7 elements of great dining room design

Paul Basile is the go-to designer for San Diego restaurateurs with deep pockets. Basile and his 21-year-old firm, Basile Studio, have designed some of the city’s highest-profile and most visually striking restaurants. His client list includes Bankers Hill, Craft & Commerce, Soda & Swine and Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar, all in San Diego, and Market in Del Mar.

Basile’s trademark is one-of-a-kind custom pieces of furniture, doors and other architectural elements that serve dual purposes, such as windows that fold down to become bar-height tabletops. Assisting him in these pieces and overall restaurant design is an assembled team of six designers and 20 fabricators who help execute his and clients’ visions. This fall, Studio Basile is embarking on a new project, Basile Built, which offers noncommissioned furniture and architectural elements, based on previous custom pieces. It's meant for hospitality clients looking for that special design element without the custom price tag.

Basile loves designing for hospitality. (“Where else can you have a drink and some food while watching people do the same at something you slaved over for months?”) He says custom and unique touches are what make a project a home run: “Expressing passion in the overall design and the intimate details, you can feel and see when something was done right and is handcrafted. That expressiveness is passed along to the guests when they notice something new every visit—like finding a new little gem,” Basile says. Timelessness is also integral to a restaurant that feels warm and welcoming, he adds. “It should like it’s been there for many, many years.”

Basile has worked with budgets from $250,000 to $2.5 million. Of course most operations don’t have that kind of capital, so Basile offers the following advice: “Focus on the customer experience and what makes them feel special to be there, and create a mood that coincides with the food and drinks.” Basile shares six more tips for creating a great space.

Photos by Basile Studio

Contact Gina LaVecchia Ragone at [email protected]

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