This is a post about design. It’s also a post about family. About hopes. And about helping others. Specifically you, my dear readers, potentially choosing to help my family today… so indulge me for a minute while I tell you a little story about a restaurant named Tinello.

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_1

Over a year ago, we found the perfect spot for my dad to open his new restaurant. I was thrilled with the location – Pioneer Square – because it’s a beautiful, historical neighborhood in Seattle that is currently going through a revitalization that is much needed. The energy down there is amazing – our offices as well as my new loft are also in this neighborhood. Needless to say, I’m smitten.

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_2

So, anyways, the spot was found. The lease was signed. The design began. And then… a few things happened. My dad’s business partner turned out to be a not-so-great business partner, and we had to buy him out. (That is a whole other story in itself.) We managed to find private investor (my hero!) to help us manage this burden a bit, and opened the restaurant to the public in May.

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_3


My dad had asked me to help with the design, so together with b9 architects, I helped select the materials and source some of my favorite items, my favorite of which are the lighting fixtures that were generously provided by Barn Light Electric.


Their quality and the craftsmanship is above and beyond. Plus, I loved their selection of colors. I used the more vintage blue as a nod to the nautical roots of the neighborhood, and we did a mix of old and new materials. The result was a clean, inviting space perfect for lunch and dinner – and ready to be built upon for years to come.

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_6

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_4

Our launch went well, and things were slowly coming along and growing again when a few months later, we received a letter from an Il Tinello in NYC that delivered a cease and desist on using a name so similar to the one that they had trademarked. If you’re in the restaurant business you know how ridiculous this is, but having no money to fight them in court, we are now having to change the name and totally rebrand. Which, of course, costs money.

On top of this, we have been wanting to finish off the bar area (there are updates that need to me made in order for us to get our liquor license), add a Seattle-worthy espresso machine, and built out a small front patio for summer dining.

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_8

tinello seattle design by cassandra lavalle and b9 architects_5

Restaurants take years to really start make money. Tomorrow my dad turns 67. In a few more years, he should be taking a back seat at the restaurant. He has been in this industry his whole life, and we know we have what it takes to make this place a success. So, we did what we needed to do in order to finance these goals and dreams. We started a Kickstarter campaign!

Our hope is to raise at least 15k in 30 days. We’ve already been up and running for one week and have raised 10k! You guys, we are almost there. Heck, with your help, we could finish this campaign off today! I have over twenty thousand readers. If only half of you donated a small amount, we’d still get beyond our goal. Every little bit counts – and gives us so much in return.  A gift at any level is appreciated, as are tweets and facebook posts to help us spread the word!

I rarely, if ever, ask my readers for much, and this would mean the world not only to me but to my family. This restaurant is my parent’s retirement plan. Without its success, there will be many more years of struggle to come. This Kickstarter campaign – small as it is – will be enough to get us to the next level with the restaurant so that we can ensure we are doing everything we can to make it a successful part of the vibrant Pioneer Square neighborhood and the ever-growing Seattle food scene.

the lavalle famiglia

This photo was taking at the closing day of my dad’s last restaurant. Since then we’ve faced a lot of challenges, but are looking forward for this restaurant to be another staple in the Seattle community! Your support means the world to me, and my family. So, from all of us – thank you for whatever you can do.

// photography by belathée


  1. jane

    It’s not much, but I’m happy to help as I’ve been following your blog for over a year now daily and it’s been a great start to my work day.

  2. Lesley Metcalfe

    Hi Cassandra, it’s my pleasure to make a small donation to your father’s campaign. I’ve never left a comment here before, but know that I enjoy reading your blog everyday. I wish you and your family success – I have no doubt that your supportive readers will quickly bring you to your fundraising goal. If I’m ever in Seattle I’ll be sure to stop by your father’s restaurant.

    -Lesley Metcalfe (from Toronto, Canada)

    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      Lesley, thank you SO so much for your kind words, and generosity! It’s people like you that help make this blog community the best it can be! My father is originally from Toronto, so that makes the connection even more meaningful!! Sending you big hugs and thanks!! xo, cassandra

  3. Mollie in Seattle

    I had the chance to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends at Tinello to celebrate my sister’s birthday recently. Everything from the delicious food to the enchanting atmosphere made for a memorable evening for us. I’ll definitely be back to Tinello very soon!

  4. A. Carolin

    Dear Cassandra,
    I wish your family all the best and hope you guys meet your goal fast! I wasn’t able to contribute a ton, but like you said, every little bit can help! I felt it was the least I could do for all the inspiration you have provided me over the years with your amazing blog! Other readers, please help out with what you can! The restaurant looks delicious and I will eagerly visit if I’m ever in Seattle!

  5. Celeste M

    It’s my pleasure to help your family in any way I can. I’ll check back in a few days and will be happy to give again if your goal isn’t reached. I’m in NJ but if I’m ever in Seattle, I’ll be sure to visit! Good luck!!

