Inspirational Spaces

Designers today draw on myriad sources of inspiration for their creations – everything from fabrics and paintings to furniture and fixtures. They draw from different eras, different locales and different styles, mixing and matching to create the perfect look. They even draw upon things they experience while traveling.

Indeed, as upscale clients increasingly travel for work and play, they are struck by the luxury amenities found in many high-end hotel baths, and realize that some of the elements and design themes can translate to their own bathroom at home.

Bath designers are also taking advantage of the the myriad luxury amenities found in hotel baths, and are using them as an inspiration to amp up their master bath designs.

In years past, hotels have worked toward creating a more comfortable, home-and-hearth vibe to make visitors feel more at home when they travel. Now, however, the influence is reversing, with hotel baths showcasing ideas perfect for residential baths, such as floating vanities/mirrors in front of windows and baths that open to the bedroom to expose breathtaking views that users can enjoy while relaxing in a whirlpool.

Here, and on the next two pages, KBDN showcases just a small sampling of what hotels are doing with the most personal of spaces – the bath.

Hilton Hartford’s Presidential Bath ‘Kicks It Up a Notch’

When the Waterford Group, LLC wanted to revamp its Hilton Hartford (CT) hotel, it wanted a style that would attract visitors from around the block and around the world.

Enter Ariane Steinbeck, IIDA, principal of The Gettys Group, which is headquartered in Chicago, IL with offices in Miami, FL, and Irvine, CA. She, along with senior project manager, Karrie Drinkhahn, and senior project designer, Chris Keller, worked to “kick the design up a notch,” especially when it came to baths, and, in particular, the presidential suite bath. They also worked with the construction arm of Waterford. The hotel’s architect of record, William Tabler & Associates in New York, NY

“Since the hotel has no spa, it was key to provide a soothing, spa-like experience in all of the baths,” says Steinbeck, whose team “revitalized” the hotel with an updated, yet timeless Mid-Century Modern look. “We put granite vanity tops with wood aprons for warmth and luxury in each regular guest bath, and made sure the shower was on par with temperature-controlled showerheads. In the presidential bath, we wanted to take the pampering further,” explains Steinbeck.

There, she and her team installed a Kohler Sok soaking tub for two with chromatherapy. “That was the icing on the cake, as even in a presidential bath, that’s fairly unexpected,” remarks Steinbeck.

Other products included a much larger vanity made by a local millworker with a curved apron to open the space and detract from the bath’s linear footprint. The large, separate shower was enclosed in clear, frameless glass to further keep the space open. Inside, the two-tone subway tiles continue the sophisticated, subtle style they started outside of the shower.

The “take-away” of this atypical Hilton’s bath design for kitchen and bath designers is the idea of using a curved wood apron, and, in particular, the Steinbeck’s use of two-tone tiles. Both, when used “judiciously,” she asserts, can add a lot of warmth in a residential bath.

InterContinental Hotel’s Bath Design Effects a ‘Classic Contemporary’ Feel

When one thinks of Beantown, one generally thinks of its colonial history, which is reflected in much of the city’s design aesthetic. But when Extel Development, which owns and operates the InterContinental Boston (MA) and an adjacent condo complex – and InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, which has a 99-year lease on the property – wanted to redo the 435-room hotel/luxury residences, they wanted to do something different. They decided on a style that Nadia Biski of Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors terms, “classic contemporary.”

“They wanted something warm, something not so traditional, and something that incorporated the local context of the Beacon Hill neighborhood in which it sits,” says Biski, a senior associate with BBGM, headquartered in New York, NY.

To achieve this, Biski worked directly with Paul Greenwood, senior designer and senior associate with the firm, and Kate Greenwood, design partner and a partner with the firm based in BBGM’s Sydney, Australia office. She also worked with Amy Jakubowski, partner with BBGM, which has offices in Washington, DC, Scottsdale, AZ, and Beijing, China. The architect of record was Elkus Manfredi in Boston.

Together, they devised a guestroom concept that opens the bath to the sleeping chamber and the view of the city. The rooms feature dark mahogany millwork and case goods, including a dramatic headboard wall with illuminated louvers. They flank a set of sliding doors with wooden frames and frosted glass panels above the bed that open the bath to the bedroom. It has a Sefina vanity, Kohler fixtures, Dornbracht faucetry, and Dornbracht and Emco accessories.

“The layout and look of the honed-marble tiles evoke the look of cobbled stone,” she notes, adding that with the four-fixture layout and warm tones for every bath in the property, it has a very residential feel, a home away from home – only more luxurious. And that’s key, agrees Jakubowski. “As people in their homes want comfort and luxury and the ability to pamper themselves, they want it – expect it – in their hotels, from the lobby to the guestrooms to the baths,” she says.

But what can kitchen/bath designers take away from this bath design? “The sliding door element,” Biski and Jakubowski answer emphatically. The other “take-away?” Jakubowski answers: “Take the time to find out what exactly the client liked so much about a hotel bath – find the heart of the request, and the essence – [and] go from there.”

North Shore Resort Villa Baths Exude a ‘Classically Hawaiian,’ Casual Plantation Style

Happy with the relatively recent renovation of its hotel, Turtle Bay Resort, Kuilima Resort Co. wanted to take it one step further, and extend the property’s easy, casual, yet upscale island style into another area. The firm – which, like its north shore hotel, is based in Kahuku, HI on the island of Oahu – wanted to build a resort condominium complex targeting second-home buyers on the hotel property in the same style.

