This unexpected and vibrant aesthetic of Sam Hill was inspired by the lore and legend of Michigan surveyor and notorious foul-mouthed adventurer of the same name. The design concept blends the aesthetics of vintage sports paraphernalia with playful references to historic saloon interiors.A traditional pattern of black and white mosaic tile and woodgrain plank flooring create a classic base for the space and highlight the punchy and playful elements that are found in every corner of the restaurant. Light buttermilk white board and batten walls greet guests and allow super graphics bespoke to the Sam Hill brand pop while complementing clusters of custom art installations featuring vintage found items modified by artist Ryan Humphrey of Humphrey Industries.


Long stretches of custom banquettes and cozy booths are clad in deep red upholstery and knotty pine paneling that carries through in custom display millwork that houses more curated art pieces as well as the brand’s merch. Throughout the restaurant, classic Windsor chairs and upholstered dining chairs sit alongside custom painted table tops and more untraditional seating types like theater row seats and church pews – another example of the eclectic styling of the space.


The existing bar received a colorful update with the application of a high gloss poppy orange paint at the backbar and a black corrugated metal cladding at the bar front with a heavy wood top. Sporty black and white stripes run between the existing ceiling beams adding another unexpected element to an unconventional part of the space. For those with a keen eye, there are cheeky nods to Sam Hill throughout the restaurant like a custom zoetrope wallcovering showing a horse mid stride and plenty of nods to the strange and unusual befitting the curious life and legacy of an intrepid explorer.


Ann Arbor, Michigan




John D'Angelo

  • Interior Design
  • Architectural Design
  • Furniture Specification
  • Creative Direction
  • Art & Styling
Project Team
  • Molly Redigan
  • Ryan Smith
  • Patrick Thompson
  • Ryan Humphrey of Humphrey Industries