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Food for Thought Architect Joe Herrin, principal of Seattle’s Heliotrope Architects, and James Beard Award–winning chef Holly Smith talk us through Café Juanita’s sophisticated remodel. Written by STACY KENDALL : Photographed by ALEX HAYDEN

Serious food lovers from around the globe have pilgrimaged to Café Juanita since chef Holly Smith purchased the Italian restaurant 15 years ago. Though the restaurant’s food and service win prestigious industry awards, until recently its look—it’s housed in a converted midcentury residence in suburban Kirkland, Washington—was a downbeat contrast to the high-toned cuisine created inside. Built as a family home in 1955, the structure was remodeled into a restaurant by acclaimed architect Paul Kirk in 1980. By 2015, the place was riddled with water damage, the interiors were dated, and the kitchen was about to fall through the floor. So Smith hired architect Joe Herrin, cofounder of Heliotrope Architects, to renovate and expand it. Shortly after the reopening, in July 2015, we sat in on a dialogue between chef and architect, curious to find out how they’d combined fine cuisine and the new setting, all infused with the warmth of home dining. »

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GRAY No. 25  

The DESIGN MAGAZINE for the Pacific Northwest.

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