It turned to Victoria B. Reventas, ASID, interior designer with Honolulu, HI-based Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo to create what is now The Ocean Villas at Turtle Bay Resort.

She worked directly with WAT&G’s Donald W.Y. Goo, FAIA, Daniel Sandomire, Jennifer Lutz and Mary Suenaga, AIA, to convert existing one- and two-story ocean-front buildings with hotel rooms to three-story luxury apartments while creating a contemporary Hawaiian ambience. They also designed additional buildings for a total of seven villa structures. She and the WAT&G team consulted Dean McMahel, with Douglas V. MacMahon, Ltd., for the lighting; Ron Swenson, with Southland Industries, for the mechanical engineering; and Nancy Caslin, of Nancy Caslin Art & Design, Inc., for the art.

“The goal was to have the project blend into the site and to have the same level of luxury and style as the hotel,” explains Reventas. “The Ocean Villas’ style is that of a contemporary tropical home, [with] classic, clean lines and neutral colors, with splashes of bright hues for visual pop. Appliances, plumbing fixtures and bath accessories befit a high-end-residence. The architecture is classically Hawaiian.”

She continues: “The clean and comfortable baths reinforce the plantation style of the Ocean Villas. The walls feature board and batten with stone tiles on the floor and in the shower area. The wood cabinets are painted cream, and there are marble vanities and tub surrounds. Master baths feature a large soaking tub, plus a separate, frameless glass shower. And all of the plumbing fixtures were supplied by Kohler.

“Depending upon the size of the unit, there are regular size baths and ‘master’ baths. The master baths have a separate toilet room, double-sink vanity, and separate bath and shower,” explains Reventas.

But what can kitchen and bath designers take away from this design? In Reventas’ opinion, “the biggest ‘wow’ factor… is the size of the room, and the crispness of the finishes. The focal point is the separate shower and bath.”

“One way to make a hotel stand out from the others is the use of different materials and fixtures. Designers can experiment with new products and people see that when they stay in a hotel. It’s a great source of seeing what works and what doesn’t in a bath, and if you like it, you can take the idea home,” concludes Reventas.

Upscale Buckhead Hotel Baths Convey a Sense of Comfort and Sophistication

With a hefty client base of upscale business travelers, business meeetings and regional leisure travelers, it was important for the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta to give both affluent road warriors and luxe vacationers the luxury they need while on the road and give them a taste of the nation’s busiest hub city, replete with the warmth, style and plenty of Southern hospitality.

That’s why the InterContinental Hotels Group, Plc, which owns and operates the property, turned to Tim Zebrowski, principal and co-owner of the Los Angeles, CA-based Zebrowski Design Group. He co-designed the new property with design partner Lisa Janigian. The architect of record was TVS & Associates in Atlanta, GA.

To start, InterContinental wanted a four-fixture bath, says Zebrowski, who did the interior architecture, while Janigian was the lead stylist doing all of the furnishings and fixtures (FF&E).

“They wanted that for all of the baths, and they wanted to capture elements that were typical of the Southeast region. So I applied a warm contemporary feel to the design,” he says. “And one of those elements that is referenced repeatedly throughout the hotel is the feeling of the hotel’s outdoor garden space that’s accessible to all of the social spaces. It's referenced back and forth, from the interior design to the exterior. It reflects the idea of typical Southern life in the garden.”

Specifically, in the baths, Zebrowski and Janigian added more and more luxury as the baths went from guestroom size (four fuxtures) to suite size (also with a bidet) to the Presidential suite where they did “French limestone floors, an oversized Kohler whirlpool tub, a multiple-fixture Grohe shower, a separate Kohler toilet/bidet area, a dressing area and a two-sided fireplace for a deluxe touch.” He says the biggest thing kitchen/bath designers can take away from this resiential-style bath design is the idea of the two-sided fireplace that opens up the bath.

Boston Hotel Built for Techies Keeps Guests Coming Back for the Edgy, Yet Timeless Design Aesthetic

O ne of the first boutique hotels, the 195-room Nine Zero in Boston, MA has been at the leading edge of the hotel style since it opened approximately five years ago. First designed to simply attract the dot-commers that were prevalent before the tech bubble burst in 2001, its edgy, streamlined, transitional style continues to attract young executives from all fields.

The two brothers who first opened and owned the hotel – now owned by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, LLC in San Francisco, CA – wanted to create a style that was not typical of Boston.

In fact, they wanted something “more compelling, not off the shelf, something clean, sleek, functional, comfortable and tactile. That's why everything was custom,” recalls Margaret McMahon, managing director of Wilson & Associates, which is headquarted in Dallas, TX. McMahon, who’s based in the New York office, worked on the hotel with W&A architects Seiichi Mori, Jacques Coetzee and Jim Rimelspach. The architect of record was TSOI Kobus & Associates.

In the baths, the design team created a typical tub/shower combo for one half of the rooms, and then simple, sleek custom showers for the other half, due to space contraints. “For those all-marble showers, we used a barn-door concept to keep the space open,” says McMahon, adding the design was influenced by a trip to China.

In all of the baths, she and her team designed an all steel and glass vanity whose mirror was floated in front of the window for visual interest. It also helped to open the small space. Its single, rectangular Kohler sink enabled the team to maximize counter space, too.

McMahon believes the vanity, the mirror and their look and placement are the biggest things kitchen and bath designers can take away from these baths because it can open up any bath while adding impact.

Up in the penthouse suite bath, she and her team installed a steam shower and a whirlpool tub.