A Tale of Cocoa Village Interior Design – The Iconic Cafe Margaux, Part I

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A Tale of Cocoa Village Interior Design – The Iconic Cafe Margaux, Part I

How do you bring an iconic landmark restaurant into the 21st century – without losing touch with its unique identity? This was the design dilemma facing the owners of the ever-popular Cocoa Village dining destination – Cafe Margaux. To solve the mystery, proprietors Megan and Alex Litras turned to their nearby neighbor and fellow Cocoa Village resident – Michael Gainey Signature Designs.

Interior design for a restaurant (or any commercial space) is about creating a look that is as beautiful as it is functional. It was also important to stay true to the core identity that Cafe Margaux has become known for by loyal foodie fans near and far. Cocoa Village interior designer Michael Gainey has a close pulse on the identity of this flagship Florida restaurant – since the interior design studio has its office space in the same historic Bellaire Courtyard that is home to Cafe Margaux. Using this insider knowledge and an inventive approach to classic design, the team set out to create a restaurant worthy of the famed Cafe Margaux name, but also with an appealing and updated look.

The story of the Cafe Margaux renovation provides insight into the task of interior designers everywhere: To tell the story of a space in a way that is easy to relate to, stylish, and timeless. The path to reinvention ultimately led to four individual themes that translated into four distinct spaces within the restaurant. These individual themes combine to give Cafe Margaux a multi-faceted look that diners can enjoy over and over again. Each aspect of the renovation aimed to incorporate elements of classic Cocoa Village style with a fresh look based on timeless principles of interior design.

We’ll tackle this tale of Cocoa Village interior design in two parts. In this first narrative, we’ll look at the Normandy Room and the Pearl Room – two beautiful rooms with contrasting looks.

Normandy room, cafe margaux, MGSDThe Normandy Room

We painted the walls a slate blue and installed rustic beams and designed exquisite silk drapes in the same slate blue. The contrast of hand-hewn beams and beautiful window treatments combine for a feeling that is both opulent and approachable. Quaint wall lighting and a vintage map of Paris evoke a rustic French countryside inn where one would expect duck a la Orange to be served. Vintage art and a gilt mirror are further enhanced with recessed lighting that literally make the linens sparkle. Michael summed up his feelings on this room by saying, “I love the masculine feel of this room…it reminded me so much of the cozy places I dined while in France.”



Pearl Room, MGSD, cafe margaux


The Pearl Room

The Pearl Room was named in honor of Megan, Alex’s wife. Mr. Litras is of Greek descent and Megan means ‘pearl’ in the Greek Language – so the concept of creating an elegant, romantic room was born. To achieve the look, we took time to consider the right interior design scheme. One day, as Michael and the designers were working on the design elements for this room, one of them came in and said “Let’s do a Dorothy Draper feel in the Pearl Room!” Michael immediately loved the idea and together they created a dining space that the iconic decorator of the 1940’s would have approved!

We had the entire walls and ceiling painted tuxedo black, enhanced with white moulding panels and crown moulding. The chandeliers are white milk glass that suggest the beauty and grace of swans. Crisp black and white cabana striped draperies overlook the courtyard. “I love the retro feel of Belle Époque Paris, so we couldn’t resist putting black flocked velvet wallpaper on the back wall,” says Michael. On the black-and-white décor, he adds: “I wanted the diners themselves and the beautiful cuisine to be the focus of this room…the overall effect is must incredibly chic!”

Cafe Margaux, MGSDThese two dining spaces capture looks are that unique, yet each are equally inspiring examples of interior design. Stay tuned for the second part of this story, and more highlights of the special touches that brought this historic Cocoa Village landmark to new life.

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