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Interiorssneak peeks

The Daily In Charleston, SC Takes Monochromatic To Another Level

by Erin Austen Abbott

I have this thing with a monochromatic look — I can’t get enough of a space that blends virtually the same shade throughout the entire room. To me, it is a look that feels straight out of a classic English film set… conjuring images of bookshelves that blend into the walls and trim and crown molding. So when images of The Daily, a neighborhood coffee shop and marketplace in Charleston, SC, came across my desk, I jumped at the chance to write about it. I love its seamless aesthetic of shades of mint used throughout with pops of unexpected dark tones, from the navy chairs to the mustard-dipped color-blocked chairs.

Knowing his modern bodega and coffee spot would be tucked inside the Gibbes Museum of Art, Michael Shemtov, owner of Butcher & Bee, sought to have the space’s look be apt for its fine art influences from the museum. He reached out to the team at Sisal Creative, of whom he’s been a longtime client, to design the space.

“He was looking for a concept that would work seamlessly with his brand, feel cohesive within the historical Gibbes building, stay within budget, and make sense with the location inside of a fine art museum,” shares co-founder of the Sisal Creative team, Becca Barnet. Sisal Creative is known for making curious and detail-oriented art installations for public and private spaces. They use their sense of wonder, respect for the natural world, and aptitude for problem-solving to design and create unexpected artwork and unique interiors. From illustrations and murals to museum design and exhibit fabrication, Becca and Kaleigh Hastings aim to bring distinct perspectives to every project they work on.

Located in a city rich in architectural history, preservation and speaking to the spirit and age of the city was important to the design team. “Charleston’s historic buildings have gone through many iterations, and the Gibbes Museum of Art is no stranger to renovation. When designing The Daily by Butcher & Bee at the Gibbes, our notion was to actualize a playful yet comforting space based on monochromatic, modern and minimal characteristics. A structure such as the renovated Gibbes accentuates the tension between what is and what was, so we wanted to further that juxtaposition by honoring traditional architecture and introducing very modern elements. These include the ceiling-height handmade channel-tufted banquette wall, the brass light fixture, and the manipulated vintage oil paintings that hang on the walls, which are our playful twist on the fine art found upstairs,” Becca explains. The entire space reads like an installation — the kind of work that Sisal Creative is known for. “We believe that interiors can be artworks within themselves,” Becca shares. “We love the idea of creating a place that feels like an immersive experience.”

To help you get started on creating your own monochromatic look, Becca offers this advice, “Start with a color palette, or one or two objects that inspire you. All the other choices should either challenge, celebrate, or sing in harmony with your original inspiration!” Follow along below for a closer look. —Erin 

Photography by Elizabeth Ervin Rollins

Image above: The first look visitors glimpse of The Daily when they enter the Gibbes Museum. 

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With an ode to the classic building that The Daily is housed in, a mix of candlesticks fills the community table. On the right we see a peek at the playful art installation throughout the cafe.
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"We discovered the magic of lime wash on this project! Because the building is over a century old, some portions of the wall were made with a plaster material that had posed some water-logging problems in the previous renovation. Only the bottom half of the wall had this issue, so with the help of our client we were able to locate Portola Lime Wash Paint, a company that can match lime wash to most paint colors. The lime wash provides a beautiful color and incredible texture while still allowing airflow, alleviating the moisture issues that had arisen with traditional paint application," Becca shares.
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A sunny alcove creates a cozy coffee nook.
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Another look at the art installation and hand tufted wall design.
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"We had a lot of fun sourcing the vintage oil paintings and finding different ways to manipulate them. The still life that wraps around a corner was a particularly wild ride on the chop saw! At the beginning of the project we discussed a rotating selection of the Gibbes historical collection being displayed in the cafe, but as the design of the space progressed we realized we wanted a little more control over the curation. We also realized that this was a unique opportunity to get our art into the Gibbes (or at least in the front door)! We wanted the art in the cafe to feel cohesive with the rest of the museum, and honor the historical building instead of overshadowing it. We also knew that our client had a great sense of humor. It seemed natural to kind of play on the dark, moody oil portraits and still lifes that everyone thinks of when they hear the term 'fine art'. We love how delightful (and a little bit shocking) it is for patrons to encounter the manipulated works and realize what they're looking at. We certainly aren't the first artists to edit vintage pieces, and we recognize and respect the gravity that comes with sawing through another person's work, but the result feels both modern and classic, playful and a little bit haunting, and we really love the results," Becca explains.
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"We tried to push the limits where we could - the backsplash tile is a pretty [traditional] 4x4 Mexican tile that we slouched in a color close to the walls. To add an element of surprise, we used a colored grout in a rusty accent (Grout360 is a company nearby in Georgia who can match most paint colors in both sanded and unsanded grout - they matched Sherwin-Williams 'Pennywise' for this). It's ended up being a really subtle but modern element that makes an impact."
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A peek into the museum from the cafe.
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The white bar stools offer comfort after an afternoon of brownsing the art collection at the Gibbes.

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