Commercial Remodeling

Asian Aura

Blending Asian and contemporary flavors, Studio H+L's James Linville and Lina Husodo recast this Chinese restaurant's ho-hum patio as a hip but friendly sushi bar. A previous owner had added the 1,000-square-foot enclosure to the front of the Austin, Texas, building. The current owner, thinking the patio too nondescript, wanted something in its place that would add style and better distinguish the restaurant.

Husodo and Linville devised an unusual, contemporary design to identify the new sushi bar as an exclusive, "boutique" eatery. An oval-shaped bar with LED-illuminated translucent glass panels imparts the style and singularity the owner wanted. Visible from the restaurant's dining room, the eye-catching panels tie the two rooms together, while the bar's distinctive curves help circulate traffic.

Asian motifs threaded throughout are meant to accent the decor but not compete with it. Prominent among these features are a Japanese-style canopy and custom mahogany entry doors bearing a Chinese-inspired design. Other subtle Asian touches include gold-painted walls, the rich, dark wood of the bar and matching tables, and plum-colored seat coverings. Tempering the cool blues in the lighting scheme, these warmer tones infuse the small space with an intimate feel.

The judges praised the project's low cost, a result, Husodo says, of paring down a more elaborate design and choosing, wherever possible, low-cost materials that fit the design scheme.

©Paul Bardagjy

Category: Commercial remodeling, under $250,000

Location: Austin, Texas

Contractor: Curtis Waneck, Rayco Enterprises, Austin

Designer: Lina Husodo, AIA , and James Linville, AIA, Studio H+L, Austin

REMODELING Design Awards 2003