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Industrial panache

From a formal dining space full of luxurious fabrics and elegant furnishings, to a casual eatery featuring industrial detail like steel and moody colours – Cristina Hofman from At Home Interiors truly transformed this waterfront restaurant.

However, there was one feature that remained untouched during the renovation work because of its irreplaceable effect on the ambience and atmosphere of the Wollongong venue.

“It’s such a large space, so it needed something to anchor it,” explains Cristina. “The four EcoSmart fires centred around the large concrete support column creates a stunning focal point. The fire, the steel elements, the pops of red and the dark roof just all works perfectly together to create a space full of ambience.”

Previously the RockSalt Bar and Grill, the new owners requested a completely different look to go with the menu overhaul and new name.

“The design brief was to overhaul the entire space and make it more casual and inviting, as the previous venue was quite formal,” explains Cristina. “It used to be a seafood restaurant, but because they changed the menu to mainly meat, we wanted an interior that fit that, so we decided a soft industrial look would be best for The [M]eatery.”

This style also aimed to attract a younger clientele – Cristina was sure to incorporate large, communal tables to encourage the sharing of food (such as the platters of succulent meat that are now available) as well as splashes of red, a black ceiling, a raw brick mural and chalk drawings.

Live music is also slowly being introduced, which, combined with the fire and moody interior design, makes for a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.

“The fire really centres the space I think,” says Cristina. “We anchored some pendant lights around it to really make it pop. The whole look is very unexpected for a beachfront restaurant, as you might expect a light, bright room with accents of soft blue or something to that affect. That’s why we went in the opposite direction with the new design.”

Although not the original designer that selected the EcoSmart fires, Cristina sings its praises.

“The EcoSmart fires are just so versatile in terms of how you can use them in a design, they look stylish, have a compact design, aren’t messy and don’t need to be vented. I’m looking at including them in my next project.”

Cristina Hofman, Interior Designer

Cristina has received a stack of compliments from customers who love the new design of the [M]eatery, and has even been tracked down by other restaurant owners who would like her to refurbish their dining venues also!


  • Country: Australia
  • Client: [m]eatery
  • Specifier: At Home Interiors