Gone to the Dark Side AKA Designing Restaurants for Dinner

I'm a restaurant designer. It's what I do. But my job involves so much more creative planning besides making it work visually. There's a lot of other strategy and planning done prior to make sure all floor plan adjacencies are cohesive for proper flow. I have to follow health code per city. There's usually some landlord requirements to follow. Then, there's marketing.. the restaurant - first off - needs to be in the right market, that's your first step in the door (no pun intended?) to marketing your restaurant properly; then you need to make sure it's marketing itself while it's standing as a living breathing engine. Everything you put into a restaurant is marketing - the quality of the materials you use tell your guests what kind of brand you are. Did they have their shit together while specifying the chair I'm sitting on, enough to know that this fabric won't rip or the wood won't split and rip my clothing? Why are there stains on the tables? Wasn't the developer of this restaurant smart enough to buy tables durable for a restaurant setting? Maybe they're just not smart overall, therefore my food may not have been properly cooked either... 

That's my perspective on how food establishments function - you either do it right, or well, you did it wrong.

Now, more background on why this bit is titled 'the dark side'. Currently, I'm designing Tender Greens restaurants. They are fine-casual, heavy on lunch but busy with dinner as well. I'm being asked to design as if it were a dinner restaurant with lunch sprinkled in, opposite of what it currently markets itself as, just by the menu itself. Therefore, I've piled up some images that will kick start my dark side, and get me going on designing a dinner based restaurant that could work for the day time too! 

Darker wall finishes with layered light and art help create a moody vibe.

Darker wall finishes with layered light and art help create a moody vibe.

Naturally rich materials add a bit of timeless elegance appealing to the crowd that likes to sit and dine.

Naturally rich materials add a bit of timeless elegance appealing to the crowd that likes to sit and dine.

Mirrors add a hint of maturity and help your lighting play around with the space more.

Mirrors add a hint of maturity and help your lighting play around with the space more.

Private spaces with a blend of personal lighting and dark finishes help this space feel more intimate at night, while the white ceiling and white surrounding materials help brighten the space up for the day time.

Private spaces with a blend of personal lighting and dark finishes help this space feel more intimate at night, while the white ceiling and white surrounding materials help brighten the space up for the day time.

Dark ceilings! Even though most finishes are lighter, the dark ceilings lets you imagine this being a transformative space

Dark ceilings! Even though most finishes are lighter, the dark ceilings lets you imagine this being a transformative space

BeanBar Cafè // Qingdao, China

Refined upholstery! It's all in the details, custom variations of how your banquettes are upholstered tell you that some thought went into it and the space you're sitting in is unique. 

Refined upholstery! It's all in the details, custom variations of how your banquettes are upholstered tell you that some thought went into it and the space you're sitting in is unique. 

Materials on materials. Layering all of your materials to portray the global palette in little pockets of your space makes you feel the details were well thought out. 

Materials on materials. Layering all of your materials to portray the global palette in little pockets of your space makes you feel the details were well thought out. 

The Artist. The Studio. Meet: Capricorn Press

Molly France of Capricorn Press.

Molly France of Capricorn Press.

Meet Molly from Capricorn Press. She is an artist, collector and maker. I took a short tour of her home-studio to understand what really went on behind the walls of a creative. Her home is her studio. Everything radiates with color and bright energy. All of her objects tell a story about where she came from and how it somehow influences her work. 

Way back when, while I was sourcing art for a Treehouse project I was working on With Orlando Soria from Homepolish - I was in a scurry. I needed local art.. framed.. and fast. I did a good old Etsy search, filtered by 'local' and found Molly from Capricorn Press. Not only was she local to my LA search, she lived a sweet 4 blocks away from me. She ever so sweetly let me come to her studio and pick out some prints that she would frame for me to pick up the next day. 

