Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Charming boutique hotels and celebrity stays

  • When a hotel stay is part of the adventure
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  • Good morning my friends!
    In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I love hotels—both the large luxury ones and the small boutiques ones. I’m sure many of you do as well. It’s such a pleasure to pack a bag and take off to a new destination. And when a hotel stay is part of the adventure, there is just something so special about it! Summer brings about these treats for us.
    I find hotels to be a deliciously divine host of decorating ideas, from furniture placement to interesting color palettes to sophisticated window treatments. It’s remarkable how much you can borrow from the feast for the eyes a hotel offers. So many times a hotel, bed-and-breakfast or even classic motel can give you some very pleasing ideas for the interior of your own home.
    Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting two beautiful little Californian gems. These were “celebrity hotels,”  owned in part by Charlie Chaplin (The Little Tramp) and Doris Day (America’s sweetheart). Let me share the valuable ideas I picked up while visiting these charming little treasures.
    Montecito Inn Inspirations
    The Montecito Inn is a jewel of a hotel in Montecito near Santa Barbara. Charlie Chaplin owned a controlling interest in the hotel, situated in what he considered the best area of the California coastline.
    Luxury boutique hotel
    Santa Barbara was the first home of the movie industry, and many people agreed with Chaplin’s fondness for the area. In fact, William Randolph Hearst built a castle in the area. The Montecito Inn, built in 1928, was the toast of the coast, and you can still feel a bit of old Hollywood glamour lingering in the lobby. Once I recovered from the nostalgia, I took note of decorating ideas that will translate to our homes.
    The Mediterranean-inspired lobby area features luscious tiles of cream marble with clipped corners. Where the corners of four tiles come together, a small tile in a contrasting color is inserted. (A 12”x12” tile group of four might have an inset of a 2”x2” tile, for example.) This wonderful technique creates a subtle pattern and adds a touch of color. You might use this technique to break up a monochromatic block of tile in a hallway, entryway, dining room, or even a bathroom.
    Furniture is grouped to create intimate seating areas in the large lobby spaces. The groupings are flexible, so it’s easy to drag over an additional chair, bench or ottoman to expand the seating. You might try this in a large area, such as a family room or living room.
    From the bedrooms and bathrooms, you might be inspired by:
    Page 2 of 3 - • Upholstered headboards and bed rails for an elegant polished bed.
    • Crisp white linens that beckon a nap or a lovely night’s rest.
    • A modest collection of two or three decorative bed pillows.
    • Hard-wired sconces over the nightstands rather than reading lamps.
    • Slipper-style accent chairs are comfortable yet compact.
    • A sleek, stylized vanity in the bathroom with a few drawers for necessities and an open shelf at the bottom for baskets of sumptuous white towels.
    • A flat-screen TV recessed into the bathroom wall for easy viewing from the tub or vanity.
    I encourage you to try one or two of these wonderful attributes inspired by the Montecito Inn. Check it out for yourself at www.montecitoinn.com.
    Decor Ideas from Doris Day
    The delightful Cypress Inn at Carmel-by-the-Sea is a bed-and-breakfast co-owned by actress Doris Day. The hotel, built in 1929 as Hotel La Ribera, has long been a favorite place to stay. After a management change in 1960, the hotel was restored and renamed Cypress West. In the 1980s, Day and businessman Dennis LeVett purchased the hotel and renamed it Cypress Inn.
    Thanks to the influence of dedicated animal-rights activist Doris Day, the Cypress Inn was the earliest pet-friendly hotel in Carmel. Furry friends are as welcome as their human companions, and quite a combination of breeds graced the lobby during my visit. I heard an occasional woof-woof behind the wonderful old doors!
    So, what lovely attributes did I take from the Cypress Inn that you might use in your home? Well, let me tell you. See more for yourself at www.cypress-inn.com.
    • The elegant entrance features lovely molded plaster detailing and Spanish tile steps in a variety of designs and colors.
    • The lobby sports a lovely combination of heavy dark antique pieces skillfully blended with sleek sofas and chairs in light-colored upholstery and iron-and-glass tables. The furniture is grouped into several sitting areas.
    • Dark, weathered ceiling beams are balanced by a rich, tobacco-stained wood floor and dreamy, cream-colored walls. This box showcases strength with the wood, but still maintains a light California spirit with the choice of cream. Beautifully done! Many 1970s-era homes feature this heavy dark wood ceiling treatment, but balancing it with wood floors equalizes the room. The light-hued walls, meanwhile, prevent any heavy feelings all that dark wood might bring.
    • The lovely champagne-colored window treatments echo what we see in today’s well-done interiors: hand-forged dark iron rods with finial detailing and simple pleated panels hung with rings for easy opening and closing. This is such an easy and carefree style for your home—perfect in so many of your rooms! These treatments are available just about everywhere, including J.C. Penney and Bed Bath & Beyond, or of course custom.
    Page 3 of 3 - • The stone fireplace surround is handsomely lit with a pair of torchiere lamps on either side. The lamps feature a stunning combination of rich amber-colored alabaster bowls atop an almost sculptural formation of iron that is not the least bit heavy. The airy ironwork seems to be hoisting up the bowls, which barely peek above the mantel shelf. So pretty! (As a side note, torchieres are top heavy and best supported by a wall—certainly a wise choice in a public area like a hotel lobby.)
    • Rooms at the Cypress Inn are very similar to those at the Montecito Inn. The inviting beds are dressed in soft, thick, crisp white linens and, once again, only three well-chosen decorative pillows.
    • The simple iron designs of the headboard are handsome without stealing too much space.
    These charming boutique hotels allow you to become a part of Hollywood history, and I hope you enjoyed my visit as much as I did! I leave you today with a quote from legendary director Francis Ford Coppola:
    “Films and hotels have many aspects that are the same. For example, there is always a big vision, an idea.”
    Enjoy your week my friends!

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