Welcome to Shop the Restaurant, a new column where Eater finds and hooks you up with great dining style. The plan: to showcase the most exciting restaurant interiors and scout out the tricks, tips, and pieces you need to bring the look home. For the first installment, we head over to Sonoma County to scope out the design at Single Thread. One of Eater’s most beautiful restaurants of 2016, the restaurant just earned its design firm Avroko a James Beard Award.
Even before there were proper walls at their restaurant Single Thread, chef Kyle Connaughton and farmer Katina Connaughton insisted they wanted the restaurant to feel like home — their home. The idea was to create a dinner party vibe, and Kyle credits the radically open kitchen with ensuring that sense of welcome.
The restaurant’s open kitchen is certainly the focal point, but there’s plenty to look at in the fully appointed dining room. As a long-time apartment-dweller who envies anything that confirms the existence, somewhere, of extra space, it’s easy to dream about putting any of the plush sofas or rich wood tables in my totally modern and unstuffy this-is-why-I-left-the-city study. I’d bring along the wall decor, too, and then admire my good taste.
While the room is a stunner, the spirit of the restaurant really comes alive on the table, where courses are presented on handcrafted ceramics adorned with foliage, and where warm oshibori towels come on hand-carved trays. If the look skews Japanese, that’s because Japan is a major source of inspiration to the couple, who lived and worked there for years. Looking into the kitchen, guests can see an entire wall of donabe clay pots — a museum-worthy display, but also a functional storage system for one of Kyle’s go-to cooking methods. Many of the service pieces were sourced from acclaimed Japanese artisans.
Yes, the restaurant is chock full of custom design features — good luck finding wall tiles made from clay dug from your farm — but there are plenty of ways to bring the comfort, and the aesthetic, to your own dining room. With that in mind, here’s a shoppable guide to getting the Single Thread look.
Think of the Dining Room Like a Living Room
With extravagantly comfortable seating, gorgeous carpet, and capital-F Furniture that harkens back to the work of design icons like Eero Saarinen, Edward Wormley, and Hans Wegner, Single Thread’s dining room is luxe and homey. As someone who often eats dinner on her couch anyway, I’m fully on board with this.
Shop it: Modern upholstered seating:
Avroko designed custom couches and chairs for Single Thread, but you can get the look by focusing on pieces with a midcentury feel, a wood base, and muted fabrics.
$$$ : Kelly Hoppen Marley Occasional Chair — Lulu and Georgia ($1,910)
$$ : Carmelo Parson Chairs — AllModern ($266)
$ : Mercury Row Blaisdell Dining Bench — Wayfair ($136)
Shop it: Geometric dining tables:
Avroko also designed the tables, which get a jolt from inlaid brass.
Embrace Textile Art
Tread carefully to keep things feeling more elegant than dorm-room-hippie: Stick with a neutral palette — monotone is more the mood than ombre or multi-colored pieces. Single Thread’s wall decor also evokes Japanese shoji privacy screens, which are pretty easy to find and also are a good solution for apartment dwellers who maybe don’t have a full bedroom wall (not that I know anything about that).
Shop it: Organic-Feeling Wall Decor:
Bay Area artist Joy Brace created the 12 string panels throughout Single Thread. Representing each month of the year, Brace’s weavings are based on DNA sequences of fruit or vegetables in season at that time.
$$$ : Commission a Custom Work of Textile Art — Joy Brace ($5,000 - $10,000)
$$ : MWTextiles Woven Wall Hanging — Etsy ($1,200)
$ : Simon Cotton Tapestry — Joss & Main ($40)
Get Your Donabe Going
Donabe cooking is essential to the Single Thread menu, and the Japanese clay pots are also on display as a focal point in the totally open kitchen. Connaughton co-authored a book on donabe cooking with Naoko Takei Moore, who runs Toiro Kitchen (see below).
Shop it: Donabes:
All of Single Thread’s donabes were crafted by the Nagatani family in Iga, Japan, eighth-generation artisans.
Set the Table With Mixed Materials and Hand-Crafted Objects
As a meal at Single Thread unfolds, diners are presented with an array of gorgeous plates and bowls, many of which Katina and her team elegantly decorate with local leaves, buds, and mosses. Alongside, a variety of flatware features both natural materials and metal: Kihachi Kobo created the lacquer chopsticks; Osamu Matsuzaki, the wooden spoons; Axia Planning, the shell spoons pictured above. Single Thread serves water in hand-hammered metal cups from SUS Gallery, which is located in Niigata prefecture. The titanium prevents nearly all condensation, leaving the cup magically un-sweaty. Other touches include handmade wood oshibori trays, and chic gray Garnier-Thiebaut linen napkins. The hospitality world is obsessed with light-as-air Zalto wine glasses right now — and Single Thread has a full collection.
Shop it: Wood steak knives and modern flatware:
Of all the gorgeous forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks guests encounter in a meal at Single Thread, the piece de resistance comes during the meat course, when servers present a selection of custom knives. Bring the look home by opting for wood-handled steak knives with deep, rich color and pairing them ultra-modern flatware.
Bloodroot Blades created the steak knives; some of the wood in the handles came from Single Thread’s farm, while blades were made from repurposed Volkswagen metal and the brass from a clarinet factory. The metal flatware is from Cutipol.
$$$ : Shun Premier Steak Knives — Sur La Table ($400 for four)
$$ : Duna by Cutipol Five-Piece Brushed Steel Flatware — ABC Home ($7 to $20 per piece)
$ : Cambridge Silversmiths Austin Mirror 20-Piece Flatware Set — Bed Bath & Beyond ($100)
Shop it: Ceramic dinnerware:
Bring the look home with handmade pieces that look organic but not overly heavy. You can capture the craft look from Single Thread’s tables with one statement piece. If going to straight to the source is out of budget, look for plates with texture and neutral tones.
At the restaurant, the Connaughtons turned to some of the most renowned Japanese ceramics makers for the various plates at the restaurant: Nagatani-En, from an eighth-generation family of potters in Iga, Japan, who create both donabe and service pieces; potter Takashi Endo, who created the restaurant’s coffee and tea service pieces; and Kihachi Kobo, a group of craftsmen known for their wood and lacquerware pieces.
$$$ : Ikkanjin Dobin Kettle and Sake Flask Set — Toiro Kitchen ($275)
$$ : Hasami Porcelain Black Plates — An Astute Assembly ($43 each)
$ : Nagatani Pottery — Amazon ($28-$80)