Hi and welcome to the creative mind of Brooklyn-based interior design firm, Ishka Designs.
This blog allows you to peek behind the scenes of our design process; see the images, products, and events that inspire and motivate us. We are happily biased towards interior design topics with a sustainable undertone. With our international backgrounds, we definitely embrace a global perspective and influence. We hope you are inspired and sometimes provoked by our postings and we look forward to reading and responding to your comments!

One love, idi

7.09.2012

Introducing Elberta Part 2

We completely redesigned and installed a new façade for the restaurant.  The header of the new skinny metal "barely-there" frame (built by Lennox Ironworks) provides a strong contrast to the new name and logo finished in stainless steel.  It also conceals the security gate which was a major eyesore before.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The façade BEFORE.  The old wooden structure was taken off-site and upcycled by Eddie's Ft. Greene salvage company located at Greene and Grand Ave's. 
Although only a few days have passed since our first post on Elberta Restaurant, this project took about 4 months to complete counting from the day we signed the contract up until the last construction day.  For the clients, a bit longer on the back- and front-end.  Construction itself took 3 months, delayed by crazy spring weather (impacting façade and sidewalk installation), site issues, product delays, etc.  But nothing before it's time eh?  Seriously.  Elberta's very first up and running event (friends and family) was held on the owners' anniversary, which is very symbolic as their wedding reception was held in this very same space under the previous banner a few years ago.  How's that for timing?
The lighting design plays a very important role in setting the mood of Elberta particularly for the dinner crowd.  We aim to capture the essence of that beautiful time of day just leading into dusk by using a sprinkling of warm edison bulbs throughout.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  The afternoon light was decent in the old café but there was a ridiculous glare at a certain hour that we mitigated by tinting the exterior glass on the new façade. 
So here we are.  A few days into the opening of Elberta Restaurant.  She has finally exposed her multi-layered personality.  From the strong-willed temperament that is reflected in the newly designed steely exterior to the soft feminine wiles that is the more intimate back section of the restaurant.  Since we laid the ground work on how we got here in PART 1 of this post, let's take a look at the embodiment of Elberta's physical persona:
Clockwise from Top Left: 1. Material palette; 2. Bathroom walls painted black (a very specific black to match the floor tile) and covered in various vintage frames; 3. Wallpaper being hung by our favourite hanger Chris; 4. We painted white the exposed brick, beams, etc in the dining area to match both wallpapers; 5. A tone on tone textured wallpaper goes up by the bar and 6. Up-close of installed bar top.
Design - Ishka Designs
The material selection came together beautifully once the main element was determined: the bar top.  Fated to be built out of a gorgeous green material made from sorghum stalks, this resilient and beautiful plant by-product became the starting point of the entire palette.  With a focus on the 1920's prohibition period, we felt it only right to bring in metals and brass metallics to complement the bar top and to reflect her tough exterior.  To speak to Elberta's sensuality we married these elements with black and white in various textural forms, from wallpaper to hard laminates to the now beautifully painted brick walls in the dining area and bathroom.  In addition, darkly stained bamboo floors were installed.  Once we peeled back the tough layers, her softer feminine side is reflected in the vibrant floral wallpaper as well as in the beautiful frame details in the more intimate areas of the restaurant.  Overall, we believe we've successfully created a sophisticated environment, from the completely open storefront re-design right through to the black bathroom in the back.  Whether from the images, or your own intimate experience with Elberta, we hope you share our sentiments too.

And here she is, BEFORE & AFTER.  Interior and façade designed by Ishka Designs, captured by our Niya Bascom with styling assistance by Sana Keefer...
BEFORE.  Despite the yellow walls, the old café bar and cash-wrap felt heavy with the dark stained wood and wainscotting.  We kept the TV for the new bar patrons but neatly tucked it away so as to minimize the disturbance to dining patrons.
AFTER.  The brass faced cabinets help to create that early evening glow.  An aside: the bar-front material never turned up so we had to go with plan B, which worked out pretty well to say the least.  The white back wall here is the white textured wallpaper above.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The daylighting in the restaurant is amazing thanks to the new façade.  To help reflect the light further, we used a subtly antiqued mirror for the bar back.  All told, we employed quite a bit of subtlety throughout this design.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Thin metal shelves with cove lighting were installed in the bar area below the antique brass faced cabinets.  Subtle lighting under the bar picks up the glass details nicely.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The kitchen walls when examined up close have a linear textured finish running in alternating directions.  When you visit her, be sure to check it out.  Btw, some of the black squares are actually cupboards.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  While we have an eclectic sensibility, the mix and match furniture in the old café just didn't work. Not to mention the unflattering light fixtures.
AFTER. Elberta now feels open and bright.  The kitchen, partially exposed, has excellent ventilation.  You are not overwhelmed with cooking smells, though that couldn't hurt :)
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Though singularly subtle, we stocked up on these multiple light fixtures to create a romantic feel.  The tables were custom built using marine grade plywood topped with a black laminate surface.  Just love how the lines on the plywood play off the bar top.  Details can be seen on our website.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
As you can tell, we really love the light fixtures.  Could not be more happy with this made in the USA product. The brass and black housing with brass coloured cords were the right touches for the space.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  The café was a haven for those who would rather work in a quiet environment away from home.  Fortunately for these folks a really cool looking café has opened up a few blocks down the road.
AFTER. It is the expectation that the restaurant's new found cohesiveness, once viewed from the street, will attract a wider audience for dinner and brunch.  This long view emphasizes the exposed beams and brick walls leading to the pretty focal wall at back.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The detailing on the kitchen wall/storage unit is pretty cool.  Antique brass nailheads and laminates, black textures and the bar top material give it a nice depth.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
We can now see upclose the softer side of Elberta towards the back...
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
One of our favourite perspectives in the space.  Very happy with how the textures, patterns and palette came together.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Yes, there is a chimney and pseudo fireplace.  Very typical of Brooklyn brownstones.  And for those of you who were originally asking, you finally get to see what we did with those vintage frames.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The remaining images can be found HERE on our website.  Feel free to leave comments below if you have any :)  And yes, Elberta is open to the public...go eat Southern cuisine and support this amazing couple!  Elberta restaurant is located at 335 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn between Prosect Place and Park Place.