Her home-studio had a warm and inviting feel; the smell, the craft supplies, the colors that her feng shui lady recommended to her. It all exuded an energy that calls for creativity. 

capricorn-press-meet the artist2

We went over to the Capricorn Press HQ for a tour and photo shoot, an interview and some tea. My good friend and all-start photographer Shelby did us the honors. 

capricorn-press-meet the artist3


capricorn-press-meet the artist4

1. From your first piece of art to your last, are you able to describe your path as an artist? What's your artist story?

 I’ve been collecting antique papers and lithographs for years, to use in my collage-based art and assemblage boxes. It was a natural shift to start selling some of the rare prints, as well as my newer collages. My first piece for Capricorn Press was my Venus Transit Moon Phases print. It was based on a 19th Century American woodcut from a children's astronomy textbook.  I restored the Venus Transit from its stained and moldy state and gave it a new life. It’s been my most popular piece from the start. My most recent series is a set of Geometric-oriented prints that have more of a collage approach, incorporating both hand-painted elements, and sections from some of my celestial antique prints, in a more abstract, almost surreal way. 

capricorn-press-meet the artist6
capricorn-press-meet the artist5

2. In a single word, what would you describe your own personal art style as, and why? Do you always incorporate it into your art?

Magical. I like images that have some mystery left in them, like antique prints who’s original intent is kind of lost on us…I like anything with a romatic or mystical aura. 

capricorn-press-meet the artist7

3. The artist-studio + live-work situation - why does it work for you? 

Live/work is perfect because I do a lot more working than living! Working at home gives me a lot of flexibility…I tend to work odd hours…through the night, and its nice to have all my records and my cats around to keep life chill and serene.


4. Who is an artist influence of yours? Do you have any work sample of your own that you could compare to this influence? (Maybe we can show pictures side by side?)

I always come back to Joseph Cornell. I grew up in Houston and the Menil Collection there has an amazing collection of Cornell boxes. I love the pretty, poetic worlds he creates with broken bits of history.

Molly's personal belongings, including her crafted crystal-shadow boxes from her findings during the Arizona gem-faire season.

5. Where do you get inspiration from?

I think the historical past and the night sky interweave in most of the work, as they’re both kind of ever-present and expansive, but unreachable at the same time. I’m sentimental.


6. The vintage prints vs. newly made art prints: Do they influence eachother? How do you select your vintage? How often do you make new prints? What gets the new prints inspired? Tell us a little bit about your process!

I love flea markets and the thrill of finding some drawings from long ago that noone’s ever seen or cares about anymore. Nothing excites me more than finding a stack of crumbling, moth-eaten papers. I recently restored a set of silkscreens on newsprint from 1916 that were disintegrating in my hands. I think everything in my collection, regardless of where it started from, has a dreamy romantic feeling - that’s the unifying theme. I add new prints every week. 

capricorn-press-meet the artist11
capricorn-press-meet the artist1

Anthropologie like you've never seen it b4

Yep. You heard me. It's Anthropologie like you've neva seen it before. I know it's hard to believe, since Anthropologie is already one of the most beautiful places you've ever placed yourself inside of. But there's a new type of Anthropologie in town, and it was done to the nines/twenties/thousands this time 'round. The Anthropologie at Fashion Island in Newport Beach is one of their newest flagships. They're even calling it "The Ultimate Anthropologie Experience."

I begin my post with a question: Do you ever get a high from "retail therapy?" ..I swear it's a real thing. I know personally, I've experienced it multiple times myself. If you are reading this and have never personally experienced this thrill - here's a quick run down: You go shopping. You buy a bunch of stuff. You immediately feel 20 times better about yourself/life/everything.

Well, let me tell you. I experienced that retail-therapy-high WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING. If this intrigues you, go ahead with your pretty little eyes and keep reading.

Dear everyone that had a part in designing this new flagship. You knew what you were doing. This Anthro is not your average Anthro. You want to see one of their sofas? PSH! They've given you 12 full blown living/bedroom set ups. You like their curtains? They've got a whole built-out encasing those pretty pieces of fabric. This store is the MALL of all Anthropologies. I usually hate malls, but now that Anthropologie is one - I think I'll become an avid mall goer. They are even calling this portion of the store their DESIGN CENTER. Anthro now has a place for Interior Designers like me to go and WERK. 

I'll give you some back story about how I ended up in this new heaven on earth. My boyfriends sister is also an Interior Designer - she had been telling me for days, "omg Brooke, you're going to love the new Anthropologie." I was like 'yeah, yeah - Anthropologie is amazing" but apparently I had no idea what she was talking about. So we get there, I start walking through the store, and immediately my phone whips itself out. Before I know it, I have a 50 second snapchat story - and I'm only halfway through their furniture section. My boyfriend made a joke "oh - here comes a blog post" which I initially reacted to like "no, you're crazy... why would I.." and then, light bulb moment. And here we are today, e-standing in this beautiful living room, on a vibrant and floral rug that we all secretly wish we had in our interior-dreamer playroom.

