A Fresh Take for a Historic Art Deco Hotel

One of the great joys of my career is the privilege of breathing new life into a historic structure that has stood the test of time, but that has perhaps suffered from neglect. I recently had the chance to develop concepts for a building dating to 1913 that is destined to become a luxury hotel. Here is the initial materials palette and three renderings showing the future guest rooms.

 The bathroom is all about the story of the building. The stylistic elements draw upon the host city and state.

The bathroom is all about the story of the building. The stylistic elements draw upon the host city and state.

 A palette of greys, peacock,  and citron for a historic art deco hotel.

A palette of greys, peacock,  and citron for a historic art deco hotel.

 An early concept for a corridor carpet.

An early concept for a corridor carpet.

 Concept for a glass installation over the grand staircase. This installation is by Lasvit Glass in the Peninsula Hotel in Paris.

Concept for a glass installation over the grand staircase. This installation is by Lasvit Glass in the Peninsula Hotel in Paris.

 Emerald green velvet and mid-century modern chair for the lounge.

Emerald green velvet and mid-century modern chair for the lounge.

 In love with the David Hicks inspired wallpaper.

In love with the David Hicks inspired wallpaper.

 Utility becomes ornament in this design, drawing inspiration for the coffee shop in the deco hotel.

Utility becomes ornament in this design, drawing inspiration for the coffee shop in the deco hotel.

 Initial concept for the guest room. Herringbone carpet from Shaw Carpets, Bar based on antique deco bar, fabrics by Kravet, lamps by FlowDecor, mirror by Made Goods, seating by Mitchell Gold.

Initial concept for the guest room. Herringbone carpet from Shaw Carpets, Bar based on antique deco bar, fabrics by Kravet, lamps by FlowDecor, mirror by Made Goods, seating by Mitchell Gold.

 Window treatment fabric is embroidered by Taffard, chair is Windsor Smith for Kravet, painting is by Leah Barksdale.

Window treatment fabric is embroidered by Taffard, chair is Windsor Smith for Kravet, painting is by Leah Barksdale.

The Cypress Room

Cypress is one of the species that always imparts a special character to a room. In this case we selected a richly hued honey cypress than envelops guests in a cocoon of warmth.  This is a dining space I did a few years ago for a lovely couple in the New York area. The cypress was located in South Carolina near one of their vacation homes. I intentionally designed the room in a strong English flavor to compliment the architecture of the dwelling. Hand-craftsmanship was critical to the simplicity of the room. It remains one of my favorite spaces. 

Designed when I was Principal of Hotel & Home at Glave & Holmes Architecture, a small regional firm in Virginia. Photography by Ansel Olson.  

 This dining room became the cypress room for clients who also owned a house in the low country of south Carolina. the fret work design is from a 16th century English house. The rug is by Stark Carpets, the chandelier is by Ironwork International. Colfax & Fowler is at the windows and completes the look. 

This dining room became the cypress room for clients who also owned a house in the low country of south Carolina. the fret work design is from a 16th century English house. The rug is by Stark Carpets, the chandelier is by Ironwork International. Colfax & Fowler is at the windows and completes the look. 

 the inglenook during the install. Accessories not yet unpacked. sconces are by David Iatesta. Chairs are by Hickory Chair. the honey cypress truly glows in this image. 

the inglenook during the install. Accessories not yet unpacked. sconces are by David Iatesta. Chairs are by Hickory Chair. the honey cypress truly glows in this image. 

 There is a great joy in putting the final pieces in place! Firescreen is by Brad Robinson, one of my favorite blacksmiths. A collection of pewter tea pots became a passion of the owner.  

There is a great joy in putting the final pieces in place! Firescreen is by Brad Robinson, one of my favorite blacksmiths. A collection of pewter tea pots became a passion of the owner.  

Embracing Classicism

Classicism is often dismissed as a viable design option for the present day, but throughout my career I've had the pleasure of working on a number of important historic buildings. Sometimes the best design solution is a traditional solution. The Miller Center of Public Affairs was just such a case. The impressive architecture of this historic home required a respectful interior that felt contextual and also met the needs of the team using this building as a venue for lectures by some of the world's great political minds. If you're a fan of C-Span then you know this beautiful building from the series of televised speeches filmed here. I had the pleasure of being the Principal Designer on three phases of design for this client during my time with Glave & Holmes Architecture, a small regional firm based in Richmond, Virginia. Photography is by Ansel Olson.

 The historic Faulkner House, now The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia.

The historic Faulkner House, now The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia.

