Design Tips from Restaurant Pros

By Ratha Tep Posted May 07, 2007

Two big mounds of homemade sausage smothered in a divinely garlicky rosemary-parsley sauce, on top of an entire plateful of ultra-tender lentils: I thought things couldn't get any better last night at Provence, the Manhattan restaurant that Five Points and Cookshop owners Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman renovated and reopened last month. Then I went downstairs to the bathroom and suddenly felt like I was inside a book: All the walls in the tiny ladies room are covered with pages from Victor Hugo's classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the walls of the men's bathroom is lined with Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers). Today, I called Freeman to ask how the walls were done and whether the process could be replicated at home. Fortunately, the answer—if you have a lot of patience—is yes. Designers Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer bought hardcover books (look for ones with creamy paper to give the room a nice glow), used a straight-edge razor to cut pages out, and then spent days applying them to the walls with wallpaper glue, which they then covered with a matte sealer. "Our horror is that someone will graffiti all over it," says Freeman. "But we have spare pages, just in case."

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