Design Focus: Monteiths

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Every now and then my eyes are out on stalks when a refurbishment’s popping back at me. Monteiths, the latest bar-bistro to grace Glasgow’s Clarkston area, is a case in point.

Owned and operated by Suburban Taverns, the Reilly family’s pubco that’s behind Loks Bar & Kitchen on the southside of the city, it’s a cathedral of interior design influences.

It’s managed by Brian Rafferty, who told DRAM, “There’s so much detail to the design and a lot of hard work went into it, and so much care and attention is evident everywhere you look. I personally really like the wooden floor, which was reclaimed from a gym. Customers have been impressed by what we’ve done.”

The principle contractor was Blevins Ltd. Thr3 Design was responsible for delivering the new look and Director, Suzy Kingswood, said, “We designed the ground floor to feel as though you are walking into established premises, drawing design detail from old anaglypta wall coverings and traditional mouldings, with every item within the space bespoke to fit the unusual layout. The floor is reclaimed pitch-pine throughout most of the areas.”

She continued, “The mood changes as you walk upstairs where an unexpected quirky wall mural pulls you upwards to a more contemporary-themed but relaxed dining area, tempered down to less refined materials, albeit still beautiful, with brighter colours and an incredible pass-view into the kitchen area. The carefully curated art work and bric-a-brac has been selected to give interest to every surface.”

Now comes the part of the feature when I traditionally point out what I consider to be the design highlights, but this one’s so involved that I’m going to have to be ruthless here. Let me start by setting the scene: Monteiths is over two floors, both of which benefit from big windows that let in acres of natural light.

Let’s kick things off with the L-shaped ground floor, which is one long area with the bar, giving way to an area at the back containing booths and a carpeted area complete with what appears to be a log-burning stove. Ground floor design standouts are the bar itself, which has a sparkly quality to it and we can hold the black and white marble bar-top, gold shelving and twinkly fairy-lights all responsible for this.

This floor’s little greenhouse also caught my eye. It houses some plants and boasts even more fairy-lights. Likewise all the plants hanging from the ceiling look smart and kind of comforting and are perhaps even a nod to climate change, who knows.

The more you look around this floor, the more textures, styles and colours catch your eye, like the corrugated tan leather booths, a carpeted (high-pile that tenderly cushions your step) area around said log-burner. Then there’s the exposed brick, anaglypta and the shiny ceiling tiles. And let’s not forget the exposed brick that looks like it’s been dusted with pink icing, on top of which sits a big sign that reads ‘Monteiths Emporium.’

There are likewise many many mirrors and pictures, large screen TVs and spotlights. And that’s just the ground floor.
Moving upstairs, the space is significantly smaller, comprising a seating area, bar, and that window on the kitchen, which really opens up the space.

But before you get to this you have to negotiate an interesting stairway design with wallpaper depicting a forest, with a climbing monkey ornament making his way up one of the trees. A cluster of wicker-shaded pendant lights and stylish pictures also make these stairs a delight to climb, and you might get a crick in your neck attempting to ogle it all, if you’re not careful.

The forest wall-covering theme continues on the first floor, likewise the plant theme, with baskets containing greenery whose leaves are spilling from them, hanging from the ceiling. The white wood chairs and tables look fresh and so does the turquoise/green leather upholstery on the booths.

Exposed brick has been used here, too, and one wall also has the words ‘Herb Garden’ emblazoned on it, around which are dotted herb plants on shelves.

The bar is constructed from bits of stone that look like the stacked blocks in a game of Jenga, on top of which is a white marble bar top, beautifully up-lit. Then there’s the metal shelving displaying bottles of whisky, and sundry other bits of bric-a-brac, like mirrors, pictures in contrasting shapes and sizes, plus more pendant lights dolled up in wicker shades.

On the way back to the office and as my brain got on top of processing the many-sided Monteiths’ interior design I decided that I liked it very much. It has a style all its own. Thr3 Design has followed what is fashionable in design terms, as much as they haven’t, which is always refreshing to see. And brave. Plus it’s all been executed well.

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