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In 2009 Urbanomic Interiors helped Caroline Ishii and David Loan turn their dream of opening a gourmet Vegan restaurant in Ottawa into reality, w… Read More
In 2009 Urbanomic Interiors helped Caroline Ishii and David Loan turn their dream of opening a gourmet Vegan restaurant in Ottawa into reality, while filming the reality TV series "The Restaurant Adventures of Caroline and Dave." Read Less
Published:
Zen Kitchen
Before & After
Completion June 2009

Chef Caroline Ishii and Sommelier David Loan made a bold move by opening Ottawa's first gourmet Vegan restaurant.  They began by purchasing an existing restaurant on Somerset St in Ottawa's Chinatown, and proceeded to completely revamp it with the help of Urbanomic Interiors, who acted as Designer and Project Manager for the implementation of the design.  The project was featured on the reality TV show "The Restaurant Adventures of Caroline and Dave" which documents the couple's experience of quitting their jobs and following their dreams.  The show was aired on HGTV in Canada in 2010.

“Heidi Helm is a very talented designer who worked with us inimagining and implementing the design and renovation of ZenKitchen restaurantfrom start to finish. She is inventive in coming up with unique ideas to meetthe needs of the client. A very hardworking, dedicated and enthusiasticindividual, it was a pleasure to work with her this on this project.” CarolineIshii, Owner –ZenKitchen January 23, 2011

BEFORE: The drab dining room with cluttered seating.
BEFORE:  The view towards the kitchen.  The staircase was tucked behind a partition (on the right.) Dated lighting and a defunct air purifier hung from the ceiling.
BEFORE:  Behind the green parition was an opening into the kitchen.  In order to create enough wall space for a backbar,  Urbanomic Interiors opted to tear out the wall and relocate the entrance to the kitchen. 
BEFORE:  The existing bar was cluttered and tiny.  Urbanomic Interiors relocated the bar altogether,  allowing this area to be opened up to create a hallway leading to the new kitchen entrance.
BEFORE & AFTER:  The exterior deck floor had to be completely rebuilt due to rot.  Fresh exterior paint, new tables, umbrellas and planters now attract patio seekers in the warm months.
PLANS & DESIGNS:  AutoCAD drawings showing demolition plan, new partitions, new furniture layout & flooring design.
LIGHTING & ELECTRICAL DESIGNS:  Urbanomic Interiors planned the lighting layout, switching zones and selected all fixtures.
AFTER:  The goal was to create an environment that was sophisticated but not pretentious.  Urbanomic Interiors achieved this by pairing clean lines clean with rich, warm colours which were inspired by Chef Ishii's spice rack.  The solid cherry tables with high gloss finish were crafted by Caroline  Duhaime of DeJunkt Designs and the first of many art installments curated by Beth Greenhorn featured art by Patti Normand.  A dark ceiling creates the illusion of a more cavernous space, especially when the lights are low.
AFTER:  In order to reduce sound pollution a very high bench back was created.  Urbanomic opted to leave the small windows unadorned in order to let as much light in as possible.  The vinyl floor tiles are by Armstrong.
AFTER:  The dining room is now inviting, lively and organized with flexible seating that can be arranged to handle groups of different sizes.
AFTER:   Owner and Sommelier David Loan pours a beverage from his post behind the new bar, which occupies the wall where the old kitchen entrance was located.  The bar was finely crafted to designer spec, by Tobias Rhiele of Against The Grain Woodworking.  All loose seating in the space was furnished by Gozmo of Montreal.