Situated on a bustling street in South Boston, Gray’s Hall is both a community gathering spot and a beloved neighborhood wine bar. Historically the home of the country’s oldest civic organization, Gray's Hall pays homage to its past in both interior and intention.
Inspired by the location’s history, co-founder Matt Thayer aimed to create an approachable natural wine experience for the Southie community. To achieve the laid-back aesthetic, Matt brought in his partner and interior designer, Meredith of Thayer Design Studio to help. The result is a cozy and impeccably designed space filled with vintage tile, original art, and vibrant pops of color. Finding ourselves completely captivated by their stunning shop and community values, we asked the duo to share more about their early beginnings, design inspiration, and Schoolhouse favorites.
"A neighborhood meeting place, creating community through food, wine, and customer service with an unpretentious, approachable vibe."
What you’re known for: Natural wine, cheese & charcuterie, and our sister specialty shop, American Provisions (right next door).
Origin story: After starting American Provisions in 2010, we wanted to open a like-minded, community-focused space where we could share more of what we love in the wine and food world. – a place where you felt like you were going over to your friend's house for dinner. So, when the space directly next to our original South Boston shop became available, we decided to take a leap!
Biggest challenge: Converting an old nail salon into a restaurant. It's a long and narrow space and we needed to creatively think about how to fit everything on a tight budget.
Concept of the space: We wanted the space to feel relaxed and welcoming, simple but interesting with a nod to traditional materials. Nothing too fussy, just comfortable. We used wide paneling, peg rails, niches, and built-in benches all painted in a rusty red. We also worked with traditional square ceramic tiles in green and white for the backsplash and black and white mosaic tiles for the entry. Finally, we added oak accents throughout for a clean look and linen cushions with lots of texture to create a relaxed vibe.
Favorite Design Element:
Our favorite is the large-scale art piece we commissioned by local artist and sign painter, Kenji Nakayama. Kenji's work felt like the ideal fit because his process of hand lettering and sign-making to create art is such a traditional skill. Kenji is a local artist in South Boston, a dear friend, and a longtime customer of American Provisions. Commissioning him for the space was important to us and furthered the idea of Gray’s Hall being a space for the community.
The Schoolhouse fixtures were a perfect fit in the space because of their industrial yet traditional feel, and we love that the lights are assembled in the U.S.
Pendants over the bar – Agnes Pendant 2.25" + Opal Saucer Shade
Pendants over window bar and table seating – Olin Pendant
Sconces over bar and in bathroom – U/2 Sconce
Flush mounts throughout – U/1 Sconce
Photos by Joyelle West