Cafe Tennyson + Bistro | Before & After

September last year we received a short email requesting our help to refurbish a café. The email was from Julien and Sophie Debord, a French couple who had recently bought the well-known Napier café, Ujazi. When we met with them, their brief was to makeover the café, creating a warm and welcoming space and combine Napier’s Art Deco style with a hint of French tradition.

While we began work on the design concept, we put Julien and Sophie in touch with our clever friend, Kate Merrifield Mason, of Ripe Design. Kate designed the logo and the beautiful menus for Café Tennyson + Bistro. Much discussion was had about whether to keep the Ujazi name, which was so well known in Napier, or begin this new journey with a fresh name. In the end the latter was chosen. Located on Tennyson Street, we all loved the name Tennyson. It felt quite “Gatsby” which fitted the Art Deco vibe we were going for. Our first design concept was to give an overall look to see if our vision married up with Julien and Sophie’s.

We then put a second design together with more specific pieces and finishes for the café.

With the designs approved, the next step was to implement them. With the shortest time frame we’ve ever had to work to - Sophie and Julien had given their staff two weeks holiday while the café was closed for refurbishment - we knew we had to work with a professional company with a full team of trades available to them. Your Solutions were absolutely brilliant taking our designs and making them a reality in twelve days! Yes, twelve long days to transform the café. We will be forever grateful that they made that happen.

Previously the café was painted a myriad of bright colours - orange, lime green, purple… To create that Art Deco vibe and to draw people in, we chose a stunning wallpaper called Hollywood Palm in rose gold. We teamed that with glass sphere pendants and green velvet booth seats.

Although the street front tables were often full, we noticed that people didn’t tend to sit indoors. As well as the colours we decided to change the layout inside to give it a better flow. Julien and Sophie, having owned a bar in France, knew exactly where they wanted their new counters.

A wall was removed to allow space for the pâtisserie counter. As head chef Sophie knew she wanted to fill this with French pâtisserie, salads and savoury treats.

We designed both the pâtisserie and barista counter and then handed it over to the clever joiners at Your Solutions to create. We chose a gorgeous subway tile in deep green and white with a handmade effect to emulate those French bistros that had been around for many years.

The barista counter was designed in reverse with deep green tiles and a stripe of white. It’s located straight in front of the entrance, at the end of the original counter.

installation day - looking good!

I always love a mezzanine floor, but the original upstairs area didn’t get a lot of customers. Our original design featured the Hollywood Palm wallpaper in gold and black for a moodier vibe, but to stay within budget we had to loose it. Instead we added panelling to the bottom of the wall to create an architectural feature.

Your Solutions made the panelling that we designed. We loved visiting their workshop to see it laid out on the floor, and then following the progress of it being installed and painted. It added that interest to the stairwell leading you up. We chose a glossy black for the panelling and a gorgeous pinky brown for the wall above.

The mezzanine floor is now my favourite space in the café. The gold velvet booth seats, black bistro chairs and walnut tabletops give the upstairs area a different identity whilst still feeling cohesive with downstairs.

Looking down into the main café is quite different now…

The original bathroom was quite something in the brightest Fanta orange. We gave this area its own makeover, repeating the panelling we used on the stairs and topping with another beautiful wallpaper, installed by our mate Claire Condon. A new vanity with gold tap and pretty mirror completed the look.

A lot has changed in this little café and not just the decor. As well as the treats available in the pâtisserie, you would be wise to take a seat and check out the menu. There are delicious breakfast and lunch options, and you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with lunch.

Sophie and Julien have more exciting ideas to introduce to Café Tennyson + Bistro, so make sure, if you’re in Napier, to pay them a visit.

Favourite Space | Hayden Borrie

We’re starting 2019 with one of our “Favourite Space” blog posts, where we introduce you to another one of our clever and creative friends, and show you the space they most love to hang out in. Last year we had a meeting with Hayden Borrie after several people suggested we should meet. And they were so right… you see, Hayden is this super talented guy with an engineering and design background, and he was busy developing a range of beautiful products suitable for both residential and commercial environments. It wasn’t long after our first meeting that we employed his services to help us create a stunning black steel shower frame for a client of ours (we hope to have photos of this soon for our portfolio). Since then we’ve worked on other projects with Hayden and look forward to many more.

For this shoot Dael and I headed out to Hayden’s home with our photographer Florence in tow to photograph his family room. Hayden shares his home in the Esk Hills with his wife, Megan and their two children Roman, 6 yrs, and Fern, 3 yrs. Hayden and Megan bought the section after returning from London, and proceeded to do a huge amount of work on it themselves. They hired architect, Andrew Young, and local construction firm, Robinson Built, but also had a lot of input into the design process. Megan managed the project and all the tradies, and the couple designed the kitchen, installing the island bench themselves, as well as tackling all of the painting and landscaping.

