We’re Loving the Wavy Wooden Details at This Dallas Restaurant

Krio in Dallas’ Bishops Arts District is not your typical Cajun restaurant. While many are dark, loud, and clichéd, with nautical themes or lobster lobster on the walls, Coeval Studio’s designer John Paul Valverde gave this Asian-inspired restaurant a feel that raises entirely different expectations.

Partners Connie Cheng, Dan Bui and Warren Wip are not new to the restaurant business and had a solid grasp of what Krio should be. Pastel colors were a must, as were organic elements and allusions to the sea. “They have a finesse in their food and we wanted to make sure the restaurant felt airy and friendly,” says John Paul.

The menu is particularly unique, described as “where the Far East meets the deep south” – with dishes like jambalaya egg rolls and cod-train wed – but making sure the food and design was a challenge at first were coherent. Coeval turned away from the “usual” Cajun aesthetic and created a nifty branding that carried directly into the interior of the restaurant. The mint ceramic tiles in the bar, the deeper turquoise color on the column and the polished pebble floor immediately transport the guests to the sea.

It was the owners’ idea to do a mural; Connie walked with lotus flowers in the same shade of peach that is seen on the planters.

The dining room chairs are the Sherman Nairs made of wood, made to measure by the NOVA Furnishings Group.

Then there is the wooden pole with the detailed mill overhang, built-in banquets – inside and outside, built-in planters made of corrugated plywood and perhaps the best detail in the room: the vertical planking along the walls.

“The wavy paneling reminds people of the sea,” says the designer. Instead of a straight cladding, the detail gives the room movement and fits perfectly with the theme of the kitchen. Coeval provided the design while the partners decided to do the construction themselves, which John Paul says is not often. “We knew what we wanted, so it made sense for us to be practical,” says Dan.

The white grille on the ceiling mimics the waviness of the paneling and looks like fishing nets. “It’s actually fence material that has been cut and powder coated,” says John Paul.

The planters are made of bent plywood.

While the restaurant turned out beautifully, the construction process was difficult as a fire destroyed a vendor’s cabinets in the Design District of Dallas just before opening week. “We decided to find different vendors and someone else to do the milling work,” says Dan. While the bar was originally designed in white oak, they had to go with poplar. “We went with the closest wood stain,” he adds.

Overall, the airy details of the restaurant, the planters inside and the bright colors create a cheerful atmosphere.

The lights in the room are from Wayfair.

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