Hemingway’s Restaurant, Kent Island, Maryland
As we drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, what looks like an expansive beach house, catches my eye with its stunning color palette of deep blue-gray clapboard siding with stark white trim for contrast. On this chilly day in late November, the architecture screams summer and I’m delighted to realize it is a restaurant just waiting for me to discover. Selfishly, I’m thrilled to see very few people inside, leaving me to explore, take photos, and get a closer look at the space. As a designer who has a great love of the water, my senses are on overload as every detail emphasizes the surrounding bay and marina.
The exterior contains brick walkways and a patio on the ground level and a two-tiered wood deck providing stunning views of sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay. Even this late in the season, boats can be seen coming from and going to the marina and we were fortunate enough to see a sailboat heading out for a sunset cruise; reminding us of long, hot summer nights from the not so distant past. The deck, patio, and walkways are perfectly lit by a collection of bronze, nautical-inspired lanterns and on this particular night, the brilliant orange setting sun adds to the ambient outdoor lighting.
We enter inside through white full-pane clear glass doors and are met with the spacious, light-filled resemblance of a beach cottage with honey-colored wood floors and shiny white bead-board paneled walls, topped by warm linen colored drywall. The ceilings are pale sky-blue colored bead-board paneling trimmed in an appealing contrast of stark white. A flat-panel TV screen is strategically placed over the u-shaped bar that is constructed of wood and corrugated metal and the lighting is a combination of recessed pot lights, wall washers, and pendant fixtures. Connected to the bar area is a lounge which features a fireplace wall, that serves as a divider to the main dining area, and expansive windows overlooking the bay. The mantel is simple and understated, flanked by bronze wall sconces that relate to the exterior lights.
Entering into the main dining room, the overall airiness of the restaurant is amplified by a bead-board paneled cathedral ceiling with exposed post and beam construction and ductwork. One main wall is open at the top providing an oversized ledge to display nautical artifacts, which are also mounted in a variety of methods throughout the entire restaurant. Suspended track lighting is used for general lighting, as well as to highlight select elements. The same bronze lantern wall sconces from the lounge can be found on the wood columns and also above a second fireplace, located at the far end of the main dining room. Booths are surrounded by walls capped with a generous ledge for additional display area and in some cases, clear glass panels to designate aisle ways. The same color-scheme is used throughout; reminiscent of sand and sky.
The variety of seating used throughout the restaurant is a welcome respite. Diners have the option of pulling up one of the plentiful cushioned stools surrounding the bar; relaxing in front of the fireplace on the leather tufted sofa; dining at a table topped whiskey barrel while sitting in a woven leather chair; or selecting a booth or traditional-style table setting in the main dining room. In the warmer months, the deck and patio are abundantly filled with tables and chairs and dotted with red market umbrellas for shade.
Our afternoon spent at Hemingways is a very memorable experience for me, not only as a designer, but also as a person who loves waterside dining. On this particular visit, we did spend most of our time in the bar and I did not sample the menu but I hope to return again for a long, romantic dinner and if luck shall have it, watching another brilliant sunset over the Chesapeake Bay.
Additional Design Analysis for Hemingways