Inspired: Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant


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You might notice a trend around here lately if you’re familiar with the D.C. area… The last three featured environments have all been within the same two block radius on 14th Street. Heh. I think that says a lot about the area, though. With so many new and interesting spaces popping up (new to me, anyway), it’s soooo hard to pass any of them by without stopping in capture a little inspiration.

This is Barcelona, a wine bar and restaurant that is overflowing with a style that’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the area. It’s impossible not to take notice of the space when walking by, mainly because of the beautiful al fresco dining space that looks like it came straight out of a magazine. That aspect of the brand continues into the interior with a myriad of natural elements used throughout the space.

Inspired: Pearl Dive



Good design lies in the details.

Truer words were never spoken about Pearl Dive; whose brand relies on maritime-inspired surfaces, cool blues, and some excellent uses of typography to tell it’s story. Pearl Dive is connected to Black Jack (they’re both owned by Black Restaurant Group), which I featured here last week. Some friends put me on to both of the spaces, and I’m glad that they did!

As a graphic designer, a good logo used in interesting ways always tends to catch my eye. Both the tiled wordmark and the wall mural pictured above are prime examples. The worn textures and whitewashed patina visible throughout the space makes it feel like Pearl Dive has been a 14th Street staple for decades, when it’s only a few years old. It’s a casual and approachable brand, but the food feels pretty upscale; their clam po’ boy is probablyyyy the best that I’ve ever tasted.


Accessible Design Vol. 2


“Accessible Design” is my way of finding practical furniture, lighting, and a variety of other housewares that are inspired by some of the awesome spaces that I shoot. Today, we’re going to take some inspiration from the whimsical yet uniquely modern stylings of Farmers Fishers Bakers (refer back to that post for a quick refresh) and apply it to some pieces for an entryway. The design of this restaurant has been on my mind since they were kind enough to let me mosey about the space with my camera, so it’s about time that I find some functional pieces that are similar in aesthetic.ffb3ffb


1. Threshold Round Captain’s Mirror
2. Blue Dot Splash Coat Rack  …This is crazy expensive, but I thought that I’d include it since it appears to be an exact match to the coat rack in the restaurant.
3. Stick Coat Rack in Black …A great, inexpensive alternative. Quite different in style than the Blut Dot version, but a functional and modern piece nonetheless.
4. “Saw” Print
5. “Axe” Two-Color Print
6. Safavieh Cindy Console Table in Teal
7. Bank in the Form of a Pig in White …A fun and interesting way to stash loose change as you walk through the front door.

Inspired: Black Jack


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Salvaged materials, rich colors, and moody vibes all pretty much sum up the brand of Black Jack. Reflecting the craft cocktail movement that it represents, Black Jack’s style harks back to an old school speakeasy, complete with dim lighting and luxuriously rich (but perfectly worn) textures throughout the space. AND there are indoor bocce courts, if the drinks and ambience aren’t enough to draw you in.

I sat down with E. Jay, the bar manager of Black Jack, to talk a little more about the brand and how it’s reflected in the way the interior is designed. He walked me through the space to show how reliant the design is on reclaimed materials, such as the “GOLF'” signage, old tufted furniture, and old pipes used for the beer taps. We also talked about repeated elements of the brand throughout the space, as you can see in the custom wallpaper that’s also used on coasters. The angry monkey on the other side of the coaster is repeated as a crazy mural in the space as well, but my photography skills failed me when it came to shooting it, unfortunately… Check out the restaurant to see it in person!

It’s been a while since I’ve published an Inspired post! Life has been hectic for the past few weeks, so I’ve had to move some priorities around a bit, but I have a full slate of fun things to show and discuss over the summer! Stay tuned!

Small Cool on Apartment Therapy!


smallcoolscreenI know that eventually I’ll sound super obnoxious talking about this so much, buttttt I’m pretty excited about it and I want the world to know.

I’ve been picked as a contender for Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool contest! If you aren’t familiar with it, Small Cool is a contest that celebrates smart, stylish, and unique small homes from around the world. I’m in the “little” category, and I’m ONE SPOT AWAY from moving to the next round of the competition. Here’s what I’m working with…

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Sooo. Please click here to head over to Apartment Therapy to mark me as your favorite! I’ll be your best friend and I’ll owe you my life (a.k.a. cookies or something).


Mas Means More on Mornings Like These


I had such a great time sitting down to chat with Joy from Mornings Like These a few weeks ago to discuss inspiration, creativity, DIY, and other randomness! If you aren’t already into Mornings Like These (although I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be), be sure to follow her on Instagram ASAP. You’ll be inspired to make the most out of those early morning hours. Also, be sure to check out her blog to see some inspiring stories of other creatives/studios/businesses in the DC area. Here are a few photos that the amazing Emma Calary captured of my space that morning. To check out the entire interview (a.k.a. me blabbing my face off) and the rest of the shoot, hop on over to Mornings Like These!malcolm-58 malcolm-12 malcolm-43 malcolm-16 malcolm-11

All photos by Emma Calary Photography.