Oh - you're not sure what type of rug you want? NO PROBLEM! This store has a whole section for you to choose from, because remember - this is the DESIGN CENTER.

more proof that it's a place I can go hang out at Anthro and claim I'm working:

curtain hardware done like no Anthro has done it before.

Even boyfriend was walking around pointing at things for me to take photos of: exhibit A. (Mind you - exhibit A also encompasses a bird art print, and I have an irrational fear of birds, so he was actually just trying to get a rise out of me, however - the photo works for this post!)

Exhibit A

Moving on from the design center, although it was really sad to walk away, I found a whole new world of Anthro - their BEAUTY DEPARTMENT. I'm not really a make-up/product girl, I typically go for the basics. However, I am easily influenced if it's done by a brand that I like. AKA - if all of my basic products are going to come from somewhere, they might as well come from Anthro's beauty counter. *not pictured* the bottle of Kai perfume that I sprayed on myself, that I should have bought, but didn't. I'll be going back for that bad boy the second I have free time.

Did I mention, they have a full on shoe section? Or shall I say... department?

And just a few more pretties because... well, props to their visuals team.

You go team Anthro, you go.

Thanks for making it through this post without leaving me to go to Anthro. I really appreciate it. However, you're dismissed and Anthropologie at Fashion Island in Newport is waiting for you with open arms!


a career story: episode 1

2012:  Somewhere around my 1st headshot, taken for an ASID DIFFA Dining by Design team.

2012: Somewhere around my 1st headshot, taken for an ASID DIFFA Dining by Design team.

2016:  A more recent headshot taken during a photo-shoot that I had done staging for - very impromptu.

2016: A more recent headshot taken during a photo-shoot that I had done staging for - very impromptu.

Every time I read another Interior Designer's story about how they ended up where they are today, I feel more inspired about how I'm building my own path. Every story is different, and so unique - just like any Interior Design project. I admire each type of career jump or goal reached on someone else's behalf, as much as I value my own. I know what kind of hard work it takes to get to where you want to be in your career, so I applaud all making cut-throat business decisions. As I drooled over any post or article about a designers path, my own wheels started turning. I thought, "hey! you may only be 24 years old, but you feel pretty confident about where you are in your career as an Interior Designer, right?"  The answer to my own question is YES. I've gotten various and substantial forms of experience since before the start of my career. Each move I have made has resulted in a very educational and enlightening experience. I have been thinking about how to compile these experiences for sharing, and a solid 'start to current' timeline sounds like a good way to do it. A blogger/interior designer that has done this in a very inspiring way is Stephanie from Sabbe Interiors. She has a lot of experience under her belt - in a good way. She's written up some entertaining yet informational posts about the way she's gotten to where she is. Her stories include some true-tales that you typically don't hear about regarding someone's success. Some of my idol-designers (that I've been lucky enough to get to know on a personal level), have custom-tailored their own career, and a lot of the time, their paths turn out to have some very unexpected turns. It made me realize, that again, just like each unique interior design project out there, there's a unique situation taking place for a person to implement those experiences. AKA - people gain experience from others who provide that experience, and that is how each individual gains such a colorful background in this thing we call the 'design world.'

That's my saga for now. And in case you didn't pick up on what's next - I'll be sharing my career story line with you. It'll start with my first internship ever (get ready for some really embarrassing phone calls). I'll finally get to where I am today, and hint: I'll reveal what insanely exciting job I just accepted!

PS - Mad props to Natalie from Veneer Designs for sharing her 'how I got here from there' design-tale, due to the fact that she was 'done' getting coffee with someone every time they were potentially, slightly interested in maybe becoming an Interior Designer. Read her post about building a sturdy path - before you even think it only takes good taste in colors to become an interior designer. 

PPS - Natalie and I met in person after we had met via e-mail, and it was definitely one of those meet-cute stories, like the way it's explained in the movie The Holiday.

a really rock solid blog post

Hint: It has something to do with rocks. And gems. And minerals.

