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Redesigning a Pastime

Monday, January 6th, 2014

By Jill McDonnell
Photos by Kevin Marple

Though not as ubiquitous as Starbucks, bowling alleys remain a common presence in many cities and towns. But lest you think that the beers, balls, and pins are simply your grandparents’ idea of a good time, full-service design firm JonesBaker brings about a pinsetter sensibility to create Bowl & Barrel, a unique, boutique bowling outfit in the heart of Dallas.

Giving the somewhat dated bowling experience a contemporary facelift was a challenge that William Baker of JonesBaker was prepared to face. “We wanted to reinterpret the typical American bowling alley that has had the same basic look since the 1950s by reinventing it and giving it a warmer, less corporate, more intimate vibe,” Baker says.

To put a spin on the staid alley look, JonesBaker worked with the structural columns in the space to help break up the 15 lanes into a smaller grouping of spaces/ “We decided to break up the ceiling by adding arched wood trusses, alternating with raised areas, and custom designing the focal walls behind the pins,” Baker says.

Comfort and warmth seep from every surface of the alley, thanks to a color scheme based upon natural materials. “When we began, this was a typical shell space with no inherent character other than concrete columns,”Baker says. “We added brick, the wood trusses, and the wood floors to give the space a warm, industrial warehouse aesthetic.”

Furniture was another important consideration for JonesBaker to provide Bowl & Barrel with a vibe akin to hanging out in a friend’s loft. The firm accomplished the casual cool feel through the use of sofas, lounge furniture, and softer lighting. Food also plays a key part in the Bowl & Barrel experience, and JonesBaker understood the importance of creating a captivating design aesthetic to highlight the full-service restaurant combination of a modern American tavern and a classic European beer hall.

“We used a large communal table in the dining room,” Baker says, “along with a long bar backed with steel-frame windows in the bowling area and an open kitchen surrounded by wood-display shelving and vintage crockery, crates, and copper cookware.”

Whether you’re in the mood for a few frames or an entire series, the sport’s time-honored traditions still abound at Bowl & Barrel. But its modern digs and design aesthetic help propel the game out of the past, assuring bowling’s spot as a popular pastime of the present and future. 

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