Jolene in London: 7 Simple, Budget Ideas to Steal from the Year’s Most Rustic Bakery


The oldest surviving terraced houses in England were built in 1658, and they stand at 52-55 Newington Green, in a neighborhood that borders Hackney and Islington. Across the historic green, at number 22, is Jolene, a bakery, restaurant, and wine bar opened in September by David Gingell and Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim—the pair behind two of north London’s favorite neighborhood restaurants, Primeur and Westerns Laundry.

Both of the previous sites are in unexpected locations: Primeur is in a converted 1920s car garage on a smart residential street, whilst Westerns Laundry occupies a former wholesale laundry business. Despite the historic surrounding, the founders of Jolene have taken on something less architecturally interesting: the bakery is on the ground floor of an unremarkable, three-story block of flats, with retail space on the ground floor. “This is a fairly ugly building,” admits Jeremie. “Of course it helps to have a building that has a dramatic look from the outside, but I think we’d already done that twice. For me it was a challenge to see whether having an ugly outside could actually enhance the inside.”

David Gingell (left) oversees the menu, Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim is responsible for the interiors.
Above: David Gingell (left) oversees the menu, Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim is responsible for the interiors.

When we met, Jolene had just been awarded “Design of the Year” by Eater London. “What’s interesting, is that the other contenders spent a huge amount of money on their design,” explains Jeremie. “For us, only a third of our budget is spent on design. We want people to remember us for the food we cook—the rest is really secondary.” The duo have teamed up with farmer Andy Cato (formerly of Groove Armada), who supplies the bakery with sustainably-farmed grains from Gascony. These are milled on site each day and turned into the breads and French bakes that fill the counter. “Of course I think then you need to put money in the details,” continues Jeremie. “I think that’s what makes a big difference, but the details don’t necessarily have to be expensive.”

Here are eight design ideas to take away, all on a budget.

Photography courtesy of Jolene.

1. Under-promise, over-deliver.

The exterior of Jolene doesn’t have the architectural drama of previous sites.
Above: The exterior of Jolene doesn’t have the architectural drama of previous sites.

“Under-promising and over-delivering is quite important,” explains Jeremie. “There are a lot of ugly places that become beautiful once you’re inside, and I like that contrast.” Jeremie compares this approach to their daily-changing menu. As in Primeur and Westerns Laundry, the day’s dishes are chalked up on the wall, the ingredients laid bare: “spelt, pumpkin, sage, and walnut” or “chicken, gem, anchovy, and croutons.” What comes out of the kitchen is invariably more than the sum of its parts.

2. Start very simply.

“David said something that has always stuck with me,” Jeremie confides. “&#8
Above: “David said something that has always stuck with me,” Jeremie confides. “’You can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube.’ It’s a wonderful saying which can be applied to so many things. It’s much easier to start very simply and add as you go along. That’s what we’ve always done and it seems to work for us.”

Jeremie cites the utilitarianism of the Shakers as “a massive inspiration,” as well as the writing of Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt. (Read more on these design inspirations in 16 Design Ideas to Steal from the Shakers and Best of the Belgians: 10 Favorite Architects and Designers.)

3. Create texture.

The uneven nude wall behind the counter is created using hydrolime (a combination of lime and plaster). Beneath the zinc counter, Jeremie has created a “mud wall” by incorporating the sawdust from on-site joinery into the hydrolime and applying it with a cloth.
Above: The uneven nude wall behind the counter is created using hydrolime (a combination of lime and plaster). Beneath the zinc counter, Jeremie has created a “mud wall” by incorporating the sawdust from on-site joinery into the hydrolime and applying it with a cloth.
Madeleines, financiers, palmiers and Naroques bread made from French grains on the wooden counter.
Above: Madeleines, financiers, palmiers and Naroques bread made from French grains on the wooden counter.

(Want to apply limewash at home? Consult DIY Project: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times and Remodeling 101: Everything You Need to Know About Limewash Paint.)

4. Strip away the extraneous.

The approach to the interior is much like the duo&#8
Above: The approach to the interior is much like the duo’s approach to food: there is no extraneous clutter. “We don’t like to have anything here that isn’t useful,” says Jeremie. Staff aprons and branded totes hang on the Shaker pegs and the tables are simply dressed with seasonal foliage.

5. Economize, customize.

 The window dressing at Jolene was created by Jeremie and one of his chefs, who is also an embroiderer.
Above: The window dressing at Jolene was created by Jeremie and one of his chefs, who is also an embroiderer.

“I wanted to do curtains, then we didn’t have the money, so I bought some sticks instead,” he says. Vintage linen (a market find) is hung from a eucalyptus branch, which slots into a U-shaped wooden bracket beside the aluminum window frame.

“My happiness depends on you” is a line from the Dolly Parton song, &#8
Above: “My happiness depends on you” is a line from the Dolly Parton song, “Jolene.” The naive logotype was created by the six-year-old son of Frith Kerr, the founder of the design consultancy, Studio Kerr.