I started going to these gem and mineral shows with my boyfriends mom, Barb. Barb is a major crafter, and knows everything about beading, welding, crystals, and more. When I first stepped foot into her craft room, I knew her and I would be long lasting friends. Her craft room is filled with drawers of all shapes and sizes that go from floor to ceiling. Everything is LABELED and perfectly organized. Barb has been crowned as Craft Queen in my book. She even won an honorable mentioned in the Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest... because she created a teeny-tiny replica of an Eames Lounger out of a champagne cork. This lady knows her stuff. Anyway, attempting to stay on topic... I started to go to these gem and mineral shows with Barb. She claims that "rocks are [her] heroin" - and yes, she gave me permission to quote her on that. Therefore, this just leads to us both running around like two candy-deprived kids in a candy shop. Except I'm an adult with an iPhone taking pictures of everything in site. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, AKA - scroll, slobber and enjoy, because I think my job here is done. 

*click on image to go through the slideshow*

Those were all pretty rock solid, right? Like, your ride through the slide show was pretty smooth - not too rocky? There are definitely a few hidden gems in there, right? OK, all of those puns were intended, and I swear I'm done for now.

Rock on!



My fashion-shoes and I woke up at the crack of dawn to get to the Long Beach Antique Market early enough to snag all of the good stuff. I even did a live feed on my snapchat @brookespreckman (day of) capturing those must-have-on-film moments. A majority of those moments were actually just me trying to make a good pun out of an old piece of furniture, but you get the idea. While filming/snapping for my FAMOUS snapchat channel (does that even exist?), I did actually snag (not snap) some pretty good stuff! I started simple with a few yards of some indigo dyed fabric (making pillows - hold tight), next: 2 pairs of some to-be-filled, prescription glasses (thanks Allyn Scura), a mug here and there, and then... most importantly - I found tiny furniture. My wheels started turning back to my 4th grade diorama days. And even though it's probably the most unnecessary merchandise you could ever own - as an Interior Designer - I probably fall under the 10% who can rationalize purchasing any of it. It's kind of like a mini version of my job. Also - staying somewhat on topic, a funny scenario I've thought about more than enough: the idea of someone calling a tiny furniture store, impatiently asking why they are still out of 'the tiny green ovens'. This may not read as funny, but if you think about it - there might be someone out there heavily worrying about when the next shipment of tiny stoves are going to arrive. It might end up being me in 10 years from now, who knows.

Anyway, enough of my rant about tiny furniture. Here's what you guys actually came here for, some good ol' captioned goodness. 

Oh - and thank you #LBFlea for being so hospitable! You always do me dirty in the best way possible.

| click images to enlarge + navigate |

Invite me to your next Flea and my fancy shoes and I will pun down for what. 

XO, Brooke Spreckman


keeping it simple.

We've all been here: You're in a room, there's clutter, you have a lot of... crap. You can't focus. Well, fret no more. Here is the final push to make you realize it's ok to be simple. Simple is good. You know what else is ok?  Feeling blue. 

And hold, I should explain. I'm playing on these words as it's necessary to remind ourselves to look at things in a new light. Blue doesn't have to mean you're down, and simple doesn't need to scream "I'm boring."

It's time for a change - so back to simple talk. Simple rooms. Simple art. Simple ways of getting art. Simple is key now a days. I know I'm not the only one that's ordered via Eat24, in a matter of seconds, via iPhone, with only 1% battery left. It's all that easy and we cannot be mad at it. 

So I digress-- I now give you the ways I've kept this recent project of mine at a fingers length of simple.


First, let's talk art. Those framed prints up there, yeah - the two just above the two beautiful pillows from Froy? Yeah, those are from Minted, a virtual gallery of goodness. The Mineral prints by artist Lilly Hanna made my life way too easy when sourcing art for a client whose design vocabulary consisted of the words "simple, light blue + jute." It was through Minted's simple platform that I was like "Hey client! Guess what! Here is a place that you can search for the words that you know, and we will find something based on that. And that is what we did. We kept the sourcing time to a minimum and found great pieces for their guest room - keeping things simple, light blue and well, a little bit jute - but that's on the floor, we'll get there in a minute.

