Style Observer

Make it Premium and Instagram-able

A Designed Life

By Cecile Levee

Sunday, March 31, 2019

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Good design does not happen in a vacuum, even though the concept of design can be as subjective as what is defined as good taste.

As subjective as the theory is, there are some basics that must be considered in your execution: location, climate, sense of place, use of space and of course, functionality. With these objectives in mind and the directive to deliver a premium hotel room I was left to my own interpretation.

I started from the basics by taking the space down to bare walls. I chose an off-white, floral design tile for the prettiness it added to the space as well as the ease in cleaning. It was carried through to the en-suite bathroom to open up the space and for continuity. It is very important in small spaces not to break-up space with too many different elements on the floor; it can make the space appear too small or confuse the eye.

A custom unit, which houses a refrigerator, safe, coffee bar, closet, luggage storage, lashings of drawers, a make-up vanity/writing desk, and television, was installed wall-to-ceiling to keep everything tidy, mise en place. It was painted in white to keep the space airy and light and also to visually reduce the size.

The desire to create a talking point came in the form of the matching floor-to-ceiling padded headboard made to mimic wallpaper. “I wanted more texture and also a 3D element; the wallpaper would have been too flat and one-dimensional.

The colour of the fabric was chosen to bring in flavours of the ocean which was just outside the door and the print a subtle floral images for an island aura.

Keeping the mandate for “premium” in mind and the all-important sense of place, it was important to not do a New York City or a European city hotel room, and for me, one of the things I love about Caribbean architecture is the classic colourful wooden buildings that can be found throughout. They invoke a sense of nostalgia just like a wrap-around, wooden verandah; a sense of comfort, a rightness with the world. With that longing in mind and also to challenge that even the humblest of materials can be made to be luxurious, I clad a boring concrete wall with tongue and groove wood and proceeded to distress the bright blue paint by sanding (using wood instead of painting also reduces the long-term need for repainting, thus reducing maintenance cost over time). Two nude sketches by renowned artist Susan Clare were used to finish the wall.

As with any outfit, the accessories are what create cohesiveness, the finish, that nod of total satisfaction before heading out the door. The accessories in the form of light fixtures, draw pulls and a side table were chosen in brass to give the sparkle, the luxe factor and it worked perfectly. However, it was the “starlight” light fixture above the make-up vanity/writing desk that stood out for its Instagram cachet.

The en-suite bathroom cased in floor-to-ceiling tiles is a utopia of harmonious paradise. Peaceful in its delivery, but not short on glam with granite countertop, an off-centre under-mount basin leaves an abundance of space for toiletries. The room lit perfectly for mascara application by a mid-century “bubbles” light fixture.

The smallish footprint is made to look more ample by wrapping the vanity wall in waist-high mirrors on three sides.

The Jacuzzi on the wooden deck is the waving gallery to the daily, magnificent Negril sunset (nature one-upped me on this one)

And the brava comes in the satisfaction of a beautiful, organised space, long on glam, functionality and “Instagram-ability”.

Premium room, packaged and delivered…shipping cost not necessary.


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