  6. Arianna Belle

    Hi Cassie! Sorry to hear about the obstacles. I just submitted my donation. I love seeing family restaurants like your dad’s. You’ve done a beautiful job with the design. Hope to visit it one day if I’m ever in Seattle 🙂

  7. Bee

    Oh Cassandra. So sorry to learn about this bump in the road of your family’s restaurant. I will definitely be helping out. Good luck with the campaign and the rebranding! Please let me know if you need anything.

  8. Rose Angel

    Your story really touched by heart and I wish you and your family much success. I was happy to make a contribution and I hope you reach your goal! Next time I’m visiting Seattle, I will be sure to visit your father’s restaurant! Best of luck to you and your family.

  9. Sofia Falcão Garcia

    Hi Cassandra:)
    Despite being on the other side of the ocean, in Portugal I follow your blog almost every day and I love it.
    My dad is one of the most important people in my life as the family must be and this being the first time I make a comment could not fail to support the way that I can, with my words of appreciation and admiration!!
    I’m sure with such dedication and perseverance all it’s going to be for the best!
    Wish your biggest success in the near future!
    The restaurant is awesome!
    I’ve never been to Seattle but if I ever get back to the States I will certainly visit you!

  10. Vanessa Cole

    Dear Cassandra,

    Your post about your family’s restaurant is so lovely, it compelled me to comment. This is the first comment I’ve made on any blog, ever, if you can believe that! I am a mother of two beautiful children, and married to a truly wonderful man. We live in Los Angeles, where I am currently beginning the baby steps back into the work world… a world that has changed so much since eight years ago when I left it to have and raise my 7 and 3 year olds. Your blog, your story and you are inspirational to this interior designer, writer, mother, wife, sister, friend, soon to be blogger! Hello to the new world! 🙂 Best Wishes to you and your family… your restaurant is lovely and perfect, I’m sure it will be prosperous!
    Warm Regards, Vanessa Cole

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  12. Kelly Kole

    Cassandra – what a beautiful, personal story. The challenges this restaurant has faced seem very undeserved and incredibly frustrating! I will share your story like a maniac on social media:) Big prayers and hugs and hopes for prosperity!

  13. Zuniga Interiors


    It is difficult to share stories so personal with readers. Thank you for sharing your story, it was so very touching. It’s so difficult to work so hard and have it ripped right out from under us, we’ve been there too. We will visit the kickstart site. Our prayers are with you and your family. What a fabulous restaurant! We will definitely visit on our next trip to Seattle!

    All the best,

    Michelle Zuniga and the Zuniga Interiors team

  14. Jessica

    All the best for the future of your dad’s restaurant – I think it looks beautiful and the food looks delicious! If i’m ever in Seattle I’ll be sure to pop on over to Pioneer Sq. Jessica from Liverpool, England xx

  15. annie diamond

    A beautiful family and a beautiful restaurant…wish I could drop by for lunch. On my list next time I’m in Seattle. I’ve just pinned several of these gorgeous images and made a small donation on Kickstarter. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  16. Lisa Mende Design

    Cassandra, It looks like you met your goal but I wanted to donate anyway! I admire families that support one another! I couldn’t figure out how to donate and not receive the gifts, please don’t feel you need to send me anything. Just happy to be part of such a beautiful business!!! Good Luck and God Bless your family! Hope to see you in High Point!

  17. Kelly Shannon

    Hello Cassandra – as a daily reader of your blog, I am happy to be a part of the kickstarter campaign for your family’s restaurant. You did an amazing job on the design. I will plan to visit next time in Seattle! Best of luck to you and your family.

  18. Taylor Jayne

    Hi Cassandra. I have never left a comment on any blog before, but this post just really pulled me in. I have been following your site for years, and as a recent new blogger, I feel lucky to be able to pull inspiration from your amazing posts. Family is so important, and yours seems truly amazing. I am so happy to be donating to your father’s restaurant, and I will absolutely visit if I ever make it to Seattle. Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt post. Best to you and your sweet family.


  19. Rebecca

    I love that your parents are also in the restaurant business! I can relate so much with what you’re writing about and really want to see this succeed! I just popped over to donate and which I could do more, but I hope even the little bits helps get you to the new goal!

  20. Monica

    You know what’s crazy? You should never feel like asking for help to achieve a dream is too much to ask – I only donated the cost of a cup of coffee, but I did it because I believe that that’s what communities are for . . . to help people reach their dreams, supporting and giving to each other along the way. Your blog is something I love to read and I don’t pay a dime for it, so heck yes, I’ll donate. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ to you, too.

  21. Denise Thomas

    Came across a beautiful image of the restaurant on Pinterest! Being from Seattle as well, it excites me that Pioneer Square is returning as a place for locals to meet and spend time. It has been too long! Heading to your Kickstarter page now, but just want you to know I look forward to the opening of this gorgeous place. The best of luck to you!

    PS:: I would be happy to include the restaurant in a post within my series All Things Seattle once your doors are open for business.


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