I Will Never be an Interior Designer
I’m still looking for my bakery. Possible bakeries are not thick on the ground. Every time I walk into one of these potential spaces with a friend or contractor, they ask what I want of it. “Will this be sit down or grab and go?” the friend wants to know. “What will it look like up here in front?” “What kind of trims do you want?” asks the contractor. “Will you need structural changes?” All reasonable and important questions, but ones I’ve found surprisingly difficult to answer. The bakery I’ve built in my mind is so detailed and particular, the daydream is hard to cram into the imperfect reality of these spaces. So I tell the contractor about the utility hookups I’ll need and ask about daylighting. I stand by the front door with my friend and look around. “Sit down, for sure,” I tell him. “But no modern cafe minimalist with white subway tile and house plants!” Which gets a laugh, but isn’t a real answer.
If pressed about design and trims, I evade by describing the way I hope the space will feel, filled with light and warmth and the smell of baking bread, with friends and strangers talking over coffee and sweets at the long tables. Or maybe I describe the rough geometric patterns I love: flagstone floors, herringbone brick paths, cobblestones, ikat and shibori textiles, Mayan embroidery, Berber rugs, the sides of Appalachian barns. Perhaps, in a moment of literary overreach, I try to use the country kitchen of the beloved, plodding old books of my childhood as metaphor: the heavy crockery and scarred table, the light slanting across limewashed walls, and just outside the door a kitchen garden, beds lined in low, tidy box hedges and a fig tree espaliered against the sunny northern wall. But these aren’t answers either. These aren’t paint colors or building plans. I’m not sure they’re even a cohesive aesthetic. So, how do I want the retail bakery to look? What trims do I want? I couldn’t tell you. But maybe if you come across a pallet of salvaged brick, or reclaimed lumber with stories written across its grain, or wallpaper inspired by resist dyed textile, give me a call.
See you soon.
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