What makes a great restaurant? It’s a question for the ages. All we know is that when lighting fixtures lure us back as much as the menu does, someone has done something right. And in L.A., that someone is likely Wendy Haworth.
We’re chatting with the designer behind some of our all-time favorite places to lunch and linger – including Gracias Madre, Winsome, Cafe Gratitude, and the new Cleo L.A. Live – about how she dressed up these famously current design spots, and how we can inject some of that great taste into our own abodes. Read below for Wendy’s top interior design tips for creating a stylishly intentional entertaining environment at home, and why breaking the rules is her rule #1…
Fave design trend right now:
I feel like rattan is currently hot, but since I’ve always loved rattan and think it’s a classic, I cringe to label it a trend.
Trend you're ready to see go:
Calling out trends in general and saying what’s hot for this or that season. I think good design is classic, timeless and steers clear of what’s trendy.
Fave 3 elements in a well-designed room:
Something that serves as a main focal point. Balance – light and dark elements; mix of textures. Plant life.
Talk to us about the mural at Winsome:
Marc Rose, one of the owners of Winsome, came across this beautiful 1938 painting of Echo Park Lake by Phil Dike. We discussed different ways to incorporate it into the design and landed on having it made into a mural. Woody Dike, Phil’s son, was very generous in giving us their permission to use it.
Top tips for creating an intentional space:
Ignore trends and live with things that you love. Be selective and constantly curate, surrounding yourself with things (and people) that make you happy.
Biggest mistake most people make in home decor:
Overly eclectic design where everything is fighting for attention. It’s nice to have some pieces that are simple and stay in the background as supporting players.
Special notes on Cafe Gratitude's intentional design...
One of the things that Café Gratitude would like customers to feel in their restaurants is a sense of uplift and positivity. To try to achieve that, we make the spaces as airy and bright as possible with lots of natural and organic materials and we also avoid the use of leather.
Any green design tips?
Fave natural materials:
Rattan, paper cord, hemp linen and clay.
Dish you're drooling over at restaurants you've designed:
Winsome: torched kanpachi. Café Gratitude: ‘I am whole.’ Gracias Madre: sopes con piña. Cleo: grilled octopus.
Fave home shops:
Lucca Antiques, Lawson Fenning, Hedge in Palm Springs, Paul Marra, Nicky Kehoe.
Rule you love to break: