Open Hearth: 7 Design Ideas to Steal from Dunsmoor in LA
“We were inspired by ritual meals: church banquets, Sabbath gatherings, and old American dining halls,” say Karen Spector and Alan Koch of studio Lovers Unite. “We were thinking a lot about the soul importance of gathering.”
It was—no surprise—peak pandemic, and the duo was working with chef Brian Dunsmoor on the design of his eponymous restaurant, Dunsmoor, in LA, where, with a few exceptions, the open kitchen is powered not by electricity but by hand, cooked not on modern appliances but with fire.
Previously, the circa 1929 Spanish Revival building was “a dusty, partially demolished and partially framed shell,” luckily with some original plaster and brickwork still intact. “We did everything we could to enhance the bones of the building and not ruin the character. It’s rare to find commercial properties with so much history and character in Los Angeles.”
The centerpiece of the space became the open hearth and working kitchen, which had to be equal parts functional and attractive. “We created a narrative about Dunsmoor the character based on Brian’s travels around the country,” the designers add. “Our references were pulled from Shaker spaces as well as JB Blunk’s home in Northern California.”
Here, 7 design ideas to borrow from Dunsmoor.
Photography by Chris Mottalini, courtesy of Lovers Unite.