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Q+A with Oxford Design

We sat down with Tate Casper and Jordan Winston, the interior designers behind spaces like Oxford Exchange and Casa Cami.

Tate Casper and Jordan Winston smile for the camera. The pair are in an intricate green and white room, both wearing bright clothing.

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Photo via Oxford Design

Stepping foot inside Oxford Exchange in Hyde Park is an otherworldly experience. Intricate marble flooring accompanies a tranquil bookstore, carefully crafted coffee + cocktail options, and a range of dining delights. We recommend Sunday afternoon tea.

The beloved Tampa gathering spot opened in 2012, after the historic building’s restoration was complete. Thanks to the efforts of Oxford Design — and its leaders Tate Casper and Jordan Winston — Oxford Exchange remains a buzzy hotspot in the Tampa Bay scene.

Since then, Casper and Winston have spearheaded several high-profile interior design projects in our area, including The Library in St. Pete, Predalina in Water Street Tampa, and Casa Cami — our area’s latest rooftop option.

We sat down to have a chat about their newest opening.

How are things going with Casa Cami?
“I think that I think it’s doing extraordinarily well... In a hotel, there’s always a question of, ‘will people get on the highway from South Tampa to go to dinner?’ Or is it going to be primarily this hotel crowd that’s already there... I think it’s been really well received.”

“There’s a lot of repeat customers, and they just really enjoy the rooftop view, because as we know there’s limited waterfront restaurants [in the Tampa area]. This is one that’s really accessible, where you don’t even have to access it by boat.”

The rooftop at Casa Cami. Tables, chairs, and sofas sit on a balcony in front of the Bay in the distance. Water goes into the distance with a bridge crossing the Bay. Two trees accompany furniture as the sun shines on the surroundings.

Talk about dinner with a view.

Photo via Oxford Design

From a design standpoint, what are you most proud of about the place?
“With every project, we are trying to create something special that hasn’t been done before, and there were some real limitations with this project based on, just the existing shell of the restaurant and the low ceilings and there were some considerable design challenges with what we were given. And it’s really hard when you have really low ceilings and dark hallways to create some magical moment where you can kind of turn that negative into a positive.”

“We know we’ve done well when it starts hitting the Instagram, when people find these moments that they love and they they love so much that they want to be taking pictures of themselves in the spaces... They love the bathroom, which is so funny, because we were like, that is not what we were expecting.”

“And and I think people have grown to see that our eclectic layering of art and materials on the wall, people just kind of love that... We never go online and buy formulaic art, especially for this one.”

The bathroom at Casa Cami. White marble counters have brass taps, and a brass outline on two mirrors in front. There is green and white tiling lining the wall.

Casa Cami’s surprising Instagram hotspot.

Photo via Oxford Design

Have you always used authentic + natural materials?
“You’ll never see a restaurant that we do that has porcelain or fake marble or any sort of fake tile... A lot of commercial designers and hospitality designers want things to be so utilitarian that they’re maybe afraid to use something that’s real, and it’s also a lot less expensive to do it that way too.”

“After Oxford Exchange opened, it was never, ‘we want to be the designer for everybody.’ We want to be the designer for the jobs where the client is really truly committed to doing things the right way and using real materials... There’s something about a chip in marble that looks so much better than a chip in porcelain.”

“Everybody wants to go to a place that has a soul.”

Learn more about Casper, Winston, and Oxford Design by checking out their portfolio. And keep your eyes peeled for exciting upcoming projects, like Cabot Citrus Farms, and Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

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