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Publication Date: 2016-02-09


Behind the Design: San Diego's Cafe Gratitude

Using mirrors, rustic materials and an eye-catching tiled floor that feels uniquely Californian, interior designer Wendy Haworth has created a sunny, laid-back luxe feel in the newest location of Southern California's popular Cafe Gratitude restaurants. Below, the designer shares with us her favorite part of the project, its challenges and what she's working on in the future.


Q: How did you get involved with the project?

A: San Diego is actually the third location that we’ve designed for the restaurant, after spots in Los Angeles and Venice. We’re currently working on a fourth in Newport Beach, which is opening very soon. It’s just called ‘Gratitude’ and will be more upscale with a full bar.

Q: How did the location influence the design of the restaurant?

A: Overall, we wanted to the space to feel as light and bright as possible to reflect the sunny, warm San Diego climate.

Q: The floor tile in the restaurant is beautiful. Tell us more about why and how it was chosen.

A: The tile is from Clé Tile, and we chose our own custom colors. It turned out perfectly. Deborah, the owner of Clé, has a great eye for tile and is an amazing resource.

Q: What is your favorite design element in the space?

A: I do love that floor. It’s become a bit of an Instagram star.

Q: What was the biggest challenge with the restaurant?

A: The two biggest challenges were the low ceilings and the long and narrow space. As a solution, we broke it up with screens and hung mirrors to create some width.

Q: You also do residential work. What are some of the main differences between designing a home and designing a restaurant?

A: With restaurant design there are a lot more codes that you need to be aware of, which can limit material choices and layout. But there is also more freedom with creating the big picture vision and experience for the space. With a restaurant, there’s the satisfaction of being able to fully complete the project whereas some residential projects are constantly evolving.

Q: Can you tell us about other hospitality and dining projects you have done?

A: Besides the four Café Gratitude restaurants, we designed Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, which is a sister restaurant.

Q: What projects do you have on the horizon?

A: We are designing the food and beverage spaces in a Los Angeles hotel opening at the end of this year and a restaurant in Echo Park.

Photography by Nicole LaMotte


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