Maximalist Interior Design for Real Life

Commercial and hospitality-focused interior designer describes how to anchor bold elements with timeless style.

Written by:Monique Kleinhuizen
Photographed by:Jason Varney
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Cambria design shown: Huntley™

Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood is steeped in history with a thriving shopping and dining scene. When Cambria Style–featured designer Hope Velocette of Velocette Studio stepped in to help owners Nicole Barrick and Brett Naylor reimagine two tired old buildings to create Wilder restaurant, she knew she wanted to marry traditional materials and romance with bold color and modern compositions. Velocette made iterating on the design her personal passion project.

“My personal connection to the project deepened. I dove completely into evolving the interior. The project was omnipresent in my mind,” she says. “I was feeling that the restaurant should be even more over-the-top than the pre-pandemic version of the design. It needed to be a wondrous escape.”

When Wilder opened in spring 2022, the team had created an eye-popping destination restaurant nestled behind a historic facade—complete with a restored vintage neon sign—that blends right in with the neighbors. 

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There are vintage chandeliers clustered over a handmade turquoise-stained table with a Cambria quartz surface inlay. Custom banquettes flank entire rooms—and they’re upholstered in decadent turquoise velvet. Barrick’s own original murals anchor the bar and entryway ceiling—with vintage Persian rugs and animal prints accenting both the seating and walls. Countless local artisans and contractors came together to make the whole look possible.

Understated it is not. But Wilder manages to be over-the-top while maintaining approachability and calm. Here are Velocette’s best tips for making a space bolder—yet timeless. 

Go Monochrome

“Synchronize the color but go wild with texture and pattern,” Velocette says. She worked with Tim Lewis Studio and John Price Upholstery to create the bar, custom turquoise banquettes, and walnut tables for Wilder. Delta Brass Dining Chairs from Crate & Barrel are the standard, with Fireclay Tile 4x4s in Adriatic Sea, Frost, and Sand Dune creating earthy foundations. These traditional browns and warm neutrals create a base for vintage Persian rugs, animal prints, and light and color elements that echo throughout the space.

Look Up

Ceilings are an unexpected place to add pop of color or pattern. Wilder’s entryway and bathrooms feature bold, patterned ceilings and the walls are covered with tiles and textures. A custom staircase calls attention skyward, and an antique horseshoe—found in the excavation from the building’s previous life as a carriage house—is hung on the wall to draw the eye up in a playful nod to history.

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Cambria design shown: Huntley

Velocette worked with Woven Treasures and sculptor Greg Emore to create huge brass-and-rug wall installations, punctuated by bubbly Hemisphere light fixtures from Allied Maker. They draw the eye upward, create unity between disparate spaces, and add loads of character.

Many thanks to Hope Velocette for sharing her vision for Wilder—and her design insights for anyone wanting to infuse a little more life and color into their spaces. You can check out additional designs from Velocette Studio or read more about Wilder and the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia in Cambria Style magazine.

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