We spoke to 2015’s Most Stylish Bathroom winner, Artist Residence, about the inspiration behind its hospitality bathroom design. Artist Residence captured the judges’ attention at our 2015 Style Awards with its log cabin inspired bathroom, situated in the middle of one of London’s most bustling boroughs.
Artist Residence’s London-based hotel and café is located in a trendy and quirky townhouse next to the affluent area of Chelsea and only a short walk from Victoria station. Each room and bathroom is individually styled and when we visit the hotel is fully booked with the café bursting to the brim. The café menu is also perfectly on trend with gluten free and dairy free alternatives and offers a great retreat for the health conscious looking for freshly cooked food.
It’s obvious from our visit that a lot has gone into creating Artist Residence’s ‘quirky’ design to give a rustic vibe that appeals to alternative city centre dwellers. We caught up with to Charlie Newey about how this small chain of boutique hotels came together and how she worked to chose the design of this award-winning bathroom.
What is the story behind the Artist Residence chain of hotels and what inspired the design/trends that we see?
We started out eight years ago in Brighton. At the time the building was a very run down guesthouse and we had no funding. My partner and now husband Justin came up with the idea of inviting artists to decorate the rooms in return for board and lodging. Art has always been a huge feature of our hotels (we also have one in Penzance). We love rustic design, mixed in with industrial or vintage furniture and limited edition prints or quirky pieces of art.
All the styles and even the rooms are so different, how do you keep on top of current trends and ensure that all your venues are on style at all times?
We love Pinterest for design inspiration. Trends are something we are aware of but we don’t follow too tightly as sometimes the design may look too contrived and go out of fashion too quickly. We prefer to keep the design quite loose, picking up pieces of furniture, lighting and art work when we find something that we love… we always find a home for it!
What challenges did you come up with when styling/designing the hotels, if any? What advice would you give other venues coming across the same challenges?
Beware of lead times! Sometimes this can be months so try to pre-plan as much as possible and keep a schedule.
For us sourcing great pieces of furniture and reclaimed materials is key to our design. You may have something in mind that you really want and just can’t find though so try to be flexible.
It is also really important that you plan thoroughly where you want the furniture to go in the room. Don’t underestimate the details such as having the plug sockets in all the right places! It is important that the rooms not only look great but are also comfortable and function at the same time.
What do you think it was about your bathroom that inspired our judges and made you this year’s winner?
We would like to think that the design is really original. It mixes a rustic design with luxury. We love the juxtaposition of the reclaimed wood cladding with the 1930s art deco bath, marble sink and silver nickel fittings.
How did you come up with the design for the bathroom?
I think it was a combination of putting things together that we loved! We never really ‘designed’ it… it just kind of came together. We have always loved wood cladding and it matched the antler chandelier in the bedroom to give a chalet style feel. The sink we designed bespoke and the bath we fell in love with!
What advice do you have for other hospitality establishments looking to renovate their bathroom spaces over the coming year?
Bathrooms don’t need to be boring and don’t neglect them! A bathroom can really make a room. Even if you have a small bathroom a clever use of space and thoughtful aesthetic will be really appreciated by the guest. In large bathrooms a bath tub and separate shower will really add that extra touch of luxury.
Do you think that bathrooms are a key focus for hospitality venues at the moment?
I think bathrooms are being recognised as more and more important within hospitality venues.
What do you think sets your venue(s) apart from others?
We have always aimed for our venues to have a homely charm to them, with really comfy beds, great showers and quirky design and lots of art!
Do you have any advice for any establishments wanting to enter the Style Awards in 2016
Make your design original!
Read more interviews like this in our Hilden Style Guide; the Hilden Style Guide tells you all you need to know about trending interior design for hospitality in 2016.