6. Juxtapose rustic and industrial.

“Incandescent strip lights have become our signature,” explains Jeremie. They have been phased out of production across Europe so it took nine months to source these from Atlanta (Jeremie has 300 spares in storage). Here, they are positioned under a high shelf that displays a rustic Hungarian meat trough for corralling produce.
Above: “Incandescent strip lights have become our signature,” explains Jeremie. They have been phased out of production across Europe so it took nine months to source these from Atlanta (Jeremie has 300 spares in storage). Here, they are positioned under a high shelf that displays a rustic Hungarian meat trough for corralling produce.

7. Don’t be afraid to mix materials.

A neutral color scheme accommodates pairings of seemingly disparate materials: wooden Thonet-style chairs (found on eBay) are tucked under zinc tabletops; Duralex glassware and ceramic jugs by Carmel Eskell congregate on the tabletops; white-washed cinderblocks disappear behind banquettes upholstered in recycled wool felt from Kirkby Design.
Above: A neutral color scheme accommodates pairings of seemingly disparate materials: wooden Thonet-style chairs (found on eBay) are tucked under zinc tabletops; Duralex glassware and ceramic jugs by Carmel Eskell congregate on the tabletops; white-washed cinderblocks disappear behind banquettes upholstered in recycled wool felt from Kirkby Design.

For more wabi-sabi inspiration, read about Japanese restaurant Bessou in New York, and this minimalist kitchen in Tokyo.

Taking on a food tour of London? Don’t miss a few of our favorites:



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Kitchen of the Week: A Glassmaker’s Imaginative Studio Kitchen in London, DIY Ikea Hacks Included


A look inside a maker’s studio almost always reveals far more than the artist’s craft; often, the space surrounding a workbench has been creatively adapted. Jochen Holz’s studio in Stratford, East London, is a case in point. Here, the German-born glassmaker—whose wonky, textured pieces and sculptural neon installations can be found at The New Craftsmen and Momosan Shop (you might also recognize them from our Trend Alert on two-tone glassware)—installed Ikea base cabinets and adapted them beyond recognition to create a kitchen unlike any we’ve seen. Join us for an exclusive look inside.

Photography by Kim Lightbody.

Holz&#8
Above: Holz’s kitchen occupies a corner of his studio in East London.
The glassmaker in his kitchen. His workbench can be seen to the left of the kitchen.
Above: The glassmaker in his kitchen. His workbench can be seen to the left of the kitchen.

Holz specializes in lamp working, which is a technique that transforms prefabricated borosilicate glass tubes into one-off pieces by melting the glass over a torch. The glass tubes are hardwearing and heat-resistant, which makes his unique pieces suitable for everyday use.

The backsplash is a sheet of painted glass, salvaged from an old project and glued in place. A round industrial magnet serves as a utensil holder.
Above: The backsplash is a sheet of painted glass, salvaged from an old project and glued in place. A round industrial magnet serves as a utensil holder.
 Holz affixed birch plywood fronts to Ikea cabinets, giving each front a coat of Osmo hardwax oil. (Holz mixed the oil with a touch of pink before applying.) Glass handles were made from colored glass rods in gray, teal blue, and pink. They are set into the plywood and glued with epoxy resin.
Above: Holz affixed birch plywood fronts to Ikea cabinets, giving each front a coat of Osmo hardwax oil. (Holz mixed the oil with a touch of pink before applying.) Glass handles were made from colored glass rods in gray, teal blue, and pink. They are set into the plywood and glued with epoxy resin.
Holz&#8
Above: Holz’s collection of ceramics is mostly sourced from Artesania de Galicia in northern Spain.

The work surface was made from leftover pieces of Marmoleum, glued onto a birch plywood board edged with a solid maple timber strip. (For more on Marmoleum, see Remodeling 101: Affordable and Environmentally Friendly Linoleum.)

Detail in Jochen Holz Studio Kitchen, Photo by Kim Lightbody Above: Holz’s collection of drinks includes milk kefir, water kefir, and green oolong from Taiwan, seen here brewing in one of his own textured glass pots.
Holz&#8
Above: Holz’s artfully utilitarian pieces line the shelves.
 Bespoke hooks are screwed into the whitewashed, breeze-block walls beneath a prototype clock by Fabien Cappello.
Above: Bespoke hooks are screwed into the whitewashed, breeze-block walls beneath a prototype clock by Fabien Cappello.

Holz shares the studio with his partner, Attua Aparicio of Silo Studio. The couple made these hooks together, setting colored Jesmonite acrylic into glass.

A trailing vine fringes Holz&#8
Above: A trailing vine fringes Holz’s open shelving system.

Prototypes and finished pieces are displayed in the studio beneath a thriving collection of indoor plants. The items made of clear glass have been given texture and shape through pressing the molten glass against various surfaces, such as burnt wood or perforated metal. “I wanted to get away from the idea that glass is this pristine material, to give it a bit more history and edge,” explains Holz.

A cluster of Trump figurines.
Above: A cluster of Trump figurines.

The colored glass collection is made using an Italian technique known as incalmo. Much like a ceramist, he builds each piece by heating and fusing together colored pieces of glass. The end product is intentionally playful. “I don’t normally do figurative work,” explains Holz, “but I had fun making these Trumps. I found the quiff worked really well.”

For more studio inspiration, see 1,000 Square Feet on a Budget: An Artist’s Loft in North London. And for more maker’s kitchens, see:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 27, 2018.



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