Most of the time, we reserve our Wanderlust posts for places we’d like to visit, rather than places we’ve actually been, but today is an exception because in my own little corner of the Pacific Northwest is a place that you all should be putting on your own destination list: Bar Melusine.
One of the more recent restaurants from Sea Creatures, this space was founded by well-known Seattle Chef Renee Erickson and business partner (and the designer behind these gorgeous spaces) Jeremy Price. We caught up with Jeremy to get the scoop on the design of Bar Melusine’s cheerful decor…
CK: What was the starting point for the design concept, and where did you get the idea to use that gorgeous aqua!
Jeremy: As with all of our spaces, we wanted to land somewhere that was current and classic at the same time. Our hope is to design spaces that feel as fresh in 5 or 10 years as they do when they are first opened. Renee and I decided on the material and color palette pretty early on (we had been talking about a “green” restaurant for a few years). Green, brass, walnut, and white feels fresh and timeless to us.
CK: I love how colorful this space is compared to many of Seattle’s more muted palettes. Were you excited or afraid to go bold here, and do you think we’ll see more color from Sea Creatures in the future?
Jeremy: Excited! We always bring in shocks of bright, saturated color–the yellow and teal at Walrus, the seafoam green and black-navy at The Whale Wins, the rich, purple-y blue and copper at Barnacle, the magenta and turquoise at Porpoise–and we will continue to do so. Using a background of “Jeffry White” (Sea Creatures’ warm white paint, color matched to Renee’s dog, and used in all of our spaces), gives us lots of freedom to add bright colored furniture, art or fixtures in the foreground. We’ve always felt that Seattle, for the better part of the year, has muted, dark, gray, heavy colors covered. Our spaces are intentionally light and bright.
CK: Our ‘motto’ here at coco kelley is ‘Life is in the details. Style accordingly’. What are some of the details in this space that you love the most?
Jeremy: 1. Decorative Metal: We love the brass used throughout the spaces–particularly the brass table and wall light fixtures. These are our own design, fabricated by our friend Chris Freed. He even worked with us to create a brass chalk wand for crossing out the cuts of meat sold off of the Bateau (the connected restaurant) chalk board. 2. Flooring: The tile floor in Melusine. It is so rich and gorgeous in all its variation. We love how it’s wearing and breaking in. It is just beautiful. The tiles are handmade in Morocco, and are surprisingly economical. We actually used tiles from the same maker in Barnacle.
CK: What’s the most challenging thing about designing for restaurant spaces? The best thing?
Jeremy: Restaurants at once must be functional and beautiful. Often these two aims are at odds with one another. What is comfortable for guests may be tough for servers and bartenders to move around in. What is efficient for the kitchen might produce unattractive sight lines or be too loud for guests. What is lovely may be a bear to clean and maintain. The challenge is to arrive at a design that reconciles all these tensions. Figuring this all out is also the best thing!
Bar Melusine is quite possibly the happiest interior in Seattle, so whenever I’m in need of a pick me up (literally, as the last time I was there I was greeted with a hug that swept me off my feet!) I head to this fabulous place. It is located on Capitol Hill at 1060 E. Union St – please visit their website for more information!