Please note at the end of this post there is a fabulous Share to Win Contest!

PUNCH INSIDE had the privilege of being the interior design team for the recent changes to Shadow Lawn Inn, a historic business located in Rothesay.

Along with Shadow Lawn’s proprietors, Mary Ann & Jamie Gallagher, we are delighted to reveal their redesigned restaurant: the former Side Door Café has been transformed into The Robertson Restaurant.  In addition to the Restaurant, cosmetic changes to the Inn’s design include the main front hall, including new paint, wallpaper, and lighting. In addition, although we had no hand in it, Mary Ann and Jamie and their staff completed an overhaul of the kitchen.

The restaurant shut down for a week beginning on March 15th and reopened for lunch the following Monday. Our challenge was to introduce a heritage feel in the 1992-built restaurant while updating the space; allowing it to make a more contemporary statement. The Robertson’s new design respects the history of the Inn while bringing the restaurant forcefully into the 21st century.

Like so many of you, we all have our own personal memories and connections to Shadow Lawn and events that have happened in our lives. My connection began in 1967, the day after my parents picked me up from the orphanage, we spent our first night together here as a family.  At that time Willy Ward was the proprietor.  My father was going to begin what would end up being his 26-year-long teaching career at Rothesay Collegiate School (now known as RNS), but the house they were to move into wasn’t quite ready.  So, in my new adopted family, my first home was Shadow Lawn Inn.  It’s always held many memories for me growing up, including one of my weddings (yes, there’ve been more than one) and the reception for my mother’s funeral.

To be honest, given my connections to the Inn, I had tears in my eyes when Mary Ann and Jamie asked me to help them transform their space.  It’s been a true honour and privilege and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Enough sentiment:  On to the Makeover!


The restaurant lacked atmosphere and direction in its design. It had been built as an add-on to the existing Inn back in 1992 and the former outside windows of the Inn were still visible in the restaurant.  A mishmash of furnishings, various placement of artwork and poor lighting didn’t add up to a cohesive setting.  The ceiling seemed disconnected because it was so high.  It all simply needed a transformation.
In the basement we stumbled upon this ‘treasure’ – what appeared to be an old bar of sorts.
We also came across this old rickety table under a pile of boxes.  Read on to see what becomes of it!

What we did:

The history of Shadow Lawn dates back to 1870, when Mr. James F. Robertson, founding partner and later President of Manchester Robertson Allison (MRA), one of Saint John’s premier department stores, built Shadow Lawn in Rothesay as a summer home. Mr. Robertson became the springboard for the restaurant’s design when I spotted a beautiful old counter while touring through the Inn’s basement. According to the Gallaghers, it was the original tie counter used at the MRA department store. The counter was cleaned and brought upstairs to be used as a bar, a focal point of the design, and a testament to the Inn’s founder. It is now a great place for guests to have a quick lunch, pre-dinner drink or a night cap!  And, of course this discovery also inspired the new name for the restaurant:  The Robertson.
Another basement find, and one that now serves to deepen the Robertson’s connection to its past, was a table used by Canadian Customs to inspect luggage from passenger ships in the late 40s and 50s in Montreal’s Old Port. Jamie Gallagher’s grandfather, Captain C.H.D Evans, was a Superintendent at the Port of Montreal for a major British transport business. Captain Evans took possession of the table in the 1960s and it has remained in the Gallagher’s family ever since. What the family has always called the Old Montreal Table was sanded, sealed and repurposed as a new communal table in The Robertson.
Additional changes to our design included new lighting, new paint colours from Benjamin Moore, new flooring, new ticking napkins, new succulent centrepieces and the introduction of the ‘holding bar’ with the stools and all the seating is brand new also.


We encourage you to click on the photos for full resolution screen.  All after photography is by Kelly Lawson.
The Robertson [WEB]-56
The Robertson [WEB]-6
Remember that piece of furniture we discovered in the basement? It now serves as a lovely holding bar for the restaurant, combined with four modern stools.
The Robertson [WEB]-67
The Robertson [WEB]-16
The Robertson [WEB]-24
The new lighting is meant to suggest pinecones, a common feature of life on Maiden Lane where Shadow Lawn Inn is located.
The Robertson [WEB]-17
A new wall was built to cover windows that once served as the original building’s outer wall. Lise Hansen from Bonfire Communications created a series of three illustrations that hang on the wall depicting the Robertson legacy at both the Inn and the department store.
The Robertson [WEB]-23
Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.05.12 PM
Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.05.40 PM
Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.06.03 PM
Remember the “Old Montreal’ table we found covered in dust in the basement?  It now serves as a communal table for six in the corner of the restaurant.
The Robertson [WEB]-45
The Robertson [WEB]-37
The Robertson [WEB]-31
The Robertson [WEB]-27
We added six modern chairs from Tuck Studio to contrast with the rustic table top.
The Robertson [WEB]-43
Simple succulents in Terra Cotta pots are the new centrepieces.

The Robertson [WEB]-35
The ticking napkins enhance the ‘modern classic’ vibe of the restaurant.
The Robertson [WEB]-38
The Robertson [WEB]-51

Please see at the bottom of this post a full photo album of our ‘after’ pictures by Kelly.
Lunch and dinner guests are loving the new space and we couldn’t (collectively) be more pleased.
We look forward to sharing evening time photography with you once the snow disappears. The Robertson takes on an intimate feel in the evening as all the lights are on dimmers and reflect beautifully on the windows.


Projects like this don’t happen without the support and hard work of a team.  We truly enjoyed every minute working with Mary Ann, Jamie and their incredible staff.  Charlie – you are a prince among men.

The Robertson:

Construction: Elevation Contractors
Electrical: Duncan’s Electrical Ltd.
Painting: Legacy Painters / Benjamin Moore Colour Collections & Décor Ltd.
Illustration/ Branding: Lise Hansen/Bonfire
Picture Framing:  Citadel Gallery & Mario’s Picture Framing
Copper Decals:  InColour Printing Inc.
Lights and Furnishing: TUCK STUDIO  six chairs under the new Montreal Table, the 4 Gus* Modern School Stools, the ticking napkins, mirrors, and all lighting from Vita (Denmark).
Interior Design & Creative Direction: Judith Mackin | PUNCH INSIDE

Front of House:

Painting:  Dynamic Painting
Floors (kitchen/hallway area):  B&N Flooring

The main hall had dark, dated paint colours and had begun to look somewhat cluttered with heavy frames and furniture.  The beautiful moulding and features of the hall became overshadowed by the heavy paint colour, very much tied in with a 1990’s colour.


The Robertson [WEB]-59
By painting out the entire space one uniform colour it allowed the features such as the central historic pendant light, along with the beautiful moulding to really stand out.
We added one feature colour on the fireplace wall to enhance the mirror.
The Robertson [WEB]-60
We added a very simple wallpaper pattern to run up the stairs, giving it a modern, yet hint, of a historic touch.
The Robertson [WEB]-61
The Robertson [WEB]-64
At the top of the stairs we removed an old ceiling fan and replaced it with ‘Medusa’ that now welcomes the overnight guests.


Shadow Lawn will host an open house on April 10th from 2-4pm.
Everyone is welcome to tour through the renovations and see the new restaurant.




Draw to take place on April 15th 2015.

Best Wishes. As always, thank you so much for reading.  Be sure to make reservations right away!

Get the latest

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and promotions.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Recent posts