Shannon and John Brito were preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of their restaurant, the perfectly named Wickford on the Water, when you know the story... COVID hit. “The pandemic really limited our dining space,” says Shannon. In a brilliant move, the Britos decided to use an existing office to expand the footprint of the restaurant. “It is really important to us that we strictly adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, so being able to expand was a great opportunity to continue to serve our customers safely,” Shannon says. Husband John adds, “Wickford is a special place and we are really proud to be a part of this community.”
Shannon explains that for this new room, she wanted something fresh and fun. “With it being waterfront, we wanted it to have a coastal feel.” The Britos called on Michelle Lee Parenteau of Michelle Lee Designs, a Johnston-based full-service interior designer, who is also an abstract artist and well-known for her bold but cohesive use of color and pattern. After getting to know the Britos’ vision, Parenteau got busy designing and assembling samples, supplies, and vendors.
To transform an office into a dining area, the project began with some structural modifications, including removing the drop ceiling to create more space. Parenteau dry-laid hexagon tile herself to the front of the bar into a design that bleeds into the hardwood flooring. When it came time to outfit the room, Parenteau found inspiration from the water right outside. “Color is so important, especially in a restaurant.I wanted it to feel like a Caribbean getaway.” Even the barstools were custom-made and trimmed with bright blue metal. Round basket-weave pendants and a multi-tone wallpaper along with splashy artwork combine to make this formerly gray room into a jaunty meeting spot. “Especially with COVID, I wanted to create a space that makes you forget about the outside world just for a little while,” says Parenteau.
“We have added an additional bar with a great water view, giving patrons a total of three bars to choose from,” says Shannon, who notes that the restaurant was able to remain open the entire time. “We think the design of this room is really special from the custom bar and tile, to the original artwork and the beautiful lighting, and we’re looking forward to showing it off!”
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