Staying on topic for a second, I wanted to reiterate that feeling blue can mean an abundance of things. Thank you Minted Spring Decorating Lookbook *see below* you've given us a little reminder that blue covers all grounds on these things we call FEELINGS. From the Spring lookbook, the overall vibe that SERENITY was putting out, was what I was packing down.

drum roll to a few of my fav serene pieces:

Minted, Pressed No. 1 by Julia Contacessi                         +Black Premium Wood Frame    

Minted, Pressed No. 1 by Julia Contacessi                     +Black Premium Wood Frame


Minted, Snowscape 01 by Megan Kelley                                   + Matte Brass Frame

Minted, Snowscape 01 by Megan Kelley                                  + Matte Brass Frame

Now, on to more simple goodness that you are going to one day achieve (I believe in you.):

Photography   by   Victoria Gold Photography

Oh, hey! There's that jute. This rug is made of natural blended fibers (cotton/denim/jute). This type of rug made sense in this room because it's materials follow that effortless style. The materials add a nice roughness while staying classy, Los Angeles. Also, the price didn't hurt the budget one bit. Jute-blended rugs are the way to go when you're looking for something that usually falls under all of our rug qualifications: heavy weight, soft and large. Also, I swear, regardless of the jute - it's actually very soft! 

Keeping your materials simple can achieve a lot with very little context. Keeping larger scale items white will clear that palette. That way, if you do have a lot of other clutter, it'll at least be light and airy in other areas of your space. Light colors are what usually sell in artwork, so why can't it be the same for your interior palette? If you're nodding your head in agreement to all of this, chances are you are one of the many that has a dark accent wall. It's weighing you down, man! Paint it white, or butter cream. Take the weight off of your shoulders, you'll feel a lot better. 

Photography by   Victoria Gold Photography

Finishing touches that include linen upholstery, white accent furniture and soft lines will help you keep that streamline flowing. Things like this:  

Welcome: You're here. The finish line of simple town. And it's a good thing.

Feeling blue,                                                                                                                                   Brooke






| click images to enlarge + navigate |


a mod-boheme scheme:

This is what I call a semi-neutral palette. To me, a semi-neutral palette is what you get when you don't want too much color, but are still down (or up!) for the eclectic variation.  You have mod drapery with a tan background and semi neutral + earthy color-blocks. The rug is a light cream - staying neutral! - but there's a little punch in the geo-black pattern.  Therefore, patterns, a few earthy tones and bold shapes bring your good old "neutral" into a whole new world of "semi-neutral." Congratulations, you have officially been taken away from the traditional neutral (have I said the word neutral enough?), and into more of an eclectic plot (twist).

design theory:

  • Play with different shapes to balance everything out:: hand chair + round light pendant
  • Matching tones help to tie it all together:: drapery + lumbar mudcloth pillow
  • Variated tones trick the eye, adding natural flow to the color palette:: grey blue art prints + indigo pillow
  • Neutral materials grounds the space:: wood nightstand + green life (succulents!)


If you follow me on instagram, you know I've been on the house hunt. Well my friends, that hunt is no longer a part of my daily shuffle, balancing meetings in betweens house viewings, in between crappy renters market frustrations. I now bring you a whole new ballpark of frustrations/procrastination between doing actual work and designing my own home, while still very badly needing to pack for the move taking place in two days. Therefore, I bring you a product of my dilly-dallying, in what I call a blog post. Enjoy. 

and obviously, we all need some inspiration

Stay tuned for photos of what the house actually ends up looking like. 

Procrastinating HARD,



From Left//Right:

All other inspiration images were found via SuiteOne Studio, We Are Pampa, My Domaine, Amber Interior Design + Pinterest


The Peru-Review: 

 There were huge cacti growing everywhere around Peru, it was fantastic. In South America they grow like weeds, just really fabulous weeds.  Our Earth provides the most beautiful color palette. The Quechua people of Peru are truly connected to our Earth (pachamama) and use the plants, insects and minerals provided to make rainbow threads. 

-Chelsea Sarai 



Because sometimes you just want it all, from finger to toe. But did I mention that Von Pelt has some of the most amazing and interesting craftsmanship I've seen? They have such a creative team over yonder in Deutchland (?). Oh, and you too Polly Wales. You are most definitely changing up the destiny of engagement rings in my book. Your stuff is too good. From the moment I found you in the deep realm of Instagram, I knew it was fate that you'd someday end up on my blog.

Thanks for drooling,  

[Brooke] Design Hutch


From Top//Bottom + Left//Right:

So we bought a sectional from Canada

Bryght Acura Sectional

Bryght Acura Sectional

current mood: OMG this amazing object is on it’s way.

I would say "v" but it definitely needs the full VERY, as in we are VERY excited for this sectional to be delivered, installed, and slept on by all Verba employees in San Francisco. Oh, and this is where you can personally buy this amazing modular piece of goodness. It's from Canada, did I mention that?

Thanks for yondering,

[Brooke] Design Hutch