Interior Design Spotlight: French Metro Antiques and Atlas The Restaurant

Three years ago, French Metro embarked on a journey to restore and furnish the circa 1923 Ellis Building in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Originally the home of the Ellis Motor Company and a Packard car dealership, it is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is the home of Atlas, an upscale restaurant that serves global contemporary cuisine inspired by our son Elliot’s travels across six continents.

French Metro’s touch is apparent throughout the thoughtfully curated interior design which showcases antiques, serving pieces, and art objects from around the world including France.

Our first acquisition was a large zinc clock with a hand painted enameled face and iron hands.  Marked with the name of the maker, Henriot Le Chesne, the clock was originally inset into the exterior facade of a church around the year 1900.  A perfect find for the bar!  It must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world—Cocktails, anyone?

The industrial feel of the Ellis Building inspired us to bring back this circa 1920 iron grain dolly complete with its original brass plaque marked Paris.  Its crank mechanism adjusts the height of a display shelf we added to showcase a Nebuchadnezzar-size bottle of champagne. 

The soaring ceiling and exposed trusses of the building called for large scale decorative pieces.  A zinc window originally in the mansard roof of a Paris apartment building now frames a mirror gazing upon the diners in the main dining room.

Speaking of scale, one of our favorite finds was an enormous bronze and silver champagne bucket.  Custom-made for a restaurant in Paris, it now holds twenty bottles for Atlas and rings like a bell when you tap it!

As our clients well know, we love copper at French Metro, and so does Chef Elliot.  The kitchen is outfitted with over thirty copper pots we brought back from France.  And a large copper and brass lantern hangs from a solid bronze bracket over the door leading to the outdoor patio.

In keeping with the brass accent color throughout the interior, the restaurant is appointed with all kinds of brass and bronze treasures.  A beautiful old bronze door handle at the front door sets the tone.  A book rest from the altar of a church now holds the iPad where the host or hostess greets you at an antique counter from a French shop.  Two brass train racks, originally used in railroad compartments, now hold coats and hats in the lounge.

Creating intimate spaces in a large restaurant is not always easy to achieve, but two very large hand forged iron partitions from the 1890’s were just what we needed.

Designing bathrooms is actually one of our favorite tasks.  Antique French chandeliers and gilt wood mirrors along with a stunning Louis XVI vanity add some glamour to the space.

Atlas The Restaurant tells the story of our world through the language of food and hospitality.  Antique trunks and maps, an armillary sphere, and objets d’art from around the world, all curated by the French Metro team, surround the diners enjoying the global cuisine inspired by Chef Elliot’s travels.

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Renee Hunt
Renee Hunt


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