Designer Barbara Balongue specializes in hospitality design — restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels. We loved chatting with her about the intricacies of restaurant design, how it impacts our dining experience, and everything those goes into building out a gorgeous venue. She blew our minds with all of the details we’ve never even thought about!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode The challenges with restaurant design Why you can take a bigger risk in restaurant design than you might at home Why booths are great and why they’re great to use in residential spaces as well The science and psychology of restaurant design We talk about restaurants that haven’t used designers and a client of Barbara’s who was blown away by how interior design changed his bottom line New trends in restaurant design How Barbara chooses color in her projects Restaurant noise — how to combat it and why its an after thought Why people covet the ‘hotel feel’ when they’re designing their own homes Bathroom lighting and everything you need in your guest room


Decorating Dilemmas:
Hello Ladies –

Greetings from Washington State. I’ve become an avid listener of the podcast – it’s been so valuable in helping me see my spaces in a fresh way. My husband and I built our home about 10 years ago; a craftsman-inspired design that we enjoy every day. However, I still suffer from analysis paralysis when it comes to making design decisions, especially in the part of our house we call the ‘big room’.

The ‘big room’ includes dining, a larger living space and a fireplace nook area. I love the potential of this room but we do not use it except for hosting large gatherings a few times a year. I’m overwhelmed to make decisions due to (what I now know from the podcast) is the scale of furniture and accessories required to fill this space. I’ve stuck with the little things, like buffet lamps, because they seem safe -but when I bring them home, they look like something that belongs in Barbie’s Dream house. I get frustrated and ignore the room for another few months.

Here’s the skinny:
My goal is for us to use this space more frequently. It’s an inviting room -great windows and light, cozy reading not to mention a dining room – but because it doesn’t function well, we just avoid it. I am drawn to clean traditional lines and love my couches and wing chairs (although I want to change fabric); however, the room feels more formal than I would like. I do play the piano but it looks sad on that very large wall; it does not fit anywhere else and to protect it, I don’t want to put it in front of the windows; I am willing to relocate it to another room I’d like to create 3 spaces that are separate but yet work well together; I like furniture pieces like can play dual roles when possible
Questions…so many questions:
Big wall: HELP! Artwork? built-ins? could I do a different furniture layout that would help minimize the size of this wall Dining room: I need new chairs – I like the clean lines of a parson style chair – need options that can hold their own in this room Creating an inviting room: What can I do?
I’ve learned from the podcast that I prefer a visually soothing palette with lots of texture / mixed materials and pops of color – drawn to colors of fall – saturated gold, reds, deep orange and even indigo blue.

Whew! it’s a lot I know. Thanks for any and all help you and your guest designer(s) can provide!


Show Notes: Ikea Kitchen Cabinetry — Cabinet, 4 Drawer, 2 Drawer Flatware organizer William McClure’s Instagram Autograph Brasserie
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Happy Decorating!

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