willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

Design and Menu Inspiration for Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe

Photo by Brett Boyle

When I first laid eyes on the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village, I felt an immediate pull to create something within her walls that spoke to her history and to that of the village. As I have written about in my past blogs, this house has been re-invented many times through the years since the stone was first stacked, one-by-one, to create those beautiful walls in the 1830’s.

The large stone front of the house was actually added on to a much smaller original dwelling that seems to be from the late 1700’s. This is the room that you have seen me post about, where we took the wallpapered wall to the right of this picture out, for it was not original. Much to our surprise, this revealed a fireplace that had been covered up on the other side of that wall.

It is highly unusual to have two walk-in fireplaces side-by-side like these two, with no room for a wall in between them to separate them into different rooms. Remember, when these stone houses were built, all of their walls were incredibly thick, like in the photo below, so we know these fireplaces were not divided by a wall back in the day. With that, we think that perhaps these two side-by-side fireplaces were used to cook for all of the farmhands or a large family that inhabited this property. We know that the large barn next door that has since become the township building and the home of SALT Performing Arts and this older structure were once part of the same farm parcel.

The revelation that one part of the house was built significantly before the other and has an entirely different aesthetic and feel has been a guiding hand in the design of the spaces. We want to acknowledge their time period yet want the design to be harmonious so that one flows into the other.

In this post, I am speaking to the design inspiration of this intimate back space that is becoming the cafe part of our project, as well as the inspiration behind our menu.

In this part of the building, I want warm woods…

and metals with patina…

balanced by the luster and elegance of marble…

to fill this space with the feel of yesteryear that this house embodies.

I’m looking to create a space that is not contrived but rather feels like it has evolved over the years, layer by layer, as this house has. We have been gathering pieces that fit this design plan and are very close to beginning their installation. An exciting time indeed!

We even have the most beautiful old library ladder that we will be installing to get to the highest shelves for storage in the cafe.

 What are we going to be serving in this re-imagined room where food was once prepared well over two hundred years ago? We have put so much time and thought into bringing this beauty back to her former glory and then some that we feel her menu will have to do her justice.

Food as Art is our mantra here.

Think fresh seasonal ingredients that highlight local purveyors and makers…

and the integration of herbs and flowers into the recipes, whose creative presentations will be as beautiful as the taste of the food itself.

After all, Historic Yellow Springs Village has been centered around the arts for more than a century. Before that, it was a Spa Village where the pursuit of health and wellness brought patrons from near and far to its healing springs. Our menus will delve into both art and health, giving a nod to the village’s past in which this house was an integral part.

On board will be fabulous coffees, teas, juices and flavored seltzers.

Sweets…

and savories.

Menu items that have been inspired by what we love to eat…

that contain what we love to grow…

and that sometimes, just sometimes, might seem too pretty to eat.

At Life’s Patina, we believe in experiences and places that leave an impression.

Places that make you feel something.

Places that put a little extra into everything they do, which lends itself towards creating that unique experience.

Places you take a little bit of with you into your everyday when you leave.

In our design, in our food offerings and in our service, that is what we hope to bring to you when you visit the Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe at the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs. 

 

We hope that you can come visit us when the doors open to this Grande Dame!

xoxo

Meg

 

 

 

 

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  1. Catherine schneider says:

    When r u opening?

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Catherine!
      We are shooting for an October opening dependent on the kitchen equipment arriving on time, the health department and inspections!
      Crossing fingers!
      Thanks~
      Meg

  2. Karen Mills says:

    You bet I’ll be there! I think it’s already my FAVORITE place to be 💝

    • Meg Veno says:

      That is so sweet Karen! I hope that I haven’t “talked up” the place too much! We will love seeing you there and so glad that you are excited about the project!
      XX
      Meg

  3. Christine Fedak says:

    My daughters and I cannot wait! My 15 year old loves to cook and bake and I’m sure she will be hoping to be a part of this gem♥️. This is just what this area is longing for.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Christine! We are so glad that you are looking forward to our opening! We have felt for a long time, every time we visited the village in fact that a cafe would be a wonderful offering so we are very happy to hear that members of the community think so too! As we start to hire, I am sure that your daughter could be a part!
      XX
      Meg

  4. Laura Carpenter says:

    i am so excited to see the transformation of this beautiful space and enjoy a lovely meal in the cafe!!!

