As restaurants are designed to look more and more like fantasies -- from vibrant Ialian trattorias to pristine Japanese palaces -- homeowners look at them for tips to use in their own homes.
As well as discreety concealed lighting, people are discovering how period furniture can be combined with contemproary backgrounds. Banquettes can not only save space but provide dividers at home between dining and cooking areas in the same room.
Even more dramatic are the antique elements of old restaurants, now being reproduced in many areas. A new vogue for stamped celings has sent manufacturers scurrying to reproduce some of the best of the old patterns for use in today's homes.
Frosted or bevelled galss, those hallmarks of ancient watering holes, are being manufactured in panels equally adaptable to restaurant or home. Wood fretwork, seen in turn-of-the-century pubs to divide bar from dining area, is churned out today to make handsome dividers for the home.
Still a favorite is the brass divider that bars and restaurants have begun to use again to separate two spaces that are on different levels. This can be used in your home, with or without a stepped space to divide.
In the family room of a modern home, I was asked to provide both seating and a game table, and the old familiar brass rail was a perfect choice to divide the space.
I carpeted the seating are in a practical, dense carpet with a Berber look, in off-white flecked with browns, blacks, and tans. Dark oak flooring covers the floor of the game table area, which is also used for breakfast and occasional dinners. The change in floor covering simulates a change in level.
To further divide the space visually, I used the thick brass railing available in restaurant supply stores, with three vertical brass posts firmly anchored to the floor and horizontal connectors framing the divider.
Deep green walls and a matching billiard green, felt-like upholstery on the seating are accented against the light color carpet and white marble table top. s
I used a wooden fan-plus-light fixture combination to blend with wood shutter doors to the kitchen, the chairs, the wood floor and the brass railing to give a feeling of instant nostalgia to this contemporary environment.