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Design at Our House

Photos courtesy of VIP Studios in Davis.

….Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got…..
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot….(You know the lyrics. Sing it with me)…..Chorus: Where everybody knows your name….. and they’re always glad you came…..

The vibe at Our House has a familiar and welcoming spirit. So it’s no surprise to find out that the owners are long-time Davis locals and business owners. Charlie Swanson and Jon Sanchez are co-owners of the newest restaurant to open in Downtown Davis. Swanson has been the owner-operator for the well-known sports bar, The Davis Graduate aka The Grad located on Russell Boulevard in West Davis. Jon Sanchez’s background has been in real estate and restaurants. As a past chef of Sacramento restaurants, it has been a dream of Jon’s to be a chef/owner of his own restaurant. When the 808 Second Street became available, Charlie knew it was the right time to act on it and contacted Jon about teaming up together to create a destination for great food, fabulous drinks, an impressive wine list and, most importantly, a local spot where friends could meet on a regular basis. Along with a desirable menu, it was extremely important to the team to have the restaurant aesthetic convey a sophisticated tone yet be comfortable for the low-key nature of the area. Establishing the overall look of Our House was a team effort; joining Jon and Charlie with their design input were wives Cary Arnold and Rochelle Swanson. This group of four experienced foodies and observers of the various components of the restaurant business, rolled up their sleeves and never looked back. With the help of many local, talented friends, Our House offers an interior collection of artful works creating a relaxed and hip energy to enjoy while dining or at the bar. The goal of the design aspect of Our House was to collaborate as a group and create a space that re-used and re-habbed salvaged materials. According to the owners and their wives it has been a labor of love.

Friend to the Sanchez/Swanson team, Kim Merrell Lamb helped suggested gun-metal gray color creating an urban feel to the space. The leather couches and ottomans give structure and define the lounge, but the warm red hues of the chairs soften this seating area at Our House. Pillows and decor from West Elm and Etsy enhance the seating area,  as does the nine-piece ‘Dream Sequence’ by Martin Mull on loan to Our House from the Greg and Kari Fry collection. This art wall anchors the lounge area of Our House.

Charming, local, farmhouse windows salvaged by friend Steve Boschken add interest and the story behind the acquistion adds depth to the decor at Our House.

Our House offers a variety of seating. Here, tables for two are featured for more intimate dining. The table bases and all the chairs were recycled from Explorit Science Center in Davis. The table-tops are the result of the creative millwork done by local contractor and lifetime Davis resident, Brendan O’Hara. The Sequoia Redwood used for the bar and high-top community tables was salvaged from the Tahoe Park Neighborhood in Sacramento where coincidentally Jon grew up.  The result is amazing and adds so much to the overall feel of the restaurant. The natural tones from the wood alongside the charcoal walls with the pop of weathered red is an appealing mix of color and texture.

The bar is certainly a focal point for the restaurant. Behind the top-shelf bottles and pitchers of fresh-squeezed juices the bartenders use to craft their custom drink menu, is a beautiful backdrop created by the talented Davisite Mike Wyman. He designed the back of the bar using his painted metal technique. The result is a look that is appears to be either suede or burl wood. The metal appears warm with depth, and richness with the colors Wyman applied so artistically. Mike Wyman is also the graphic artist who designed the Our House branding. His company, Wyman Design, developed the website and signage for Our House. The extensive bar top was made with the Sequoia Redwood still has the rough, aged bark exposed on the edge of the bar. This texture along the bar adds strength and creates a rustic element to an otherwise metro-feel. Above the bar (not pictured in this image) are pendant lights from Lumens, a splurge of the owners but so, so worth it! They’re the jewelry that make the outfit.

These stools are fun, different, relaxed and easy for mingling at the bar. Convenient hooks are situated under the bar to hang coats and belongings. The exposed, polished concrete floor has been around for over thirty years of restaurant-use; first as California Cafe then Aioli and now Our House.
The aged patina is a perfect partner with the bar stools and redwood bar top.

A nice addition to the somewhat masculine aesthetic of Our House is the “Lovers’ Booth”. Aptly named for its luxurious privacy draperies, crystal chandelier and pillows, diners may choose whether or not to draw the curtains…..

This is where Brendan O’Hara really demonstrates his skill and flair….Wood becomes art here. Brendan used salvaged fencing boards from Charlie’s house to create this installation that makes such an impact walking into Our House. It was reported that the redwood fence boards were used to line and surround the hostess stand as well. Carrying these design elements throughout the restaurant give a cohesiveness that makes for a polished impression overall.

Existing skylights offer effective natural lighting and at night the ambiance is more of a club feel. Tables can be moved accordingly to fit larger parties. A banquet room will become available in the near future offering private party space.

Across from the bar are two longer tables made by Brendan O’Hara from the same Sequoia Redwood. The red, leather bar chairs add a splash of color and make this spot special. These tables offer a community experience. Locals mix and mingle here. With views of the flat screens, guests can enjoy sports or the Food Network. It isn’t uncommon to see local politicians, business owners and friends and family of the owners at Our House. This can be a spot for networking, but most important to the owners of Our House it is a restaurant where they want their patrons to feel at home.

Upon entry of Our House, the scope of the restaurant can be seen – bar in front, table seating beyond. More redwood paneling surrounds the kitchen wall and above it is an original 1955 Hiawatha bicycle. The vintage bike is a nod to Davis’ reputation and on loan to Our House from Doug Arnold. This new restaurant is so much more than a place to eat and drink. The thought and care behind all the decisions building the business are evident – the food (buying local and serving modern comfort food) the bar (making interesting drinks with fresh ingredients), the design (creating a welcoming, hip setting with an on-trend vibe) make it a business with a savvy heart, especially when so many of the participants are lifetime Davis friends. Our House serves up a fantastic menu to be enjoyed in an environment that takes you away while you’re still at home.

Photos courtesy of Ara Arbabzadeh from VIP Studios. www.vipimages.com

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