Darrell’s Restaurant and Amber Room Lounge, Corvallis, OR 

Project type:  Restaurant and lounge design / remodel (un-built)  

Open since 1967, Darrell’s is a family-run institution with a loyal customer base, owned by two brothers who worked there as teenagers. When they hired Hopper Design to update the space, we knew we had to retain the unique original elements and nostalgia evoked by the original diner while making the space more functional. We reconfigured the floor plan, adding a new waiting area that linked the restaurant and a seldom used overflow annex. This new layout created better flow and circulation, and reclaimed space that now accommodates code-compliant restrooms and a coffee shop with grab-n-go lunch options. 

We drew design inspiration from the car culture and the space race, twin icons of the 60’s, and held on to notable original elements like the tufted upholstery and hand-painted and neon signage. Since the building had, as the saying goes, “great bones,” we enhanced it with updated finishes, flooring, furniture, and lighting fixtures that maintain a retro-look using modern materials.

The remodeled foyer immediately sets the tone with specialty reflector bulbs, inflatable mirrored balls, and atomic-age wall graphics. Further inside the restaurant, we used a sculptural divider embellished with circular mirrors, moon-hubcaps, and original photos to mask the service areas in an attractive, entertaining way. The Amber Room Lounge, adjacent to the main dining hall, features a backdrop of lush yellow and gold tones.  LED strips lining floor transition areas provide both safety and visual appeal. We enhanced the cocktail lounge ambiance by adding mirrors and shimmer screens that reflect glimmering light from new light panels and updated sconces.   

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