My partners at Lawrence have decided to open up a butcher shop a couple of doors up from the restaurant: Boucherie Lawrence. We’ll be selling organic meat from local farms – the same producers that supply the restaurant. We’ll also sell our bread (so yummy!) and eventually the eggs and butter that we use as well. I am designing the space with the strong input of our partner Sefi Amir, who’s pet project this is. I want to try to blog about the shop as the project evolves. I think it will be interesting to see the space develop bit by bit.
I love working on commercial spaces. The challenges are different from a residential contract – it needs to be user friendly, durable, cool, have personality, and make sense for the people that work there. Actually, not all that different from residential jobs after all – just substitute “work” for “live” and it’s pretty much the same mandate.
The space we found does not scream butcher shop, though it was once a chicken processing plant. Lovely !
It is HUGE. There is a long brick wall that the landlord won’t let us paint (bummer).
There’s newly installed hard wood in the front area. Tile that we’ve been shopping for will be installed in the open production kitchen. The ceilings are new gypsum and the whole thing has just been plastered.
There is an enormous basement with a large washroom and closet space.
The place is not a small, intimate, old time-y shop but a new, glass fronted cavernous space. In fact, the space is so big for our purposes that it has made us modify our plans. We will now also create a lunch counter area where people can have sandwiches – you order your sandwich at the counter and grab it wrapped in brown butcher paper. And then you eat it standing up. No frills. No stools. No wait staff.
Challenge #1: fighting the space a little by creating different areas – lunch counters, cash area, waiting area (?), deli fridge, a large table through the middle to hold the baskets for the bread and other merch, a table that eventually could seat people if the need arises and if we can afford chairs. Which leads to…
Challenge #2: as usual, very little budget. The rent there is expensive. Starting a business is expensive. Renovating is hell of expensive. We are not starting with a finished space (which poses it’s own challenges). We are starting with an empty box. An empty box which needs to be filled. And though the landlord has been pretty great, he is also making design choices that we wouldn’t necessarily have made (weird giant glass front door , accordeon door on a closet.)
Challenge #3: giving it a Lawrence flavour without mimicking my other design. Sefi suggested doing a hanging light montage like I did over the Lawrence bar, but instead of using milk glass using a different material. Brilliant idea! This basically sparked the look of the rest of the room. It influenced every choice we’ve made since.
The lights I found for over the deli counter at Boucherie Lawrence, from Lambert & Fils, my favourite lamp shop in Montreal.
Challenge #4: the BRICK. Not pretty. Very orange. Which means that the Lawrence trifecta of grey, off white and red doesn’t work. I’ll keep the main colours of grey and white but add black and maybe an accent of dark/metal green. Like in the image of the chair below. I think…
Regardless of all the challenges, I am really excited for this project. I think the business idea is a good one. I’m proud of my Lawrence design and I think that this can be a good little sibling to the restaurant – part of the family but it’s own unique being. It can be pretty, even if we’ll be selling offal. Right?
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