Hayden’s range of self-designed shelving and storage is called smpl. - born out of the desire to create a shelving system for his own home. Longevity was an important factor so they are built to last with powdercoated steel frames and shelves; and wanting a sense of cohesiveness throughout his home, the range also includes bathroom accessories.

Not restricted to residential, the smpl. range is great for commercial settings as well. Hayden designed and installed the shelving at our favourite local coffee establishment, Crazy Good (see below).

Right Hayden, time for a few questions so we can get to know you a bit better…

B+B - What is your favourite space?

HB - It’s what we call our 'family' room, but it’s really just all one big space including the family room, kitchen, dining and lounge.

What do you love most about your space?

The 'openness' of the view out to the north west, while being hunkered into the hill to the east; and it feels like the heart of the house.

What do you love about what you’ve created for Crazy Good?

Modularity and 'the system' (you'll probably hear me say that a lot). It's going to need a bit of customer learning, but the system in CG would equally be at home in a commercial environment or residential housing.

What’s your favourite time if the day?

Late evening. That's when the gears start turning, and can easily go into the wee smalls :) No distractions (I love my family, really), and you can just get on with it.

Who or what inspires you?

Simplifying unnecessarily complicated products and processes. I’m not a big fan of superfluous details, rather I prefer basic 'functional aesthetics'. I love modularity and re-use of components through a design. 

George Nelson would be one of my main influences. He's one of the originators of American Modernism, and I love the simplicity in his products, particularly during his time at Herman Miller. Yes, he may have taken credit for a few too many designs of others (!), but there's no doubt he pushed design into places it hadn't been before.

What are you reading/listening to?

I’ve been listening to 'The Roots' lately for designing, and 'Royal Blood' for hard work! Reading even for fun is usually pretty technical. :)

Sweet or savoury?

Definitely savoury!

Favourite drink?

Pour-over Chemex coffee, black.

Favourite item you own?

My Chemex pour-over 6 cup. I like the precise process of it, and that it’s the same every single time.

What are your goals for 2019?

To develop my smpl. product range further, and to continue to provide 'fresh' solutions for custom interiors (mainly from a manufacturing perspective)

Oh and do more mountain biking and fishing!

Thank you so much Hayden for allowing us into your home. To all our readers, make sure you go and check out Hayden’s website to learn more about his smpl. range, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with all his new work and product design.

Colour Crush | Green

Green is one of my favourite colours to decorate with. It's a restful colour and is known to have a calming effect; it's gender neutral - not overly feminine or masculine; and it's a reflection of the beautiful environment we are lucky enough to live in here in New Zealand. You only have to look to nature to see how green goes with every colour.

The Bogart Block sofa in lush forest green velvet available to purchase via Bibby + Brady

I was asked to write an article late last year predicting what 2017 would have in store for us in terms of interior design. I suggested that we would see a lot more green this year, and sure enough Pantone released their colour of the year as Greenery - "satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalise. Greenery symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose".

My favourite green tones are slightly deeper than the 2017 colour of the year, I prefer emerald green and forest green tones, or soft muted sage greens. But I do think "greenery" looks beautiful in smaller doses mixed in with deeper tones. I was inspired by the colours in the photo I snapped (below) on a morning walk - dappled light and a carpet of green overhead.

Green is beautiful in an entranceway where it truely brings the outdoors in and creates a lush and fresh welcome.

We used a gorgeous emerald green on the ceiling of one of our client's entranceway. It's slightly unexpected to see a coloured ceiling, which creates that 'wow' moment we were after.

Green and white is such a classic colour combination and one that will never fail to look fresh and beautiful. I'm a huge fan of this home (see the two photos below) which has a clean white base and light parquet floorboards throughout the house, peppered with pops of green.

I also love this image (below) where the picture wall and that burst of green completely take the focus away from the TV when it's not on.

You can create great impact whether you use green in large or small amounts...

A green and white combo is particularly beautiful in kitchens...

We did a bank of green cupboards in this kitchen (below) of our client's and combined them with tall white cabinetry on the other side. It looks amazing with the plantings outside the window.

For a bold move in your kitchen choose a classic subway tiles in a deep green, as seen on the exterior of L'Americano Bar in Sydney - how amazing is that?!

This kitchen (below) has taken advantage of the greenery outdoors and really brought the outdoors in by adding a low window instead of a splash back.

Of course the simplest way to bring green into your home is through plants, whether it's potted plants or some leaves snipped from your garden. As well as colour, plants add instant texture and life.

Here are just a few ways to brings green into your home (many of these items can be ordered through us)...

clockwise from top left: print | paint | wallpaper | sofa | plant | stool | cabinet | vase | quartz verdant tile