Christopher Elliott agreed to help out a friend of a friend and have a quick look over a premises that, as it turned out, needed a lot more than a few new tables and a lick of paint. The silver-tongued owner of Tom, Dick & Harry in South Yarra managed to convince Christopher to take on the substantial project, which involved a complete renovation in a limited time and on a limited budget.

One of the main challenges was the long and thin shape of the premises, with the only source of natural light coming from the front windows and the biggest area for tables at the opposite end. The solution served to solve another problem at the same time – plywood panelling with a wash treatment not only covered up the unsightly walls to the rear, but serve to reflect that scarce natural light around the rear. Another major win was the wooden frame that wraps around the front counter and along the side wall, acting as light-porous partition, storage and display.

The real hero of the interior design is a ‘Meccano’ style timber shelving unit that extends along the main café wall and wraps around to create a screen divide between the barista’s station and the servery adjacent, which are split over two levels. This also acts as a pass over for the two stations; creating a window effect between the spaces. This ingenious design also has a very functional purpose for the café and aesthetically creates a visual statement as soon as you enter.

Christopher Elliott’s work offers a restrained palette of simple hand-crafted materials that are in essence reflective of the atmosphere the owner wished to create; a space for every Tom, Dick & Harry.


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[Images courtesy of Christopher Elliott Design. Photography by Sharyn Cairns.]


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