    • Meg Veno says:

      We are so excited to show her to you Laura! I hope that all of the Carpenters are well and I look forward to seeing you soon!
      XX
      Meg

  5. Barb Helpin says:

    I’m so looking forward to bringing a special girlfriend there for her next birthday, whenever the Jenny Lind is open! It will be so beautiful and a memorable occasion to visit.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Barb! What a wonderful way to visit! We hope to be the place that many of our guests celebrate special occasions… we all love to celebrate at Life’s Patina. Thank you for thinking of us to do so! We are hoping to offer you that service soon and look forward to seeing you in the Cafe!
      XX
      Meg

  6. Debbie says:

    Can’t wait for the “Grand Opening”! Do you have a date set yet ? I will be in town from Colorado mid August, and would so love to celebrate this amazing transformation of the Jenny Lind . Yummy menu!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Debbie!
      Unfortunately she will not be ready in August. Too many delays with the kitchen design company that we are working with but we hope to be moving full steam ahead in the next week with that. We are shooting for an October opening but would love to see you whenever you are back in town!
      XX
      Meg

  7. Barbara Bendall says:

    I can’t wait to experience your latest transformation! In true Meg form I have no doubt that it will be fantastic!! Hurry hurry🥰

    • Meg Veno says:

      That is so sweet Barb! Thank you for your excitement and for your confidence!
      WE hope to be showing her off soon!
      XX
      Meg

  8. Nancy Pierce says:

    Can’t wait!

  9. Watching you bring the Jenny Lind back to life is so exciting. Can barely wait till LP Mercantile & Cafe opens its doors for all of us to enjoy. Beautiful food art too.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you for following along on the journey Brenda! She is a true beauty that just needed a huge dusting off. She is almost ready and we cannot wait to show her off! Hope to see you there soon!
      XX
      Meg

  10. Laurie Ann says:

    I can’t wait to see the final restoration and dine in the cafe!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Laurie! We cannot wait to show her off and have you visit with is in the Cafe too!
      Thanks for your excitement!
      XX
      Meg

  11. Denise Sedor says:

    Wow Meg, dreams really do come true. Congratulations! I can’t wait to come experience this labor of love.
    Denise

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you my friend… for everything! Your support over the years has meant the world!
      I hope to welcome you into the Cafe soon!
      xo
      Meg

  12. Ken says:

    Good morning, Meg. Great post! Do you have an ETA on the opening of this gem?

    Thank you.

    Ken

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hello Tom. Thank you for reading the post! We are shooting for an October opening given that all goes well with the kitchen equipment deliveries, the health department and inspectors. Crossing fingers!
      Thank you for following along and we hope to see you in the Cafe soon!
      Best,
      Meg

  13. Liz Finley says:

    Thanks for sharing the updates, watching this cafe come alive is exciting. Can’t wait to visit in person!!!

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Liz for following along! We are looking forward to greeting you in person at the Cafe… thank you for your support!
      XX
      Meg

  14. I’m very excited and anxiously anticipating the opening of this beautiful place. I’m an artist who teaches at Yellow Springs and always hoped that a nice facility as yours would arrive in our beloved village. I’ve been to your barn in Paoli and am always delighted with your great sense of style and panache. Looking forward to the opening.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you Jean-Marie for your lovely comments and for your support and enjoyment of our Barn Sales! I am so glad that you have been able to visit the barn so you that you have a small taste of what is to come in the village. Since you spend much time on the village I am certain that you were awaiting something to open up in the village to offer to all of the villages guests! We hope to be just that… a beautiful offering of food, inspiration and community!
      We look forward to seeing you soon!
      XX
      Meg

  15. Donna McQuillen says:

    Can’t wait!

  16. Margaret Naku says:

    Looks wonderful! Any estimates of your opening date?

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Margaret! Thank you for reading and for commenting! We are shooting for an October opening but that will depend on the health department, inspector, kitchen equipment deliveries arriving on time
      Crossing fingers!
      Thanks and hope to see you there soon!
      Meg

  17. Julie Blackstone says:

    Looks so awesome! We can not wait to be able to come when it opens!

    Julie Blackstone

    • Meg Veno says:

      We cannot wait to host you Julie! Thanks so much for reading and for following along! See you soon!
      xx
      Meg