Welcome to our Client Spotlight blog series, where we take a closer look at some of our favourite completed projects. Here we catch up with Jonathan Lea, co-owner of Loxleys in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, to hear about his objectives for redesigning the restaurant…

The location

Loxleys is a popular wine bar and restaurant in the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Located on Sheep Street, an area of the town known for its high-quality eateries, the venue had been open for five years and Faber was enlisted to update the design to help differentiate it from local competitors and remain relevant in an evolving market.

Stratford-upon-Avon attracts more than 2.5 million visitors each year and has a population of just 28,000. With this in mind, the restaurant needed to be prominent and showcase the Loxleys brand to passers-by, whilst remaining sympathetic to the historic building and surroundings.

The brief

“We wanted to stand out,” explains Jonathan Lea, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, John. “All these buildings are really similar, so you can’t help but look the same. It was a ladies’ clothes shop for 55 years before us, so it was really old fashioned.” As a listed building, there were restrictions on how much the outside could be changed, so the full potential of the interior design needed to be maximised in order to create a memorable but tasteful experience for diners.

Jonathan and John were keen to get the input of design professionals and had no initial ideas on the finer details of the design. “We didn’t have a clue!” laughs Jonathan. “We’re two northern blokes, we don’t have a clue about trends. We sat down with Tony and Anouska, and said, right; we want to keep the character of the building because it’s so important to us; we want to increase covers, because, obviously, that’s the whole point of the exercise; and we want it more on-trend – without being too over the top. We didn’t want something that was going to go out of fashion in five minutes.”

Good food. Premium experience. Good company. Young at heart.

Working with the Faber design team, four key principles were developed that would be communicated through the interior design. These were: a place to enjoy good food, a premium customer experience, good company, and a young-at-heart attitude.

Faber achieved this by creating a design that cultivated a feeling of comfort and luxury, whilst maintaining a sense of fun through quirky and bold accessories, such as pineapple light fittings and palm-print wallpaper. Luxe metallic, leather and wood finishes give the space a premium feel and a colour palette of deep blues and greens complements the restaurant’s cosy and intimate atmosphere.

Inspired by the original signage for Loxleys which featured a feather motif, a narrative was built around this, incorporating bird and feather references into the wall art and other accessories throughout the design.

The outside courtyard area was also redesigned, with heaters and a retractable roof added to make better use of the space and allow for six extra tables, all year round. In total, Loxleys’ covers have increased from approximately 80 to around 100 as a result of the refurbishment and the redesign has been well received by customers, creating an interior that matches the quality of the food. “I just think the place looks fantastic, I really do,” says Jonathan. “It’s exactly what we wanted – we would never have thought of it ourselves – but it is exactly what we wanted.”