Q+A WITH CO-FOUNDER, Dolores Suarez & Caroline Grant
When we found the storefront for our Bleecker Street location, we knew that the design had to be special and match the lovely building and neighborhood. Enter Dekar Design.
Dekar Design was founded by Dolores Suarez and Caroline Grant with a design philosophy that embraces classical values but isn’t afraid to turn traditionalism on its head. They find inspiration in the architectural bones of a space and create a unique and authentic space around that inspiration.
We sat down with Dolores and Caroline so they could share more about their design approach and what inspired their design of our Bleecker Street location.
by CHLOE: Tell us a little about yourselves.
DEKAR DESIGN: Dekar is a commercial and residential design firm that creates authentic and textured spaces from a residential eye.
bC: How did you get started in restaurant design?
D: When we started our business we were mainly designing residential spaces, so when we began doing restaurants it was important for us to bring our residential eye to more commercial spaces. With every space we design it’s our goal to make people comfortable, like they are dining at home or in someone’s kitchen.
bC: How did you approach the design for by CHLOE.?
D: We knew from the start we wanted a space that felt casual, organic, clean and authentically vegan. We wanted to create a space that was airy and open.
bC: Describe the by CHLOE. décor in 5 sentences or less.
D: by CHLOE. has a comfortable, homey feel. We layered hand painted tiles and vintage hemp fabrics with organic textures to give the space warmth and comfort while maintaining a bright and energetic design. by CHLOE. was meticulously designed with great attention to detail, but still showcases a relaxed and effortless feel.
bC: What has influenced you over the course of this project?
D: We were incredibly conscious of using only natural, non-animal derived materials for by CHLOE. We used rediscovered recycled timber for the tabletops and substituted wool with hemp for the fabrics.
bC: How does the by CHLOE. design stand out in the market place? What differentiates by CHLOE. from other QSRs?
D: We cannot think of another fast casual restaurant (a vegan one, at that!) where we would enjoy sitting down and having dinner or lunch with friends. by CHLOE. Offers so many options – brunch, cocktails, grab and go – we were inspired to create a space where people would want to stay for their meal instead of rush out once their food is ready.
bC: With by CHLOE. being your first QSR restaurant, what have been some challenges you have faced?
D: The most challenging yet interesting aspect of this project was the need to use all natural, vegan fabrics and materials. We ended up learning a lot about the vegan lifestyle and greener options to decorating—the challenge was undoubtedly rewarding and educational. It was also challenging designing a layout for by CHLOE that would handle the fast pace of the restaurant and make sure it could handle the flow of people walking in and out.
bC: How do you see by CHLOE. restaurant design becoming an integral part of the brand?
D: by CHLOE. as a whole makes people feel comfortable and creates an irresistible energy people want to take part in. The various layers of lights add additional warmth and separates the lofty space into smaller dining areas.
bC: Any tips & tricks of the trade you can share?
D: It’s all in the details!
bC: Do you have a favorite item on the menu?
D: The classic veggie burger and the espresso cookie!
bC: How has working on this project influenced the way you view vegan food? Has vegan/plant based living become a part of your lifestyle?
D: We have come to really love vegan food! It’s delicious and satisfying and makes you feel great afterwards. It’s tasty and healthy—win win!
bC: Any new and exciting projects on the horizon?
D: We’re working on a French restaurant and bakery project in Houston, TX and a classic French bistro restaurant in NYC.
bC: Lastly, what does “Eat Well. Eat with Purpose.” mean to you?
D: Be good to yourself everyday!
*Photos: courtesy of DEKAR DESIGN + MIKEY POZARIK