The word "McDonald's" evokes images of hard plastic booths, fluorescent lights, and outdated colors. Not exactly the kind of place you'd imagine armchairs and signed artwork. But that is just what franchise owners Barbara and Bob Houck have in mind for one of their four McDonald's. After 41 years, the 502 Reisterstown Road location has come face to face with a wrecking ball, and the Houcks are reimagining what a McDonald's can be.
It was Barbara who called Whitehead & Appel interior design at Nouveau Contemporary Goods with an alluring proposition: a complete McDonald's makeover. Nouveau co-owner Steve Appel and senior designer Bill Goudelock jumped at the chance.
"She's trying to give something to the neighborhood—a place people want to go. A place they can be proud of," says Appel.
When the shiny new restaurant reopens later this fall, the harsh reds and yellows will be replaced with shades of pear, copper, and cayenne. There will be art on the walls—"the artwork is going to be what really sets us apart," says Barbara—and bamboo shades in the windows. The bathroom will have a similar color palette, and a new high-speed hand dryer will replace the old one. The seating will be comfortable (yes, really) and include a lounge area with TVs. There will be some tall bar-height tables and partitions embedded with Capiz shells. The service counter will be a lime green onyx—back lit. And, yes, even the menu board will be swanky. The menu, however, will remain the same, so don't get any bright ideas and order the McEscargot.