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Amelie and Friends in West Sussex

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Amelie and Friends in West Sussex

March 9, 2012

Ten years ago, Rowland and Mary Leach moved from London for a life in the country; Amelie and Friends is their latest gastronomic venture.

After buying an old manor house in Chichester, turning it into a B&B and restaurant called West Stoke House, the couple soon earned their first Michelin star. After several years, tiring of fancy food, they closed the restaurant and applied themselves instead to creating Amelie and Friends, a casual cafe located in a Georgian building.

In partnership with designers at I Love Dust and 44th Hill, the Leaches created a neutral, calm space that adheres to no one place or era. Set in an 18th-century building, the cafe is completely of the moment, offering English country food for today’s locavores.

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Above: Subway tile and wood-framed chalkboards set the industrial-rustic vibe at the counter.

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Above: Designer Mark Graham of I Love Dust says the project was all about “attention to detail.” A wooden crate lined with parchment is a clever (and easy to re-create) idea for proffering baked goods.

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Above: The main dining hall, where breakfast through three-course dinners are served, strikes the right note of formality.

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Above: A carved fireplace and crown molding are two of several references to the building’s Georgian beginnings.

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Above: Because the building is an historical property, the designers were barred from installing light fixtures into the ceiling. Their solution was to place outdoor aluminum flush-mount fixtures along the ceiling and walls, leaving the exposed metal conduit as a design element.

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Above: Oiled-wood dining tables are painted with a strip of white and are paired with white Eames Eiffel Chairs.

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Above: The cafe is an excellent reminder of the never-fail combination of wood and white.

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Above: The restaurant’s takeaway containers are part of I Love Dust’s much-lauded graphic design for the restaurant.

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