When Boutique is What You Seek
Creating Boutique Style In Your Beach Condominium
By Marcia Bradford, Condo Owner Magazine, Volume 18, Issue 2 (Spring 2014)
Looking to break away from traditional “at home” decor and create a plush, yet peaceful and relaxing environment in your beach condominium? Boutique Hotel Style may be just the ticket.
If you’ve stayed at smaller, boutique hotels recently, you’ve likely noticed a design trend that offers cleaner lines and minimal layers. Typically accented with reflective finishes and touches of bright color, this look is sophisticated and contemporary, but also comfortable and relaxing.
It’s known as Boutique Hotel Style, and the concept is rapidly becoming a popular approach to designing and updating residential interiors, with many applications for vacation homes, including coastal condominiums, according to Claire Bell, founder and designer of Chic Abode Interiors, an innovative Atlanta-based design firm.
“I think the streamlined look and the light and airy feel it offers, with cooler colors punctuated by touches of glamour, works very well in a coastal or low country setting,” she said. “You can achieve this look by incorporating certain elements into an existing room design as well as by completely transforming an interior.”
Why It’s Hot
Bell’s decision to focus on the Boutique Hotel at Home style evolved organically, she recalled.
“I was tapping into a strong sixth sense that I have for feeling people are seeking something new at about the same time that some of my clients who travel were wanting to replicate the feel of the boutique hotels where they frequently stay,” she explained. “These clients really enjoyed the look and feel of the boutique hotels they visited and were feeling a bit let down when they came home. They wanted to create a look in their own homes that equaled the level of luxury, comfort and convenience of boutique hotel design.”
Additionally, Bell said, “people are issuing a sigh of relief as we come out of the recession and they are turning toward a fresher, lighter style.
Adding Beach Elements
For those who want to incorporate beachy elements into their condo’s Boutique Hotel decor, Bell suggested using a wall covering with a metallic underlay on one wall in the living and dining areas. “This gives a shine to the wall that refers to the shining water outside,” she explained. “I have found that this metallic look is great to use beneath the chair rail, with a lighter shade grass cloth wall covering above the chair rail, highlighted by a starburst mirror or similar reflective ornamentation.”
Additionally, she recommended adding a “sea glass vibe.” For example, turquoise-colored glass in a chandelier or table-top accessory can make items stand out while also reflecting the colors of the sea. Another approach is to add pillows and throws in a sunset palette, with hot oranges, reds, pinks or corals, Bell advises.
“What I love about beach and vacation homes is that you can often have a little more fun with them when it comes to decorating,” she said. “The decor can reflect the spirit of freedom people usually feel when they’re at the beach and away from work and home.”
When seeking to transform a room using the boutique hotel design approach, Bell advised looking first at architectural details and demands of your space. In some instances, wall decor can add architectural details, turning an expanse of empty wall space into an interesting display. This was the case with a home office Bell helped transform using Boutique Hotel style.
“The client’s goal was not only to create a wall detail as a backdrop for her favorite artwork, but also to make a relaxing seating area within her work area,” she explained.
As part of the new look, wall detail was added to provide architectural elements. Three large visual points were created by using white trim moldings that surround blue-gray fabric wallcovering from Lori Weitzner, with a series of coral botanicals by Soicher-Marin layered on top.
Chic Abode’s approach to Boutique Hotel style focuses on seven basic concepts:
1. The play of light and reflective surfaces against a monochromatic or near-monochromatic palette
In this master bedroom, the subtle changes in light reflectivity and color, which are seen as your eye sweeps the room, make for an inviting Zen retreat with a glamorous edge. The metallic drum pendant and mirrored plaques play off of fabrics with varying levels of sheen. Additionally, the adjacent crystal and mercury glass surfaces, emphasize a play of light. photo clairebelljlie1
2. Trend-forward furniture and accent pieces with clean, modern lines
In this seating group, the aerodynamic, now near-iconic club chairs solidify a sculptural and modern vibe, while the rug, glass cocktail table, and sofa ground the room with basic shapes.
Thoughtful accessories, such as the pair of overscaled mercury glass vases, reference sculpture and glamour. clairebellcrmr1b
3. A mix of luxurious fabrics in varying sheens and shades
A gunmetal lumbar pillow, laced with metallic thread, and cream silk accent pillows studded with crystals set the tone for this eclectic bedding ensemble. Placed against the backdrop of neutral bedcoverings and euro shams made of velours and satin and quilted in a diamond pattern, the ensemble punctuates the casual elegance with a lighthearted sense of glamour. clairebellrs4
4. Use of sculptural objects such as shaped lamps and candlesticks made of mercury glass, mirrored elements, or crystal
To accessorize the console that forms the major focal point in this club chair seating group, Bell envisioned a rush of candlesticks and vases in varying heights and finishes. She placed them in graduated heights, almost as if she were arranging floral stems that relate to one another by a clustering effect. Adjacent to this vignette, an oversized shaped lamp from Global Views serves the nearby seating group. This 4-foot high piece lights the interior of the lamp base independently of the shaded area, serving as task or mood lighting. The clients enjoy lighting the base only in the evening even when they are not actively using the room, letting the lamp provide a warm glow each time they walk by. clairebellcrmr4
5. Soft and shimmery area rugs
This silk and wool rug offers exceptional comfort and a sense of luxury while reflecting ample light upward and contrasting with the nearby hardwoods stained in an espresso finish. clairebellcrmr1c
6. High-contrast vignettes using one or two strong colors in combination with each other, often neutrals such as white and espresso/black, frequently expressed through the use of modern, graphic art
To remodel this hallway, Bell added a key wall detail scaled to receive her signature starburst mirror (she uses a different interpretation of a starburst in each project) flanked by hurricane sconces and grounded by a mirrored console with geometric lines transmitting high-contrast sophistication. Her use of charcoal-colored fabric wallcovering featuring metallic fibers from Maya Romanoff is designed to contrast with bright white trim moldings, exuding glamour and emphasizing architectural appeal. clairebellrs6
7. Sophisticated detailing such as nickel nail head transmitting a feeling of high-end tailoring
For this great room, a clean-lined sectional with chrome nailhead trim from Lillian August feels high-fashion, while the ottoman in leather and accent pillows in luxurious solids exemplify custom tailoring. clairebellrs5
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