 A difficult space to make into a reception area while maintaining a residential sensibility. I love the Cole & Sons wallpaper and the Audubon pink flamingo.

A difficult space to make into a reception area while maintaining a residential sensibility. I love the Cole & Sons wallpaper and the Audubon pink flamingo.

 View of the main dining room, which now serves as a meeting space. Mr. Jefferson presides over all meetings.

View of the main dining room, which now serves as a meeting space. Mr. Jefferson presides over all meetings.

 A corner of the dining room.

A corner of the dining room.

 A hyphen which serves as a reading room for the adjacent library at the Miller Center.

A hyphen which serves as a reading room for the adjacent library at the Miller Center.

 I enjoyed interpreting this reading room as a classic Virginia hyphen room, a connector between the main edifice and the secondary wings. With windows from crown to base on both the north and the south elevations, this room is flooded with light throughout the day. Working with Stark Carpets, Hickory Chair, F. Schumacher, and others I aspired to create a timeless Virginia room.

I enjoyed interpreting this reading room as a classic Virginia hyphen room, a connector between the main edifice and the secondary wings. With windows from crown to base on both the north and the south elevations, this room is flooded with light throughout the day. Working with Stark Carpets, Hickory Chair, F. Schumacher, and others I aspired to create a timeless Virginia room.

 Pre-function space in the wing designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Alan Greenberg.  

Pre-function space in the wing designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Alan Greenberg.  

 The Axminster wool carpet is inspired by a mid-19th century painting, "The Tea Party" and was made by Brintons Carpets. The "fancy" chairs are based on designs by the famed Baltimore Federal period designers, the Finlay Brothers and we crafted by Kindel Furniture, a company I admire greatly. Carver's Guild provided the mirror. 

The Axminster wool carpet is inspired by a mid-19th century painting, "The Tea Party" and was made by Brintons Carpets. The "fancy" chairs are based on designs by the famed Baltimore Federal period designers, the Finlay Brothers and we crafted by Kindel Furniture, a company I admire greatly. Carver's Guild provided the mirror. 

 The Sheraton settee is covered in a vibrant cobalt blue, reproduction of a horsehair fabric by Brunschwig et Fils. The traditional window treatment is in a Scalamandre silk.

The Sheraton settee is covered in a vibrant cobalt blue, reproduction of a horsehair fabric by Brunschwig et Fils. The traditional window treatment is in a Scalamandre silk.

 Silk fabric and tassel by Scalamandre Fabrics, one of the great fabric houses for more than a century. 

Silk fabric and tassel by Scalamandre Fabrics, one of the great fabric houses for more than a century. 

Sitting Room for A Lady

Dear Readers, I greatly appreciate all of you who have written to tell me how much you enjoy The Art of Fine Living. My only purpose in sharing my view of the world is to hopefully add a bit of joy to your lives. Many of you have asked to see more of my design work and so I have decided to post a project each week showcasing one of my favorite projects from my 20 years of practice. I began my design journey in New York, working in a seventh avenue fashion house creating women's eveningwear, but later shifted to interior design and decoration. Still, I have never lost my passion for fashion and was elated when a dear friend invited me to create a room for her that captured the joyful and vivacious colors of Parisian fashion. After looking at her wardrobe, always one of my first steps in a residential project, I realized that pink was a favorite color, and one that looked great with her complexion. Many designers forget that the client should look their best in the spaces we create. This sitting room remains one of my favorites. I love the Robin's Egg blue paired with the hot pink, which was inspired by the Hermes Kelly bag. I also like the sharp contrast of the Wedgewood Basalt Collection. The best reward is when a client tells you they love the space you've created for them. That's how I measure success.

 Cream Chevron with crisp accents of Robin's Egg blue, and Pink/Orange Silk. I love the combination of colors.

Cream Chevron with crisp accents of Robin's Egg blue, and Pink/Orange Silk. I love the combination of colors.

 Quadrille Ikat in my favorite combination of pink and orange. The asymmetrical collection of prints creates a visual flow on the mantle and the Degas Ballet Dancer and Wedgewood Basalt pieces create visual balance within the composition.

Quadrille Ikat in my favorite combination of pink and orange. The asymmetrical collection of prints creates a visual flow on the mantle and the Degas Ballet Dancer and Wedgewood Basalt pieces create visual balance within the composition.

 I always encourage my clients to become collectors, if they are not already collectors. There is nothing quite like the passion of searching out and acquiring a truly stellar collection.

I always encourage my clients to become collectors, if they are not already collectors. There is nothing quite like the passion of searching out and acquiring a truly stellar collection.