Goodfolks restaurant in Georgetown, TX, resides in the historic M. B. Lockett Building, a beautiful brick-and-limestone specimen of High Victorian commercial architecture. Originally constructed in 1885, the building has lived many lives over the course of its 130-plus years, from a dry goods mercantile to a catering business to a burger joint.
When the designers at Austin’s Unhinged Studio set out to reinvent the building for its latest act as a dining and nightlife destination, they sought to pay homage to the structure’s history, while infusing it with a fresh sense of aesthetic modernity. That meant contending with a dark ambiance and low mezzanine ceilings to ultimately open up the space with airy aesthetics and reinvigorate it with a design palette of clean lines and light tones.
Joy Flores, Unhinged Studio owner and principal, and Patrick Allen, senior interior designer, collaborated with Noack Little Architecture & Interiors on the design of Goodfolks, which opened in October 2021. Key to their process was selecting materials and products that visually balance the past and present while also serving altogether practical needs: affordability to meet the project budget and extreme durability for a high-traffic restaurant environment.
The restaurant is infused with materials, colors and textures that look both forward and backward in time. The rich gray wooden tone of the floors and coppertoned upholstery nod to craftsmanship of a bygone era, while the restrained black, white, and natural color palette are completely modern. Black-and-white mosaic floor tile defines the bar area, which also features a striking zinc-topped bar framed with copper molding that will age to patina beautifully.
“THINSCAPE came out ahead for its performance specifications and because the look of the marble was just so deep and warm.”
“It was important to balance the old with the new,” says Flores of the interior design. “We wanted to celebrate the building’s storied history with a feel of timelessness, but also give it a fresh, clean sense of modernity that doesn’t feel out of place.”
CLASSIC LOOKS, MODERN USE
In terms of looks and performance, one the most consequential material selections Allen and Flores made was the marble-design tabletops and booth tops. They opted for Wilsonart® THINSCAPE® Performance Tops, an ultra-thin, elegant surface with fresh style and next-level durability.
Based on their aesthetic goals, performance needs and the project’s budget, Allen and Flores weighed their options. “Trying to achieve the timeless marble look while working within our budget, we were guided to two products: quartz or THINSCAPE,” Allen explains. “Ultimately, THINSCAPE came out ahead for its performance specifications and because the look of the marble was just so deep and warm.”
The THINSCAPE collection features a versatile mix of stone and metal designs. Flores and Allen selected Calcutta Blanc, a classic, large-scale Italian marble look with a grey and taupe vein structure and luster finish.
“I love it because it can go warm or cool depending on its surroundings,” Flores says of the finish. “It has so much versatility.”
Indeed, the bright marble look acts as a linchpin in the overall design of the space, absorbing the warm natural tones around it and marrying them with the stark blackand- white color palette of the wall, lighting and tilework.
What makes THINSCAPE® unique is that it is a low-profile (only 1/2" thick), engineered composite slab with rich textural depth. It belies its thin, sleek looks with incredible durability—it won’t crack the way stone can, and it is highly resistant to scratches, impact and moisture. So it’s well suited to withstand the abuse it will take in a restaurant setting.
THINSCAPE can also be quickly and easily fabricated without the need of a substrate. The slabs are pre-finished on both faces, so there’s a huge time saving in the finishing process—pieces are cut to size using standard wood shop tools, and the only sanding required is along the edges after the edge profile is routed.
“What really sold me was the knife edge,” says Flores. “Being able to easily cut and sand the edges to create that knife edge look with THINSCAPE was huge for us.”
During the fabrication of the tabletops, Allen says Gunckel Architectural Millwork of Seguin, TX, Unhinged Studios’ fabrication partner on the project, also discovered an additional benefit in the workability of THINSCAPE.® Because of its construction, countersinking bolts on the underside to attach tabletops to their bases was a smooth process—faster and easier than drilling into stone or quartz—that resulted in strong anchors. And that translates to real-world durability in the restaurant.
“THINSCAPE was just a natural choice that came with real practical performance for a restaurant,” Allen explains. “It is relatively lighter in comparison to quartz, and staff members don’t want to move around a heavy quartz or stone table and risk tipping and chipping or breaking the edges or scratching up the floors.” Since opening in 2021, Goodfolks has seen a steady flow of traffic, with overwhelmingly positive customer reviews praising the restaurant’s upscale comfort food, reliable service and inviting décor. Allen has been back to the restaurant a number of times since its opening and has noticed that the THINSCAPE looks as attractive as the day the restaurant opened.
“It’s performing exactly like we hoped,” he says. And that performance will last for years to come.