About a year and a half ago we had the opportunity and privilege to undertake the Saint John Ale House pub makeover with Peter Stoddart and his contracting team, Peace of Mind Management. Since that time we have made steady changes to the upstairs of the Saint John Ale house, including new lights and some decor. However, the keg room, one of the most under-utilized spaces in the restaurant, was in need of a face-lift. The Keg room’s purpose when the restaurant opened over ten years ago was for a more classic dining area versus a dynamic event space. But, as with any business space like a restaurant, styles change, and this room had become dated. The room also presented some unique design challenges: the chairs were extremely heavy and the long banquette seating also made it difficult to switch the room up for various configurations. Additionally, there was a space in the far corner that wasn’t being utilized in a proper fashion for storage, and the lure of looking in at the kegs had lost its appeal.
When Peter approached us he indicated he wanted the keg room to be more a versatile space for events. He wanted to have chairs that were easy to move or, better yet, easy to stack. He also found the space dark and nondescript. He also knew that he wanted the space to reflect the changes that had been made throughout the bar and restaurant. And so, with those marching orders firmly in mind, we came up with a new design for the ‘Keg Room’!
All After Photography: Kelly Lawson
AFTER: Introducing the ‘OH! ROOM – the stand-up/sit down event room.’
The first thing we wanted to do was to ensure that the new space flowed nicely with the existing and updated SJAH restaurant and pub. It was important that this room feel like the rest of the restaurant as it also would continue to act as regular restaurant seating when not in use for events. We accomplished this by adding warm elements such as new lighting, distressed wood (Hemlock) on the walls, sanding the floors, building new tables, and adding new chairs. All chairs and lighting through Tuck Studio. Hemlock from Jonathan Dutra.
The new chairs were the springboard for the space’s new identity! One of the favourite brand partners we have with Tuck Studio is Umbra and we are major fans of the iconic Oh Chair designed by Karim Rashid. These chairs are not only comfortable, beautiful, and inexpensive, but extremely lightweight and easy to stack and move around. We designed the logo with Lise Hansen / Bonfire communications, taking a playful approach of the SJAH’s regular logo (featuring the cleaver). Here you can see we’ve replaced the cleaver with the Oh Chair and have identified in the tag line that this room is a stand up/sit down event space.
The following pictures illustrate just a few of the dozens of configurations on how the Oh! Room can be used for events.
One configuration includes all 60 Oh Chairs facing the Hemlock wall with the plexiglass podium facing in a different direction.
Here you can see how easily the chairs stack if, after the sit down portion (corporate meeting, wedding, etc), you want to have an open space for a dance or a stand up mixer.
And, of course the new tables come into play for large groups for dinner. These tables can be configured in dozens of ways or the SJAH team can take them out to create more space for a stand up reception.
The space along the wall where the bulky banquette used to be is now open for small intimate spaces for 8 to 16 people, or as you can see by the pics below, it can grow to 20 people or to 26 people, all under the constellation of warm lights.
The lights also act as a nice anchor to set up a bar underneath them.
Below, here’s Peter, my friend, client and repeat collaborator. You’ll note that behind him is a double sliding barn door which now allows renters to place their items in storage while their event is going on.
As with all projects, they only happen with a dedicated team! Here is the Peace of Mind Management team along with Leading Edge Electrical.
We encourage you to scroll through the entire photo gallery and be inspired! Drop in for lunch, or book your next event at the Oh! Room.
As always, we thank Peter and his team for allowing us the privilege to partner with them on their new interior designs. Up next? Washrooms!