Jeune et Jolie Restaurant
Simplicity makes a statement. Wrapped from counter to ceiling in fresh white thin Brick, Jeune et Jolie restaurant's expansive backsplash offers a timelessly on-trend backdrop for its eclectic decor.
We caught up with the Bells + Whistles Design Team -- Barbara Rourke, Jason St John, and Bailey Lafitte-Chronister to learn more about how this project came together. Keep reading for our full interview!
Meet Bells & Whistles:
Left-Right: Jason St John, Barbara Rourke, Bailey Lafitte-Chronister // Photo: Lily Glass
Tell us about your firm, Bells + Whistles! What types of projects do you work on? Where are you currently based?
Bailey Lafitte-Chronister (BLC): We built our first interiors by hand. With grit, grace, and rebel energy-- we’ve been grinding for 20 years. We grew from a design-build studio to a full-service, boutique interior design firm now executing 10-12 projects per year. Our studio specializes in restaurant design, but our annual project list has expanded to include offices, health and wellness spaces, retail, multi-unit residential, boutique hotels and pop-ups. We are based out of LA.
Fun fact about yourselves?
Jason is colorblind
Barbara has been designing since she was a kid
Bailey is a descendant of the French Pirate, Jean Lafitte
How did you hear about Fireclay Tile?
Barbara Rourke (BR): I think we stumbled upon Fireclay while sourcing for a residential project and just fell in love.
Why do you love tile?
BLC: We love tile for its roots in antiquity and the character it can offer a space.
About Jeune et Jolie -- how did you get involved in this restaurant project?
BR: We worked with the client, John Resnick, on the design for his previous restaurant, Campfire. We’ve known John for years and consider him a great friend and a fantastic client. He’s not afraid to really let us go for it when we design. There’s a lot of mutual trust and respect and each project is always a fun journey.
How involved were your clients in the design/build process?
BR: John had the initial concept of a Southern California French restaurant with a vegetable forward food program. He wanted it to be the feminine “little sister” of his Campfire restaurant. We took that concept and ran with it. He’s a very hands on client, project managing the construction and adding details like all of the art and plateware. He has amazing taste and always adds the perfect finishing touches.
What's important to you when designing commercial spaces?
Jason St John (JSJ): One of the most important parts of our job is to help develop an immersive narrative that informs all decisions for a project. From floor plans to design intent to designing custom furniture, the narrative is what guides us and the team in creating a successful design.
Any special considerations when designing a restaurant?
BR: First and foremost you have to make sure it works operationally speaking- flow is the absolute most important thing. If it doesn’t function it doesn’t matter how good it looks-- it will fail. The next most important thing, aside from the taste of the food, is how the customer feels when they are in the space. The reason people go out to eat is for the experience. You have to create a magical moment for them through layers of food, design, music and service.
Tell us more about the space-- Is there a story behind the project?
JSJ: Jeune et Jolie is named after the owners’ daughters and we knew that at some point the girl’s would probably have their first jobs at their Dads’ restaurants. We wanted to make sure this place was designed from their perspective. Young and beautiful with a rebellious edge.
What did the space look like before?
JSJ: The previous building was a spanish mansford office building being occupied by a karate dojo. We tore off the facade and rebuilt the building in the style you see today.
What type of look or aesthetic were you going for? How did you come up with your color scheme and design?
BLC: The aesthetic inspiration behind Jeune et Jolie was driven by the translation of the restaurant’s name from French: “young and beautiful”
Why did you choose our Lewis Range thin brick in a vertical offset pattern?
BR: Everything in the space was really femme and pretty-- we love that but we wanted to give it some antiquity and grit. We thought the glazed thin brick would be a great opportunity to bring in some texture and age in a SoCal kind of way.
We love the unique grout color in this space!
BLC: We used Laticrete grout because they can match any paint color--and we wanted to add one more layer of design with a bold pink.
What are your top 3 design tips?
Jason St John:
1. We always create a design narrative that helps guide us through the entire design process. If your narrative is clear you always have that as a reference to follow.
2. Do your homework, design is only as good as function and flow. A restaurant is a machine and needs to function beyond looking good.
3. Listen and evolve! Always be open to new ideas and new technologies
1. Collect things from your travels and incorporate them into your design
2. Look to things like fashion and culture to find new avenues of inspiration
3. Always be true to yourself and what you like, your home is a reflection of you
What Fireclay products are you dying to use in future projects?
BR: I am obsessed with the Hunter Green matte tile and I can’t wait for the right project to come along to use it!
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