Case Study: The Floor Really Pulls the Room Together

The Challenge: to transform circa 1818 space formerly home to the country’s second-ever chartered savings bank into a fine-dining restaurant featuring menu items inspired by 19th century New England culinary methods, particularly live-fire cooking.
The Solution: Prior to opening Ledger, a one-of-a-kind  restaurant and bar in the former Salem Savings Bank in downtown Salem, Massachusetts a year ago, chef-owner Matt O’Neil tapped the design team at Assembly Design Studio. He selected the Boston-based firm due to its extensive resume in restaurant design — particularly its work in renovating a 1945 building, once home to an old Family Dollar store, into Capo Restaurant  in South Boston.
Renovation of the former  bank building involved  multiple challenges. Not  only did the space feature  the original plaster ceiling,  original brick walls and extremely  tall windows, but it also included a  large safe that the design team would have  to somehow incorporate within the interior design  approach. Another challenge, according to lead designer Erica Diskin, was that the interior space consisted of a massive amount of concrete slab flooring, a difficult flooring substrate to work with, especially considering concerns with budget.
“It  was a huge undertaking,” said Diskin.
She and  her team were  able to transform the site  into a lively and inviting dining establishment  showcasing a 30-seat bar, a chef’s table, a six-seat  oyster bar and a private dining room  that can accommodate  up to 60 people. Additionally,  the Assembly team was able to incorporate  the bank’s old safe deposit boxes into the  restaurant design by creating a privacy wall.
When working with a difficult flooring  substrate, having a skilled flooring contractor is crucial. This is where REM Flooring  came in; with help from Ralph Massa of REM, the substrate at Ledger was properly prepped then allowing for an easy installation of the chosen flooring product.
Having  used Parterre’s  flooring in previous  design projects, Diskin  said she pitched the luxury  vinyl flooring  right off  the bat. Diskin  and the design team  selected Parterre’s Harbor Oak, a wood-looking flooring  product from the InGrained Resilient  Plank collection, for the private dining  area.
“I thought it would be the perfect  application,” said Diskin. “It has that real  wood look, can be easily applied, and it wasn’t  going to cost a crazy amount of money in terms of  installation and labor costs.”
Another attractive attribute of the vinyl flooring was its color and design versatility, which Diskin said turned out to be “perfect” for the particular design approach  chosen for the new restaurant space. Ironically enough, the design of Harbor  Oak comes directly from an old pier in nearby Boston Harbor, which gives it a  rustic, coastal feel that’s fitting for Salem. In addition to Harbor Oak, Diskin  and her team selected Starry Oak, another wood-looking flooring option, for the main  dining room areas on either side of the bar. Pairing well with Harbor Oak, Starry Oak from  the Vertu Luxury Vinyl Plank collection is another rustic oak look with tints of blue in its  design. Additional luxury vinyl designs used were Parterre’s Ornamental Onyx, an elegant black stone  look, and a white and gray marble design, Classique Pure. 
Diskin said her  team was able to preserve and reuse  some of the old elements of the building, such  as the original ceiling, in creating a fresh yet  historic look for the restaurant. Parterre’s flooring, according  to Diskin, only enhanced that look. 
“It was something new, but it looked like it could be an old floor. It went along nicely with the idea that we were trying to refresh this old space with a fresh and modern feel.”
Diskin recommends Parterre products for hospitality projects for a variety of reasons.
“The flooring is not only visually appealing but also incredibly durable and allows for installation, she said. “The price point is also very appealing to many of our clients as well.”