal tables, the body of the bar recedes into minimalism. Oversized mirrors spark introverted contemplation and a backlit bar highlights the reclaimed wood and copper-colored runner, while casting a charming light through glass containers of fruit infused liquors. Simplistic bar stools of wood and metal stand neatly side by side, beneath the cover of a dramatic vaulted ceiling.

But form never sacrifices for function at the Remedy where mixed materials provide ample visual interest, despite the otherwise slim-profile.  “There isn’t a lot of clutter” says Bensimon. It’s her way of putting people at ease, so they can put their day behind them. “This isn’t a place to come watch TV because we don’t have any!” Bensimon zealously explains. The name Remedy works on a lot of levels, but in one sense, it’s definitely the solution for unplugging and retreating from a hectic, well-lived life.

Though the Remedy’s downtown location comes with old, turn-of-the-century architecture, Bensimon is capitalizing on some new trends, namely, sustainability. “Sustainability is important to me” she says. It helped inform her decision to use natural LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified linoleum surfaces — made from materials like linseed oil, pine resin, wood flour and limestone dust — not to be confused with sheet vinyl. “We also used reclaimed wood where we could,” she says, citing red oak from the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky., and Longleaf pine from an old Texas cotton plantation.

With the help of New York-based architect and designer Larry Bowne, Bensimon was able to articulate her vision for the uniquely Austin space, with a dash of New York sensibility. Together the team’s distinct metropolitan influences created the sophisticated space you see today. “Imagine a pharmacist around 1910 who’s had a bit too much of his own special remedy,” says Bensimon, “He would know he was in the future, but would see some things that would look just familiar enough to make him want to grab a stool and stick around.”

Have you been searching for ways to bring industrial style into your own home? Check out this slideshow with suggestions on how to make industrial design look inviting and chic:

The Remedy Bar & Lounge
The Remedy Bar & Lounge

A classic façade attracts viewers with its staunch minimalism.  Skyward facing lights break with tradition, just a teaser of the visual intrigue inside.

Hook, Line and Sinker
Hook, Line and Sinker

Much like the first sentence of a story, if your foyer doesn’t grab guests, they’re likely to leave. An engaging pattern, and the unusual luster finish of this wallpaper helps the Remedy to make a name for itself in design circles.

But more than being attention-grabbing, this wall paper is personal. Drawing upon the strong local heritage, Bensimon asks, “what says fun and Texas more than buxom women in bikinis with pistols fighting off the cowboys who are chasing them?”

Easy Street
Easy Street

Off the entry way, an elevated sitting area blends an old-fashioned puckered couch with rustic wood table on a metal wheelbase. The accompanying metal stools, though minimalistic, inspire a culture of community and incite casual friendships. Your foyer should act as a receiving area for guests, giving them a place to take a load off their feet, and the opportunity to enjoy good company.

Privacy — Sunny Side Up
Privacy — Sunny Side Up

An alternative to the communal couch, this chair and table set also belong to the front lounge, posted up by the tall sunny windows which Bensimon casts open in good weather. Nothing in the bar is secluded by walls — in the spirit of today’s popular open floor plans — but you can still capture the essence of privacy with your seating arrangements.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Large mirrors can open up a space and cast additional light, as shown here, reflecting light from the contemporary bulbs.The exposed vaulted ceiling also helps amplify the sense of space. A mix of dark and light colored wood gives the space variety, despite its otherwise clean profile. In the back, a giant chalkboard pays homage to Austin’s community of talented artists, enticing guests to be active participants in the space.

An Apple a Day
An Apple a Day

Not unlike a household fruit bowl, lemon and ginger wedges sit suspended in a glass container of vodka, alongside white peach whiskey, and strawberry-jalapeño tequila. The bar’s backlighting provides a soft, almost mystical glow through the jars, demonstrating the effectiveness simple lighting and seasonal produce can lend to a space.

Put it in Perspective
Put it in Perspective

A camera angle captures the glistening reflection off the bar railing, crafted by the extraordinary local artist, Mike Drejza. But this bar, just like your home, is all about perspective. It sees the sun in various stages throughout the day, from a sunny Sunday afternoon, to the muted hues at dusk, and the deep tones of night. It’s important to choose a décor that will look good any way you see it, not just in the right light.

 

Ashley Steel is staff writer/editor for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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