Last year around this time, my partners and I acquired the building that is in the process of becoming Dogwood Tavern. While we had planned on doing a sort of quickie fix-it to open early 2017, it turned into a full-blown renovation. Much of the structure has remained the same, but the entire place has changed drastically in the year that we’ve been in there working on it.
Even through the renovation, we had hoped to be open this year, but as December is now fully in motion, it’s looking like 2018 will be our year. I still have dreams of getting open by New Year’s Eve, but we may need to move mountains to get it done… which I am willing -though not entirely sure I’m able.
Anyway, I haven’t shared too much about it since we are opening in a fairly small town and want that real life BIG REVEAL… so I’ve had to think hard about how to share it, but it’s also SO HARD keeping it from you!
You can follow along on the @Dogwood_Tavern Instagram and if you keep a watch on my (@lovemaegan) stories on Instagram, you’ll see sneak peeks as I’m there nearly every night working on the renovation with my partners.
Dogwood Tavern Renovation Inspiration…
Our plans for the space have changed drastically (though our vision for it has stayed the same), I think originally we were going to keep it pretty minimal and just do a few upgrades (which was also based on our original name The Night Owl – which was unavailable). But as we dug deeper into the 80 year old building, more and more problems arose and challenged us to do more to the space.
As far as the design was concerned, again, originally, we were going to just update a few things, but as we worked on the project we realized we had to do a complete facelift to give the space a new feeling after being open as The Royal Oak restaurant for so many years… we wanted the community up here in Lake Arrowhead (and the surrounding towns) to feel a sense of nostalgia when they walked in, but to also feel like it was a completely different space that they could feel at home in again. And once we finalized the name Dogwood Tavern, the space had to convey the feeling of the name which we agreed would combine elements of modern-rustic tavern meets cozy retro ski lodge.
There is little to do in the entertainment and nightlife up here in the mountains (though the opening of the new Skypark at Santa’s Village about 20 mins away has offered fun new options) but nothing more than a few restaurants and bars apart from the summer festivities at the village. When I moved up here about 5 years ago I wondered why this amazingly magical little town and resort getaway didn’t offer more to do when it had so much potential and immediately wanted to create a space to add to the community for locals and tourists alike.
We need a place to have fun that offers more than just booze and food, but that has entertainment and games as well all wrapped up in a warm and inviting mountain vibe that you’ll want to run to to have fun whether it’s snowing or the sun is shining… and this remains the ultimate goal of Dogwood Tavern.
I’m SUPER excited about this venture and this new adventure ahead and while it’s taking a LOT of patience right now to see it through to the end in these final months that are very challenging, I literally CANNOT WAIT TO OPEN! I hope you’ll come visit once we do! I can’t wait to see and meet all of you in person and now there is a place where that can actually happen and I am so thrilled about it, I can’t even tell you.
But until then, here’s a little bit of a mood board or vision we had for the space. We’ve pulled some direct inspo but also were just looking for an actual “mood” to follow and consistently design around. We never really created one together, but spent months and months texting photos of ideas back and forth to each other and combined all of our ideas to be consistent with the name Dogwood Tavern… and are while we are still working out a few kinks, our hope is to create a modern but warm and cozy space full of old world tavern charm but with new amenities and a rustic feel. We’re using many of the original tables and chairs and barstools to keep that original vibe, as well as a few of the old chandeliers, but have reworked the space into something we all love.
Below (and above) are just some of the photos we’ve tossed back and forth for inspiration. Photo credits are at the end of the post.
We love the mix of stone and wood and the original beams in the space add that without even trying.
With the name Dogwood in the title (because Lake Arrowhead and Blue Jay are known for their amazing Dogwood Trees), using natural trees has been part of our vision since day one… However, we have not harmed or cut down any living trees 🙂
A little retro James Bond ski lodge action for the ultimate inspiration 😉
As we get closer to opening I’ll be sharing more before and afters but I don’t want to give away too much so as to keep it a surprise for the locals up here.
And find all my inspiration photos on my Dogwood Tavern Pinterest board