New flower arrangements adorn the main dining room at La Ferme. Photo by Emma Patti

It was built in 1920 as a private school for girls. It was Jack Davis’s Brook Farm restaurant in the ‘30s, then the Brook Farm Inn of Magic.

In 1985, Alain Roussel bought the place on Brookville Road in Chevy Chase, and turned it into La Ferme, a French country restaurant that has ever since become the go-to spot for quiet lunches, romantic dinners and private celebrations.

Roussel renovated the place twice since he bought it, the last time being 1998. “It was long overdue,” he said. “After 14 years, you need to refresh things.”

So after being closed for only two weeks, it reopened on March 3, after a $150,000 renovation tab that includes new paint, paneling, carpet, lamp shades, window dressings, upholstery and wall hangings, both in the main dining room and the private party room upstairs.

If that sounds like a big chunk of change, it adds up easily, particularly when some of the new banquette fabric cost $220 a yard. Still, the place has the same cozy and charming feel—just a fresher-looking version of it.

But restaurant thieves beware: Since La Ferme has had a problem with diners stealing the decor, Roussel has taken precautions. Like other restaurateurs, he installed cameras—there are now 16 positioned inside and outside the restaurant. And the new pictures depicting the fables of 17th-century French writer Jean de la Fontaine are locked to the walls.       

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7101 Brookville Road, 301-986-5255. www.lafermerestaurant.com