Wisconsin restaurant The Harvey House celebrates the golden age of rail

Home Studios transforms the former train station

Brooklyn practice Home Studios has transformed a former railway building in Madison, Wisconsin, into a restaurant that celebrates ‘the golden age’ of rail.

The Harvey House restaurant is named for Fred Harvey – an ambitious restaurateur who opened a chain of restaurants in train depots in the 1880s. Judy Garland famously played one of his waitresses, known as the ‘Harvey Girls,’ in the 1946 musical of the same name. The restaurant takes over the Milwaukee Road Depot’s old baggage claim building, transforming it into a 5,000 sq ft prewar-style dining room.

Home Studios has used heritage green accents along the building’s window trims and upholstery and dark woods to heighten the railway vibe. It’s also left original ceiling beams and sliding wooden station doors, and historic brickwork exposed as markers of the railway building’s adaptive reuse.

The Harvey House’s downstairs dining room features wooden banquettes and metro-inspired lighting fixtures. At the same time, rattan seating adds a nostalgic touch to the platform patio area. Upstairs is a marble-topped horseshoe bar set with subway tiles and teal leather bar stools that continue the colour palette.

The old train platform is now an informal patio area with string lights and giant palms, and a decommissioned train carriage
Photography: Nicole Franzen

Wood and glass partitions have been installed across the Madison restaurant to separate dining and drinking areas and the kitchen. A decommissioned train carriage (that doubles as a private dining room) can also be glimpsed through a glass wall parallel to the train tracks.

44 W Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703

[h/t Dezeen]

Rattan chairs recall the 1930s
Photography: Nicole Franzen
The colour palette reflects the golden age of the railway, with dark woods and heritage green shades
Photography: Nicole Franzen
The patina of the railway's brickwork adds to the vibe
Photography: Nicole Franzen

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