Bow & Truss North Hollywood: Modern design, to go


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Bow & Truss, the new North Hollywood restaurant and lounge crafted from what had been an auto body garage, may not sound like the kind of place with design elements that could translate to a residential environment. But as envisioned by Beth Holden, principal of the West Hollywood architecture studio New Theme, in collaboration with her client, Morgan Margolis of Knitting Factory Entertainment, the updated 1930s building will indeed hold some design solutions with high visual impact that diners just might bring home.

The restaurant, scheduled to have its grand opening Friday, has a stunning showpiece: a richly patterned bar that’s actually just formaldehyde-free medium density fiberboard, or MDF, finished with paint that’s low in volatile organic compounds. The pattern, inspired by the jali screenwork common in Islamic design, was cut with a router by hand, then set on sanded plexiglass backed with dimmable LEDs. This particular pattern may be intricate, but the concept and simple materials could be deployed as an accent wall, adding ambient light to a stairwell or entryway. At Bow & Truss, the geometric cuts of the MDF are meant to blend with the restaurant’s Spanish bent and with Southern California’s architectural traditions.


‘We studied different patterns and abstracted it to look a little more modern,” Holden said. “We wanted it to have that cross-referencing.’

Holden’s husband and business partner, Wolfgang Melian, fabricated all of the custom pieces including built-in benches, barstools and concrete counters. Melian resourcefully used the MDF cutouts to give pattern to custom concrete tiles, including one used on an outdoor table, pictured here.

Another potential DIY idea: To save on budget, Holden decided to camouflage an existing metal fence rather than replace it. Melian’s addition of boards and a coat of black paint to the upper portion helped to change the scale of the fence and make it feel less imposing. Lower horizontal wood strips then help the barrier blend with the rest of the restaurant’s design.

Bow & Truss is at 11122 Magnolia Blvd. The restaurant is having its soft opening now and its grand opening on Friday.


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-- Jessica Ritz