A penguin statue perched high atop the Hotel 21C in Louisville, Kentucky.
I have been zipping about Louisville, Kentucky for client meetings and loving every minute of it. The city’s Hotel 21C is amazing: Filled with contemporary art, the hotel certainly surprises and delights. Speaking of surprise and delight, be sure to check out the bathrooms on the main floor and their two-way mirrored walls. But more on the genius Hotel 21C later.
Yesterday morning I drove down to the Woodford Reserve small-batch bourbon distillery near Lexington, Kentucky to check out how this spirit is crafted: Not only is the facility the peak of chic–stone buildings that date back to the 1800s and a stunning setting amidst rolling horse farms–but I was amazed at the artisanal workmanship that goes into crafting bourbon at Woodford. This is no factory with buttons and conveyor belts, but rather copper stills and giant wood fermenting vats take center stage. I wanted to move in.
So how do my adventures in Kentucky relate back to good design?
The take-away from these travels is that glorious details create magic. Strip both Hotel 21C and Woodford down to their bones, and what shines is the attention to detail that engages and starts a dialogue.
Suggestion: Bring some detail-driven drama into your own home.
We recovered an antique chair in Clarence House fabric, and now this seat says, "Howdy, sailor."
Add a statement piece that gets the conversation going. Here’s a chair that we crafted for a client in upstate New York. It’s a traditional Louis XV chair that we could have upholstered in a pretty fabric, and it would have been just lovely. Instead, we gave the chair a John Loecke Inc. spin with a fabulous fabric from Clarence House, and now that chair says, “Look at me, lady!” Plus, it’s a tad arresting, n’est-ce pas?
So why not invoke some drama in your home this upcoming holiday weekend?
Maybe recover a chair with an old quilt that has been sitting in a closet: It’s easy to recover a seat, just break out the staple gun. Or stripe a wall. Or create an amazing grouping of artwork in the front hall to transform that space from a pass-through into a don’t-pass-me-by. Paint an occasional table a bright color, and make it more frequent.
As for me, I’ll be sitting in my own Clarence House-covered settee and sipping Manhattans crafted with sublime Woodford Reserve.
And lapping up the details down to the very last drop.
Don't overlook the back of a chair: This seat floats in the room, so we wanted to make sure the back of the chair had a lot of visual impact, too.