Expanding and Updating Dining Venues
The main goal of this dining renovation and expansion was to provide a casual contemporary dining experience while also accommodating additional residents thanks to a new independent living product introduced on the campus. Casual dining was expanded and formal, full-service dining received a refresh in a more intimate restaurant space. As the only on-campus dining available to independent living residents, the kitchen and a portion of the dining area had to be functional throughout the carefully phased updates.
Building on the Popularity of Casual Venues
The tavern has always been a popular space with residents who frequently gather for pre-dinner happy hours. Many residents liked to remain in the tavern for dinner, but there was rarely enough seating. We incorporated two rarely used adjacent dining rooms to create a larger, less formal venue modeled after a local Williamsburg-style pub.
In the casual bistro expansion and addition, display cooking now brings the sights and sounds of food preparation out into the dining area as well as giving residents more opportunities to interact with those preparing their meals. The appealing colonial elements were maintained, but updated with a fresh and natural color scheme that reflects the vibrancy of the adjacent patio and the campus landscaping visible through the large storefront-style windows.
We replaced formerly obtrusive acoustic panels in the formal dining venue with panels that blend into the surroundings, but still help with acoustics in the space. Wait stations are now smaller and in less obtrusive locations allowing the food and ambiance to take center stage instead of the serving utilities. Additionally, soft seating added around the refaced two-sided fireplace not only serves as a focal point, but to also offer diners a comfortable place to sit while waiting to be seated for dinner.
Introducing an Outdoor Dining Option
An new outdoor patio area provides an al fresco dining opportunity. This popular new space features dining tables, a pavilion, fire pit and outdoor grilling area. Community gardens needed to be relocated to make room for the dining addition and patio. Residents, initially resistant to moving their gardens, were satisfied with replacement gardens in a new location and the new space has become a well-loved amenity for all residents.
On the tight site, a new maintenance building needed to sit directly beside the expanded patio. Thus, this service building received a higher level of detail/finishes including a herringbone brick detail inset into stucco wall, a partially bricked façade, as well as a roof that coordinates with the adjacent dining gazebo to make the back of the building a feature instead of an eyesore. Additionally, the existing pond located only steps away from the expanded patio needed special considerations and protection both while the renovations were in progress and after completion to keep the view to the pond open. Instead of taller shrubbery, groundcover plantings allow for unobstructed views.
Award: Environments for Aging Remodel-Renovation Competition Bronze Winner
“What an upgrade for the lives of the residents and guests. The addition of casual dining and outdoor dining complements the services already provided and rounds out the offering with an understated elegance. I appreciated the effort taken to break a large space into more intimate “rooms” that provide great scale. The colors, textures, patterns are selected to engage, but not overpower, the individual entering the space. The storefront windows connect the outdoor spaces with the indoor areas nicely. I also appreciate the attention to the view shed and additional work done on the maintenance building to enhance the experience for those on the patio. The display cooking in the casual dining area creates an energetic and engaging experience as well.”
Photography Credit: Nathan Cox Photography