A GREAT DESIGN STORY: We all know the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale about the Ugly Duckling that nobody loves or pays attention to because she is all ‘dirty and brown’…basically no one can see the potential in what she will eventually turn into with care, love and time…the elegant white swan, admired by one and all.
Segue to New York City and the old home of the famous french restaurant, Restaurant Laurant. Located in the lower level of the Lombardy Hotel…which happens to be where I stay when in the city. This once gracious lady, Restaurant Laurant, perhaps one of the top French restaurants in the city back in it’s heyday of the 1970’s & 1980’s, has been sitting untouched and empty for as long as I have stayed at the hotel. Looking like a has-been, totally out of sync with the times and the sleek contemporary mood of restaurant design today, she was virtually an “untouchable,” one step away from the wrecking crew.
Lo and behold, a group of restauranteurs…let’s call them the “knights in shining armor”… with vision and appreciation of the great French detailing and “bones” still present under the dirt and grime, show up one day, fall in love with the lovely lady and decide to rescue her from her demise.
Fast forward to last Wednesday night, and a “soft opening” for friends and families to display how stunning our Grand Dame is now and how inviting she will be to diners and those wishing to once more imbibe in her French glory and we have the newly renovated restaurant called Harlow…you do love that name, right?
In place of the faded yellow and pink walls and dark moldings with all sorts of gold leafing details…she was after all “high French” in her original design…she has now been reinvented into a soft grey, taupe and appropriate shades of French blue accents grande dame with chic contemporary furnishings to complement her new image. Strangely enough, much of her jewelry, cleaned and shining, remains hanging about in the way of stunning classic French ormolu fixtures and crystal chandeliers…they just seem so appropriate with her new clothing!
Of course, she has been updated…see the fabulous modern ceiling lights juxtaposed with the two beautiful new bars. And behind the raw fish bar are a school of swimming fish hand painted directly on to the mirror. And there is a private dining room with a “green wall” of ivy and a glass ceiling and fabulous Knoll Platner Arm Chairs (from the 1960’s) in deep purple velvet around the tables…so, so debonair!
And then there is the Trove ( see post ) wall paper in the ladies’ and men’s rooms and the sharp charcoal stripes going down the entry way into the bar area. And don’t forget about the incredible deep purple pendants hanging in the bar area over the tables…so unexpected!
Well, our story has a happy dezign ending, I suppose, and that makes me feel good. Our mademoiselle…she has lost light years off of her age with this face lift… isn’t completely ready for the big crowds, but she is well on her way to being a ravishing beauty once again.
Keep your eyes and ears glued to the papers as to when she makes her formal debut, which should be in the very near future. Oh, and BTW, the food is outrageously delicious so after you finish ga-ga-ing over the new decor, do sit down and enjoy a meal. After, all, isn’t that why you came?
Oh, and do not forget to check out the peepholes inside the bathrooms…yes, I said peepholes! Not going to give away what you are in store for here, but it will put a big smile on your face for sure!