Back Lane Café Collaboration

The Hintonburg area of Ottawa is crawling with hip new restaurants and one of the latest additions is the Back Lane Café. I got a chance to visit on the weekend and although it wasn’t for the food this trip,  I will definitely be making a culinary visit in the near future.

I was there to photograph an interior design collaboration initiated by the owner George Monsour who recently returned to Ottawa from 6 years in Paris. My friends over at Rusty Nail  Design were tasked with creating a charming time-worn interior in a completely stripped down shell.

“The intention with this restaurant was to combine the transparent and informal workings of a colonial bakery with the subtle sophistication of a classic Parisian cafe. These two elements were combined using original Canadian architectural items (see the facade over the bar). Recovered logs from the Rideau river milled for flooring, doors and iron work from turn of the century  Canadian houses and post & beams from local barns.”
There certainly is a Parisian feel to the café but it also has more contemporary elements that give it a bit of a fresh edge. The custom concrete counter at the bar for example was finished to give it a look somewhat like aged metal with a lovely rich surface.

On Sunday the Rusty Nail crew were busy installing a new element to the interior, designed to help improve the acoustics.

A sound dampening material was essentially hidden inside some reclaimed shuttered window frames and mounted to the wall. This cuts down significantly on the space previously showcasing artwork but solves an important problem.

Rusty Nail called in another person to collaborate on this project. Artist Heather Snow contributed curly ironwork mounted to the front of each window. There is other iron work dotted around the café pulling all the elements together. (I will confess here that Heather Snow is my sister! She has recently become a welder which brings up her coolness factor significantly in my books)

You can find out more about these innovative artist/designers here:
Rusty Nail Design
Heather Snow
The Back Lane Café is located at 1087 Wellington St. W.Ottawa, ON 613-695-2999 No website yet but they are on Twitter and the reviews are excellent! I also got a peek at the bright beautiful kitchen with lots of natural light and 2 specialty wood burning ovens. Can’t wait to try the food!

Thanks to everyone at The Back Lane Café, Rusty Nail Design and to Heather Snow! And thanks to Desire to Inspire for re-blogging my photos!

All images © Karen McRae

21 thoughts on “Back Lane Café Collaboration

      1. Have you been to Bedford Ave and its side streets yet? Lots of cafes abound… also even closer to Lorimer L stop (up Metropolitan and on its side streets). Give me a day and I’ll jot some names for you if you want. Wifi non-negotiable? At Bushwick, Swallow Cafe is a dream for recyclables – around the corner from Roberta’s.

  1. There’s something about this place that almost reminds me of New Orleans, if that makes sense.

    I really like the way these photos strongly- yet subtly- convey shape and texture.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Hi Karen – I love this sort of cafe – rugged and well used looking – usually with a relaxed atmosphere, and mega-loads of shapes colours and textures to keep me interested and fascinated – as long as the coffee and grub is good! Your photos bring out those aspects and I love the wrought iron butterfly to finish with!

    Take care


  3. I love this kind of architecture and interior design, absolutely stunning! I’m a fan of colorful window shutters:)

  4. Your photos are superb, and your commentary complements them beautifully. If the Café itself manages to conjure up anything close to the ambiance you have created here in your post, I would say their success is assured! : )

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