A good layout can make or break a space. Just ask Olga Potap, the owner of what was once Karloff, a Russian family restaurant in South Brooklyn. Karloff was known for its incredible food—updates on classic Russian cuisine—but it was somewhat lacking in the design and decor departments. The space certainly had its charms— wood-paneled walls covered in local artwork, café chairs, and a marble-topped bar that ran the length of the restaurant. Something, however, felt off.
The wood-on-wood decorative scheme left the space feeling heavy and dark; the bar, while impressive, overpowered the space and left little room for a flexible floor plan. Olga felt that the space wasn’t reaching its full potential or keeping up with the chic dining options in the surrounding Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods. Determined to give Karloff the upgrade it deserved, she turned to west elm to help transform the space. What followed was a full-fledged gut renovation, one that gave Karloff an entirely new look and a new name: Kitchen at Cobble Hill. Light, airy, and expertly considered, the space is not only beautiful, but functional. Take a look at the before and after photos, along with our designer’s notes about the transformation process below!
The main dining area of the restaurant was completely re-imagined with a layout that embraced classic symmetry. Leather banquettes by Other and custom marble-topped bistro tables by Le Func NYC flank either side of the space, while counter-height communal tables run down the its center.
Contemporary materials like whitewashed wood wainscoting were used to give the space texture without weighing it down. Brass and frosted-glass sconces designed by Brooklyn’s Pelle add light and a touch of glamour to the seating area.
Rather than a bar that ran the full length of the restaurant, taking up useful floor space, the designers opted to push the bar to the rear of the space, making it the focal point of the restaurant. It’s home to Olga’s collection of homemade infused vodkas and other specialties like rose tea petals.
Built-in cabinets display bottles of champagne, books, and ice cream cones.
Kitchen at Cobble Hill is known for its infused vodkas, displayed prominently behind the bar.
Kitchen’s owner, Olga Potap, sits in a seat by the window.