The Draycott, USA

Images: Frank Wonho

Fettle Design  provides Los Angeles with a European-inspired brasserie with a Californian twist. Combining vintage pieces with off-the-shelf lighting, the space delivers a warm and lived-in atmosphere.

The Draycott is a European-inspired brasserie with a California twist situated in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. The flagship restaurant, by acclaimed restaurateurs Matt and Marisa Hermer, evokes a sense of nostalgia of a grand European brasserie, balanced with the flair of its Californian location.

Designed by Fettle design studio, The Draycott is an exercise in bespoke design and all of the furniture has been meticulously custom-designed – including a marble-topped jewel-box like bar in the heart of the space, with other elements of the dining room symmetrically positioned to create a strong sense of uniformity and organisation. Other design features include the ornate ceiling, bespoke marble mosaic floor on the outside terrace and the dramatic patinated brass back bar. 

Fettle used a fresh and bold colour palette to create a Californian ambience throughout the space, including a coral-coloured coffered pink ceiling with detailed cornice-work, that sits alongside striking leather upholstery in mustard and rich green. Fettle has married various textures together and in several areas of the restaurant used tone-on-tone finishes with the same piece of furniture. For example, the bar stool seat is upholstered in leather and the back pad in mohair in similar colours, to add a sense of playfulness and depth to the design. The simple white walls of the Draycott form a canvas for the mixture of local and European art on display.

The hidden gem of the design scheme is ‘The Queen’s Room’, a 26-seat private dining room adorned with two huge vintage gold frame French mirrors and two vintage glass chandeliers. A bespoke dining chair upholstered in yellow mohair provides a restrained pop of colour. 

Moving to the outdoors, the elegant terrace overlooks Palisades Village Park and is covered in a vast canopy to allow for year-round outdoor dining. Fettle oriented the Riviera café style seating to look out over the terrace from the interior. Within the restaurant every seat has a great view, either of the impressive bar, terrace or the park beyond.

Fettle founders Andy Goodwin and Tom Parker talked darc through the design process for Draycott: “The initial brief was to design an English brasserie that also represented its Californian location. It was intended to be family-friendly and welcoming and at the same time refined and elegant. The restaurant was to be quite luxurious with a central feature bar that would provide a great late-night drinks spot.”

The Fettle founders were introduced to the clients Matt and Marisa by interior designer Martin Brudnizki, whom they both used to work for. “He designed their townhouse in London before they moved out to LA,” the designers tell darc. “The biggest challenge on this project was the timeline. The owners of the centre, which was a whole ground up new build, are Caruso Affiliated, and they had an opening deadline that had to be met. To work with this timeline, we were very upfront with the clients and informed them every time a tweak or change would affect the delivery date.

“This was one of those rare projects where the brief stayed fixed throughout. We feel that actually manifests itself in the resulting scheme, which is very firmly an English Brasserie with Californian flair.”

Decorative lighting was key for this project. The restaurant is lit using diffused lighting and includes statement frosted globe pendants with antique brass and blackened steel fixtures. Fettle also sourced decorative floor and table lamps from flea markets and vintage shops across Los Angeles, giving the restaurant a lived-in feel.

One of the main considerations, however, was California’s very strict green energy code – Title 24. This meant the overall lighting power consumption needed to fall below a certain wattage per square foot ratio and entailed the use of low wattage LED lamps to meet the stringent criteria. “That said, the grand European brasseries always have stunning age-old decorative lighting, so the key was to source remarkable off the shelf and vintage lights and refit low energy lamps and lamp holders where required,” said the design duo. “We used several layers of decorative lighting including main and secondary pendants, wall lights and rechargeable battery-operated table lights, as well as hedge lights on the terrace perimeter, which all tied back into the main dimmer to give complete control and flexibility throughout the day. The other element worth mentioning with the lighting was that – as with all of our projects – we aimed to keep all colour temperatures on the lighting between 2200-2400K to give a consistent, cosy feel throughout.

“We were very aware that, although we were designing a relatively traditional looking space, the location was a new build high-end shopping centre. In order to balance these two elements, we used a mix of reclaimed vintage and off-the-shelf items. The lights in the private dining room are vintage, whereas those in the main restaurant space come from Circa Lighting, Lumens and Modern Lantern. The main pendant in the restaurant space is more layered, intricate and a slightly more modern fitting, this is complemented by the simple globe pendants with arm detail. The wall and table lights from Kelly Wearstler, remain the same throughout the restaurant and private dining room to keep the overall design continuity. One other point worth noting is that all the lighting in the space is diffuse. There are no exposed lamps, and this means that there is a consistent soft glow throughout the space.”

While the decorative lighting takes centre-stage in the space, architectural lighting is used as a background to set the stage. For the Fettle designers, a great example of this, is the ceiling coffer lights throughout the space where concealed 2400K LED illuminates the coral painted coffers from which the decorative lights hang. In the daytime, the coffer lights are set to be bright, raising the focal point up towards the ceiling. During evening service, the timer on the dimmer turns the lights right down and the pendants are even more noticeable as the main source of illumination at high level.

“In all schemes, lighting is what really makes the difference between a good space and a truly magical space,” the designers continue.  “Setting up all of the lights on separate circuits is key to this and allows us to control the two types of pendants, all lights, hedge lights, concealed bar LED and ceiling coffer LEDs completely separately. We then set this to a variety of settings to be used throughout the day – from breakfast settings into late dining and lastly late-night bar settings. This translates into a space that changes throughout the day, and these setting are in-turn amended as the seasons change throughout the year – meaning we can source and custom-design great lights and know we will be able to find a lighting level that makes them the centrepiece of the space.”

For Fettle, one of the main things that made this project unique was the incredible site. Four-metre high ceilings, with a terrace overlooking a great park, within a very high-end development don’t come around too often. The site provided the designers with a great canvas to work with. The Draycott is Fettle’s first project to open in the US and is destined to become a popular neighbourhood destination.

fettle-design.co.uk