Every once in a while, if you keep at things, you get an opportunity to work on something really special. This was how we felt at Mallet Design to be given the opportunity to work with the ownership and the management team at Ray’s to develop a new interior environment at the Boathouse.
Rays is a people place, owned by passionate people, managed by passionate committed people – but changing “icons” can draw passion of a different kind. What we have done may feel radical, but in the end it is right in line with the creative vision of the founders.
Involved since the very early conversations in the brand analysis phase, Mallet was included as an integral part of the soul-searching process that resulted in the addition of a 30 foot long bar into the center of the main dining room. In a manner of speaking, this was a bit of a return for Rays as it had such a bar in an earlier incarnation. And although we were unable to bring back the glass floor that was a feature of Ray’s before the fire in 1987, we did have a little fun.
Ray’s, being situated as it is, is deeply connected to the water and the Seattle boater’s experience. For this reason, we came to the conclusion that the vintage wooden Chris Craft would be an ideal source of inspiration for the re-design of the Boathouse.
Hand built of mahogany and brass, the bar itself is based on the classic deck structure, including the curvature of the lean-rail. We kept the lighting indirect and kept everything out of the visual field so that we could heighten guests’ interaction with the stunning views. We created a lounge adjacent to the bar so that it is now possible to go into the Boathouse without a reservation and dine from the amazing new menu.
Eric Hentz is the founder of Seattle design firm Mallet Inc and was recently included in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine’s list of 50 Most Influential People in Seattle Right Now