As Candy DeBartolo’s restaurant The Sacred Pepper has taken off, quite successfully I may add, I feel extreme happiness for her as well as for my team that worked on designing this unique space. The design process was riveting, knowing that this design would not only cater to one person or one family, but to the thousands of people who enter this establishment. Making sure to create Candy’s vision as well as a space that would accommodate the 202 guests while making them feel in a trendy yet comfortable atmosphere, definitely took lots of planning and collaboration, but in the end, the whole process was an amazing experience and definitely worth the hard work.
Given the healthy budget, designing The Sacred Pepper allowed for us to use unique and exclusive custom items, as well as constructing some astonishing features, that you won't find anywhere else. For instance, the hand-blown glass chandeliers we had custom made in Portugal. They are not only a rare accessory, but they are truly art! We also created a customized hallway, made by one of Tampa’s most popular artists, Jason Hulfish, which is made to look as though you are in a champagne bottle - representing the fun, happy, stylish, and one-of-a-kind experience that Candy is looking to offer her clientele.
Although some of the main features in The Sacred Pepper are quite elaborate, we made sure to balance out the design with plenty of organic and neutral-colored materials and textures, such as with water, pecky cypress, ivy, and trees. We wanted to use elements that would bring together an old Florida style with Los Angeles trends - and thankfully organic, fun, and light-hearted pieces are an intrinsic component of both location. Personally, I think this type of fusion creates an interesting expression of how two design styles can blend and complement one another.
Beyond what first meets the eye, there are also plenty of intricate design details throughout the restaurant. Candy wanted every part of the design to represent something sacred, from the front entrance adorned with a glass bubble curtain to the elegant terrazzo tabletops to the gorgeous cobalt blue carpeting - every step in the dining process was to be a truly significant experience.
One of my favorite details has to be the agate countertops at the bar. The combination of beautiful, colorful gems light up the area and offer something vibrant and lively while also being an artistic feature.
With modern and glam features, mixed with beautiful organic elements, this restaurant successfully became the place Candy had anticipated. I loved every aspect of this project and working with Candy is always an absolute dream, as her personality and visions are never shy of creativity and imagination. So, if you’re ever in North Tampa, don’t forget to stop by The Sacred Pepper for a sincerely special dining experience!