To revive the once glamorous New Orleans restaurant and bar into Cape Girardeau, MO’s very own, Irish Publick House, named after the owners’ grandmother, Katy O’Ferrell. We kept anything that preserved the historic presence of the building and updated what needed to be. We determined that the bar, all of the flooring, windows, restroom fixtures, tables, chairs, chandeliers and many of the items that the previous owners left behind would remain.
The humor that the Dirnberger family has quite apparent in all of their wall hangings. McCarthy & Bailey’s classy Irish charm played a huge part in the inspiration and the direction on the exterior face-lift of the building and a few of the interior elements that were added.
I worked directly with Mark Dirnberger, his brothers (partners) Paul and Steve and his son (general manager) Chris. Mark, current owner of Bella Italia, has a knack for running restaurants and the others have their strong suits that they bring to the table. You can tell by their determination, that all of them have had a strong/hard work-ethic instilled in them. They are a fun bunch always cutting jokes, but everything was thought through thoroughly when decisions needed to be made.
What We Love:
• The Snugs. Small, comfortable public rooms in a pub or inn. This is the private area where men would leave their wives to retreat off to the bar (where women weren’t allowed), here in the states we call them booths. Keeping with tradition, they were designed to be built in the dining room. The angled eighteen light glass doors to the entrance of the dining room previously existed. The entablature (millwork/casing) above the door was incorporated into the tops of the walls separating each snug, while the suspended arches above each snug were designed to mimic the architectural brickwork nearby. Pews from the First Baptist Jackson remodel project were repurposed for seating in these remote areas.
• I designed the fireplace by keeping in mind that we wanted it to look like it had always existed. We selected the Monessen- Lexington fireplace with a decorative arched front and added the grilles for a more authentic look. I made sure to add a nice sized mantel with deeper sides, knowing that we would later add memorabilia and accessories.
• The back wall of the bar. In the right hand corner of the room where the loft and the grotto are there is exposed stone that is structural to the building and on the opposite side of the room between each of the windows there are limestone columns with brick arches connecting them. Inside the arches you can see where the history of the building has been documented on etched glass. The entire wall behind the bar spanning from one end of the room to the other, was in less than favorable shape. I sketched a drawing that incorporated the look of exposed stone, additional limestone columns and brick arches that would allow three more glass inserts illustrating the new story of the building. I gave this sketch to a local plaster expert and he created exactly what I drew.
What We Did:
Dining Room- Designed snugs using the entablature and architectural elements for inspiration, found pews for seating, selected Murray Feiss Chateau traditional sconces with Kelly green lamp shades for all lighting, had custom window treatments made in the Family Crest colors with matching chain covers for the chandeliers, designed the fireplace, selected the faux stone and fireplace, selected the new paint color (SW Empire Gold), had the floors re-finished and installed the accessories.
Bar/Loft/Grotto/Restrooms- Designed the custom plaster wall, searched art and barrels for the walls, framed the prints I found, selected paint colors (Bar-/Loft/Grotto- SW Roycroft Suede, Women’s RR- SW Sheraton Sage and SW Chrysanthemum, Men’s RR- SW Vogue Green), placed accessories atop the bar and on walls and found pews for the loft seating.
Exterior- Selected Progress Welbourne wall lanterns for the breezeway and front façade and narrowed down SW Vogue Green as the façade paint color.
Throughout this project I worked very closely with the electrician, contractor, painter, plasterer, flooring refinishers, seamstress, commercial cleaning company the mechanical company and their crews to communicate what I designed, what the clients wanted and made sure things were being implemented as planned.