Ever since Vicia opened earlier this year, its Instagram location page has been among my favorite scrolls. The St. Louis restaurant — one of the best new restaurants of the year — occupies basically a glass box, but its almost-rustic interior has a sophistication and clarity that will convince even the most ardent reclaimed-wood haters to rethink the whole idea of “modern farmhouse” style.
Designer Sasha Aleksandr Malinich of R5 Design Agency in St. Louis looked to the Nordic and Belgian countrysides as much as the American heartland when coming up with a plan for Vicia. He was also inspired by chef-owner Michael Gallina’s wood-fired cooking, both literally — the party table in the dining room gets its dark color from a Japanese flame-charring technique — and figuratively.
“There’s an authenticity and approachability in cooking with wood, and we wanted to translate that approach to architecture,” he says. For example, the vintage warehouse windows were sourced from New Jersey rather than fabricated from scratch.
Whether you’re dipping your toe into farmhouse inspiration or hoping to go full throttle, there’s a lot to learn from Vicia. Here now, a shoppable guide to bringing the look home.
Borrow From the Farm
A chicken coop was Malinich’s primary source of inspiration for Vicia’s main dining room — look up at the galvanized steel lattice, corrugated metal, and wood beams on the ceiling, and you can see it. But be as smart with the farm touches as Tim Gunn wants Project Runway contestants to be with the accessories wall. Use it very thoughtfully, designers; the end goal is bucolic coziness, not cutesy or kitsch.
Shop It: Simple wood tables
One of Vicia’s farm tables is actually a vintage Indian teak workbench, which Malinich found through the St. Louis-based importer Hammer & Hand. The hand-planed, white-oak dining room tables were a collaboration between Malinich and St. Louis-based Goebel & Co. furniture.
Shop It: Warehouse pendant lights
Malinich mixed two different C.G. Sparks pendant lights in the dining room, which is a subtle way of separating out the large, open space: In the area housing the party table, the copper lamps add a sense of occasion as well. Neither model is available to order right now (but you can add the copper lamps to your wishlist). There are plenty of other options with a similar feel, though.
$$$ : Delphine Hanging Copper Light — C.G. Sparks ($175 each)
$$ : Hi-Lite Warehouse Shade Pendant — Y Lighting ($106 to $108 each)
$ : Westinghouse White Warehouse Lighting Pendant — LightingDirect ($63 each)
Mix and Match Natural Materials
Thanks to the clean lines of the stools and the dark, dramatic backdrop for the branch in Vicia’s bar area, these organic touches feel both intentional and expensive. Co-owner Tara Gallina found and mounted the manzanita branches; you can buy those online, too.
Shop It: Leather stools
Don’t be afraid to go big box for these: Malinich found Vicia’s leather stools at West Elm...
Shop It: Backless stools
...and the backless oak stools from Wisteria.
$$$ : Durham Bar Stool — AllMordern ($150 each)
$$ : Natural Smart and Sleek Bar Stool — Wisteria ($119 each)
$ : Belham Living Jacobson Hairpin Bar Stool — Hayneedle ($99 each)
Keep Your Space Curated, Not Cluttered
Malinich says that when it came to styling the shelves at Vicia, he returned once again to “a rural paradigm.” The selected objects all have functionality, which Malinich says helps avoid a feeling of superficiality. “There’s always a reason behind it, and I think that’s what makes a simple empty white box come to life.”
Shop It: Rustic bakers racks
Even half-height iron and wood bakers racks, like the one Vicia purchased from Restoration Hardware, can be big-ticket items. For a more budget-friendly option, look for consoles with open shelving for a similar effect.
$$$ : Baker Console — France & Søn ($1,050)
$$ : Circa 1900 Bakers Rack Console — Restoration Hardware ($650)
$ : Durham Console Table — Ballard Designs ($399)
Shop It: Pitchers, planters, and vases
Vicia maintains the modern farmhouse vibe with its selects, like a steel pitcher from Crate and Barrel and ceramic planters from local wholesale flower distributor Baisch and Skinner, but you can achieve a similarly homey look by following Malinich’s advice: “Try and select things that are true to your heart. Don’t follow, necessarily, a photograph verbatim.”
Work With a Limited Palette
Part of why Vicia’s design feels so thrillingly concise is that Malinich worked within some major confines: His material palette was largely limited to wood and Belgian blue stone, while his color palette focused on contrasting black, white, and light wood tones.
Shop It: Black wood dining chairs
Malinich turned to designer Jason Roskey’s Fern NYC for the black armchairs in Vicia’s dining room. He just needed to modify them slightly — “maybe making a chair wider or taking the arms off of a particular chair for a tightened space” — to make them work in the restaurant.
$$$ : Silo Ebonized Ash Dining Arm Chair — Fern NYC ($1800 each)
$$ : CH37 Lacquered Beech Armchair — Design Within Reach ($760 each)
$ : Savanna Side Chair — Joss & Main ($177 each)
Shop It: Black-and-white dinnerware
Vicia’s dinnerware comes from a historic British restaurant supplier, Dudson. These handmade ceramics aren’t exactly easy for civilians to source (though you do see sellers on Amazon), so hunt for clean, unfussy black-and-white ceramics.
$$$ : Atwood Full Dinnerware Set, Coupe Line — Heath Ceramics ($140 per set)
$$ : VPL Hasami Black Plate — Spring ($24 each)
$ : White Coupe Dinner Plates — World Market ($16 for four)