Inspired: El Centro D.F.


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Located in the heart of Georgetown (and with another location close to U Street), the authentically inspiring El Centro D.F. showcases an aesthetic that ties the brand directly to it’s Mexican-inspired menu. Richly dark woods and exposed brick walls contrast against other raw materials to create a truly inspiring space. Now, exposed wood beams and brick walls aren’t exactly novel concepts in the world of hospitality design these days, but it’s so refreshing to see a space like this one that utilizes those elements in a way that makes you feel transported to a different time and place. The space definitely has a darker vibe to it, but it’s lightened up through the use of skylights and and an open floor plan.

I’m digging the repeated display of skulls throughout the restaurant, usually in the form of wall murals, that are reminiscent of Día de Muertos. You already know that I’m a sucker for a brand’s logo being used in interesting ways, so I love seeing it implemented here as the mouth of a skull, as you can see in one of the above photos. You also already know that I’m a sucker for amazing food, which El Centro showcases in bounds!

Accessible Design Vol. 1


Sooo, seeking out awesome spaces to shoot has led me to find out how accessible it could be to incorporate certain design elements into my own spaces. I figured that it would be a cool idea to try and find similarly designed lighting, furniture, and other various housewares (ideally items on the inexpensive side since I tend to ball on a budget) that are easily available for anyone who vibes with some of my Inspired posts as of late. We’ll start out with this inspiring Spanish/modern space from Fuego!


1. Schoolhouse Electric Apartment Pendant
2. Target Threshold Starburst Mirror
3. Ikea Stockholm Sofa
4. Society 6 “Bike and Lines” Framed Art Print
5. Society 6 “Love Pattern” Framed Art Print

Ok, so some of these items really aren’t all that inexpensive, but I think a willingness to invest in quality pieces that’ll stick around for a while (both structurally and stylistically) is worth the price tag sometimes.

Inspired: Bluejacket


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This place is just too cool.

Bluejacket is an awesome brewery and restaurant located in southeast Washington, DC, right by Nats stadium. The space is housed in a former factory where workers once built boilers for ships, which is an aesthetic that fits the brand pretty perfectly. A palette of cool industrial elements, warm wooden accents, and an authentically classic-inspired brand combine to create an environment that speaks directly to the tradition of brewing great beer and creating good vibes.

Bluejacket is actually the name of the brewery, while The Arsenal is the the name of the restaurant and bar housed within the brewery. A very interesting dynamic! The handcrafted design of the identity for both Bluejacket and The Arsenal, used in a variety of forms throughout the space, reflect the handcrafted brews and food served at the restaurant. Unique branding for each of the beers that Bluejacket produces is also a pretty sweet touch.

I wish that I was more of a beer connoisseur so that I could speak more to the beers that I sampled while shooting the space, but I can definitely say that I was not disappointed!

Simple Ottoman DIY



What started out as one side table has turned into a few other small furniture projects. I never got a chance to take any sort of furniture building class in school, so these small projects are becoming really great and fun ways of teaching myself how (and how not, mostly) to build pieces that are both sturdy and functional.


I started out by grabbing a 17″x24″ slab of wood for the base of ottoman. There was no real rhyme or reason for that size, it just seemed to suit my needs pretty well. Next, I bought 2″ thick foam and got it cut down to the same size as the base. I also picked up a bunch of extra loft batting, which would wrap around the foam/wood to make for cushiony edges and corners. I used wood glue to adhere the foam to the wood and a staple gun to staple the extra loft batting around it all, like so (the batting is slightly see-through which is why it looks green):


Next, I wrapped the fabric around the wood/foam/batting and stapled it in place. I stapled one side completely, pulled the fabric to the other side so that it was as taut as it could be, stapled it in place while keeping it as taut as possible, and repeated that process for the remaining two sides. I had to do a little de-stapling and re-stapling to smooth out of some wrinkles in the fabric.


The underside of the wood was looking a little janky and incomplete, so I got some cambric fabric (typically used underneath couches and armchairs to keep dust and bugs and things out of the springs), cut it to the appropriate size, and stapled it in place to make things look a little more polished. I actually attached angled leg plates onto the bottom of the wood base before adding the cambric, just to hide them and to keep everything neat and clean.


I purchased these inexpensive 16″ tapered hardwood legs from and stained them a warm brown (Varathane light walnut). I applied a few coats to achieve the richness that I wanted, and then I applied two coats of matte polyurethane to finish them off. To screw the legs into the plates that were underneath the cambric at this point, I just used scissors to poke small holes where necessary and screwed them right in. And that’s it! A simple and unique piece that you can easily put together in a weekend.



Lessons learned: Next time, I would use a thicker piece of plywood for the base, just to ensure sturdiness and stability. I’d also try to think of a cleaner way to finish off the corners of the fabric, which was probably the hardest part of the whole project, weirdly.