When we first were introduced to this project, we walked into a space that had once been a nightclub but had sat abandoned for years. We did our best to look past the layers upon layers of black paint, the cracked mirror walls, the narrow corridors and the corrugated plastic canopy. We saw a glimmer of potential for what this space could become but we did not yet envision the magical urban oasis that would be revealed after months of the design/build process by shaping, refining and discovering.
This architectural renovation was a collaboration between Vanessa Till Hooper and her brother, reclaimed and faux specialist, Jake Hooper.
Madera is the word for wood in Spanish, so the first thing we did was to bring in a wide variety of reclaimed wood, from the striking canopy wood ceiling, that brings warmth to the great dining hall, to the wide-planked wood walkway and entry steps, to the giant pergola beams and the hanging vintage wood chandelier. Wood is a primary point of focus as you stem through the custom fabricated metal gates into the lush patio garden.
This project required large structural changes tying the exterior facade to the main building facade by means of a large-timber pergola canopy. The entire interior was stripped to its bare bones, and the exterior facade was upgraded with a row of custom metal landscape windows.
The exterior facade visually floats above a garden of succulents and the main stairs of reclaimed wood divide the two fenestrated facade walls leading through the patio into the dining area. Custom bent steel bar stools line the large wrapped bar, featuring Spanish style concrete tiles with a row of cube cluster custom pendant fixtures. The dining room features a large wrapping mustard yellow built-in banquette as an homage to the Barcelona roots. On the patio a vintage leather chaise sits in front of the wood burning fireplace connecting the outdoor bar /lounge with the patio dining area. The outdoor patio features two large olive trees, a custom mural by a local artist, and cascades of hanging succulents and rare ferns, transforming the concrete patio into an urban oasis both day and night.
Inspired by 19th century greenhouses and Spanish hacienda courtyards, our goal was to strike a balance between old and new. Between natural beauty and industrial chic, we revealed the magic of bringing together refined vintage elements with rough reclaimed wood.
CK Pearl resides in a rambling structure along the little causeway. It is perfectly situated above the Essex River among the estuaries and marshlands surrounding the water. The location and the look of the exterior give the place an initial feel of being an old-fashioned seafood shack, but once guests enter they realize that CK Pearl is indeed a hidden treasure.
When we were approached by chef Patrick Shea to design his first restaurant, we knew that the most important goal in this interior design project would be to preserve the eclectic history of mariners, while bringing a contemporary chic and refined aesthetic to this jewel of downtown Essex.
We started by dividing the restaurant into three zones; the bar, the dining room, and a third zone that is a hybrid between the two, with hightop shared tables. We added reclaimed wood from local derelict structures as well as a black and white mural depicting the history of the boat builders of the area. We also added a hand traced white on indigo “blueprint” of a sailing ship above the bar. We then brought in a bold splash of color with a bright yellow counter and bar stools that bring in an eclectic twist that ties it all together in a fresh and lasting aesthetic.