One,
idi

25 comments:

  1. Lovely!! You did AMAZING work!!
    Funny thing, we had brunch with another family yesterday. We tried to eat at elberta, but they don't open for brunch until later this month...anyway we chose elberta because our friend is friends with the owners of elberta and wanted us to try...I didn't make the connection until just now. :)

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  2. Anishka!!!

    You are incredible! I absolutely love your project. It looks spectacular. Wishing you all the best for your future projects. You are the best!! Keep up the good work.

    Sincerely,
    Roxene

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    1. Thanks sooooo much for the awesome words Roxene!!! Hugs. Niya and I put a ton of heart into this project and I am so glad it shows :)

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  3. Outstanding work again people! As an art photographer trust me, you're probably the only designer I follow and I always get so much out of these posts! LOL

    I have to make note of three things I just LOVE-VUH!!!!

    -You painted the brick wall. YOU GO GIRL!!! People always want to save the red brick - a choice which dominates EVERY decision after that about a space. (Maybe not in design world - I dunno..) To me this makes you so outside of the box, freethinking, and brave - and look how clean and sophisticated that choice turned out to be!

    -The colour palette makes it look like Golden Hour in here - the daily dusk gift from the heavens. We will all look beee-yoo-tiful in here! (I'm not alone in this - countless shooters live for this light...right NIYA?!! lol)

    -Those empty frames!! It's a perfect combination of antiquity and contemporary funk!
    Hugely proud and excited for you, the owners, and to get my butt to BK to see this in person.

    Big Congrats

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    1. B, you are such an artist! A really intuitive artist I might add. You touched on so many crucial points here - things we think make this project a huge success in our books. You are so spot on with your interpretation...you might have to come work with us one day :)

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    2. Dang it - I just wrote poetry and lost it! lol

      Okay -
      1st: really??? I'm dying to hear the tales behind those 'crucial points'!!

      2nd:
      really??? work with you??? don't excite me like that! lol it would be just wonderful to work together again
      in our new incarnations dear dancer! ;p

      3rd:
      YOU guys are such artists - i would be happy to just WATCH your process. Speaking of which, I don't think
      i've ever told you this but the fact that you share just that...the Process...inspires and stuns me every time you
      do it. I know it's the way in fine and design arts - but that you do it is never lost on me in the deepest of
      ways. much to share on that point - as i'm now working on a project ABOUT 'Process' - heehee

      Thanks again for sharing this - you make all proud. IDI to di whirl!! (and so darn fast too! dang!)
      xo

      sorry for the epistle...again...

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  4. Hey Guys,
    Thanks again for bringing us on the team. You guys are great to work with. So creative, so professional and so fun.
    Jerome,
    The Blue Griffin

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  5. OMG! as I said you before Erwin and I are so excited about what you guys did to this place thanks to the entire team Jerome for the lazy E logo, Chris for seamless wallpapering, Lennox for great iron work and of course to you and Niya for the design and so much more...Flatbush never looked so good! Peace

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    1. It was definitely a pleasure to guide your transformation!!! Can't wait for Elberta 2...concept formulating as I type :)

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  6. Donna Millings7/9/12, 12:22 PM

    Great job as always..Cant wait to see pictures of your next project!

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  7. Really awesome makeover Anishka!

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  8. love it!! Love that wall paper so much too

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  9. Congrats; ready for the next or need a breather

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  10. Anishka,

    We haven't had the occasion to meet but I've heard amazing things about you and your work through Alvin (and Errol). Errol sent us the links to the Elberta makeover. I was already a fan by viewing your website but I am now convinced Alvin and I should work with you in designing our future home! As a Clinton Hill resident, I am familiar with the old Velvet Peach Cafe and impressed by its transformation into Elberta! Elegance and grace. Simply put. Congratulations on a beautiful project!

    Look forward to meeting you soon,

    Adeola

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    1. Adeola, what a fantastic thing to say! We definitely look forward to working with you on your new home.

      Best,
      anishka & niya

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  11. amazing work, in love...
    Probably wouldn't have noticed velvet peach cafe, but Elberta I want to visit like right now.

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  12. WOWSERS! That is a beautiful looking space - love the use of gold, black, white & wood > D I V I N E. Excellent work, Anishka!

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    1. Always great when superbly talented designers appreciate our work! Thanks a mill Heather :)

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  13. Loving the floors, bar stools, wall design, exposed kitched area, light fixtures,etc. Woderful job ishka designs! Cant wait to view this place in person. I may be headed there this evening. -marisa/brooklyn

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  14. Wow! Your baby has been revealed..It must feel amazing! Lovely! I'm putting it out to the Universe for you.."You will do more, and more, and more restaurants and related projects" Great Job!

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  15. Gorgeous work. The new space is modern and inviting.

    The lighting fixtures are stunning.

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  16. Such amazing work my Jamaican sister! Faves - lighting, wallpaper, kitchen wall/storage unit and counter tops. So happy to have stumbled across your blog today via HauteZone. Congrats too on all the major milestones. Looking forward to swinging by this new restaurant when next I'm in Brooklyn and spreading the word with all my Brooklyn peeps. Be blessed

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much lady! Niya and I are working hard. Glad it shows :)

      anishka

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