AD PRO: The new aesthetic is bright and coastal, a big departure from the formerly red, dark interiors. What inspired the shift?
IP: From an aesthetic point of view, it has a nod towards both Ben’s past and mine. Ben is from New York, so it references the pre-war buildings there. I started my professional life in Miami Beach, so this has a little bit of that—the Art Deco, scalloped bar, and porthole mirrors. It is a meeting of both of those worlds.
AD PRO: Let’s talk about that oval bar. Why the oval shape?
IP: We wanted a bar that you can sit and look across so you can have a see-and-be-seen thing. The shape is something fun. The curved tiles were hard to find. There is a source in Italy that makes tiles like these…I emailed them 10 times and never got a response. So, I had to use a different source. I found these at Ann Sacks.
Name: The Annie Café & Bar
Design Team: Architect Issac Preminger and owner Ben Berg
Size: 11,000 square feet
Location: Uptown Houston
Project timeline: Four months
Biggest challenge: To find readily available materials within two months, in the quantity we needed
Strangest source: The herringbone floor is from England. We bought everything [the supplier] had and it was just enough to do the space.
Biggest-ticket item: The interior steel doors and windows
Smallest-ticket item: Original light fixtures from Grand Central Station. I got at least two or three for $850 at auction.