Thursday, January 15, 2015

Architects Bobby McAlpine & David Baker, and Designer Susan Ferrier bring the appeal of Provenance to Austin: laV Restaurant

When Texas couple, Ralph and Lisa Eads, dreamed of opening a sophisticated dining destination in order to share their love of food and hospitality, they knew they wanted the famed architects Bobby McAlpine and his colleague David Baker, of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture, to head up the project.  The concept was to design a series of three rhythmic spaces or "rooms" at laV restaurant in the Eastside of Austin, Texas.  Located in an urban renewal warehouse district, the restaurant resides in a neo-industrial building modeled after a 1920's warehouse, with a brick-painted exterior, radiant steel windows, and steel entry door.  

laV is surrounded by rolling green hills, a historic cemetery, and an organic kitchen garden.  The architectural design came from direct conversations with the clients; Architect David Baker described the space as a "Gathering of life".

Designer Susan Ferrier of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, created a warm, captivating interior with an intimate ambiance and a casual terraced outdoor dining space.  The conversation between line, form, and volume of the architecture reads as masculine; the interiors have a feminine feel with tufted banquetes, handblown-glass lamps, mohair portiers, gorgeous chandeliers, and paintings of the lush French countryside envelope you in a rich and satisfying dining experience.

"The architecture is masculine," designer Susan Ferrier notes
"but the interiors have a feminine feel"

Much of the success of the interior lay in how Ms. Ferrier treated color, employing one neutral to play up the architecture in one space, and another neutral to play down the formality in another.  A sweep of color across the walls and curtains accented with an industrial feel, and balanced by gilt mirrors, tongue and grove painted walls, and glamorous chandeliers, is at once both rustic and refined.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Architect David Baker, who exceeded my expectation of a gracious Southern gentlemen and a famed architect, and who was, at once, generous with his time and his vast knowledge of architecture.  Throughout our conversation he would use the word transparency.  Transparency in architecture is not the same as looking straight through a building, it's not just a physical idea, it's also an intellectual one.  McAlpine and Baker masterfully framed each "room" with a 10 foot framed opening, as a design lending transparency and lightness to the restaurant in its entire.  It's flat gorgeous!

The result is laV is a beautiful restaurant that is visually discerning and offers a rustic yet refined cuisine inspired by Provence.  Emphasizing the ingredients of the season, the food by Executive Chef Allison Jenkins is at once both simple and soulful; the seductive desserts by Executive Pastry Chef Janina O'Leary add a sophisticated conclusion to the entire experience.  In addition to the food, Advanced Sommelier Vilma Mazaite along with owner Ralph Eads created, "one of the great wine programs in America." - from compelling value to uncompromising quality; with offerings from their favorite producers.

"Gathering of life" - Architect David Baker

Mr. Baker described the rooms as "Maturing in progress", if this is what maturing looks like I am all for it. 

My sincere thanks to McAlpine Tankersley Architecture for their unmerited kindness, and for always being a great source of inspiration for me.  To Mr. Richard Norris, Business & Marketing, thank you for your direction and subtle wit, that helped put me at ease, well at least as much as possible.  And a special thank you to architect David Baker, whose generous knowledge and resources were invaluable.

For more inspiration from these talented Architecture and design firms, you can see the post: Bobby McAlpine Light and Old World Refinement: A South African Cape Dutch Home HERE

I hope it's lovely where you are...

All the best, 

xx Rié

349 Peachtree Hills Avenue NE, Suite D1
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tel: 404.501.9200| Fax: 404.501.9288

124 Twelfth Ave South, Number 310
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615.259.1222| Fax: 615.259.1250

1133 Broadway, Suite 220
New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212.414.1272| Fax: 212.414.1273

The Pacific Building
501 Cloverdale Road, Suite 201
Montgomery, AL 36106
V: 334.262.8315   F: 334.262.8311

*All photos from the laV Restaurant


  1. Thanks for including our work here on your lovely blog. So glad you enjoyed our culinary handiwork!

    1. Mr. Tankersley, I am so honored; thank you for your kind comment, and for always being an inspiration! It's been a privilege. All the best to you and yours, Rié Moratto

  2. Well, Rie, this post is so appealing to us Texans. Of course, I didn't know of this lovely La V but you can bet on my next visit to the environs of Austin, where my daughter lives, we will be getting a reservation. I'm going to pass it on as well. Thank you for this lovely post. McAlpine & Tankersley are well known to almost of us, what beautiful work they do !!

    1. They do amazing work, that is why I posted this restaurant, it's beautiful, a great place to eat, and McAlpine & Tankersley and team did the work. It really doesn't get much better. Milieu magazine contacted me on Instagram and said they are working on a special project at laV! And that the food was delicious, so you and your lovely daughter will have a special time! I would love to hear about it. xx

  3. Oh my, now this is a restaurant with such style that I'd want to live there! It has a Belgian feel to nonsense, not too fluffy, just mature, smoky colors, fabulous. Hi Rié! Anita

    1. Hi Anita, miss your posts already. Wish you lived closer so you could teach my son French! He has taken three years, but they didn't offer a fourth. ? The McAlpine Tankersley team really did a gorgeous job! And your right, not to fluffy. Hugs!

  4. Hi Rie,
    I have you on my sidebar of blogs that inspire, this is why, for this very reason...what a place of beauty to dine, nothing in the design tones distract from its beauty or dinning experiance well thought out, and as for the private wine cellar dinning with your party what a feeling of euro chic.
    This restraurant finds me in the mood for some ultra fine dinning.




    1. Hi Doré, How very kind of you, I am grateful. Burlap Luxe, which I always look forward to, is on my signature sites and blogs as well. I agree, the design tones do not distract from the building, or more importantly the dinning experience, so many restaurants "decor" does. Thank you for coming by, and your kind words. Looking forward to your next post. xx Rié

  5. This restaurant is simply stunning! There is an Old World sophistication about it, yet there is absolutely nothing stale or "old" about the environment. The color palette and influx of light create a visual feast to compliment the cuisine. Such a lovely post!

    1. How kind, thank you! I agree, it is a visual feast! Thank you for coming by. All the best, Rié

  6. Julia Child said that people who love to eat are the best people. I would go further and say that people who can create a space like La V so that those of us who love to eat, while surrounded by beautiful architecture and decor, are the best people. Thank you for this post and your excellent blog!

    1. The architectural and design team of McAlpine Tankersly & McAlpine Booth Ferrier really are the best! I was very excited to see their work in a new venue, and I was not disappointed. Love the Julia Child quote; thank you for the kind words and for coming by. All the best to you, Rié

  7. What a beautiful restaurant from a talented group - one of our favorites!!

    1. Mine as well! Thank you for stopping by. All the best to you! Rié **Your book should be coming out soon, this summer?

  8. I am in constant awe of the remarkable talent of the McAlpine group and this did not dissappoint! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Cindy, I am as well! Thank you for the kind words and for stopping by. All the best to you and yours, Rié


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