Make it work. Plume’s fashion-forward vision for Hotel Covington dresses a former Kentucky department store in tailored luxe style.
Shedding further light on the property’s origin, a linear chandelier illuminated by a series of hanging globe-like pendants highlights the hotel’s bar. Bennett says the bar and restaurant fixtures, crafted in collaboration with a local lighting studio to reflect the sparkling jewelry once offered at Coppin’s retail counters, add drama and regional relevance.
Channeling the property’s past into the public areas also meant embracing its flaws. For starters, the ground floor presented a 2-ft. slope from the front façade to the back of the building. “This was a huge challenge to overcome since we couldn’t fully level the floor due to the weight of the concrete,” explains Rineair. “After weeks of fighting the slope, we decided to embrace it and give bartenders a fun fact to fascinate guests.” One end of the 17-seat bar is 42 in. high. The other? Only 36 in.
This "glass jewel box" dining atrium's exposed brick wall was painted black to imbue intimacy and human scale. Internally illuminated, hand-spun brass bowls draw inspiration from a necklace. Photo: Guillaume Gaudet
While reviving the building’s heritage was key to the creative brief, welcoming the community was paramount to the property’s owner, Guy van Rooyen of The Salyers Group, as well as the hotel’s operator, Aparium Hotel Group. “Our client wanted the first floor to be approachable,” recalls Rineair. “It was important for the space to feel upscale and boutique, but not like it was hands-off to the local community. Some of the design descriptors the client requested included progressive, thoughtful, local and urban.”
Creating an inviting, unpretentious environment for guests and locals alike meant finishes couldn’t be too polished and details couldn’t feel manufactured. “Covington has a beautiful grittiness, and we were careful not to incorporate anything too shiny,” explains Rineair. “You won’t find any chrome or brushed nickel here. While we couldn’t necessarily tell from the black and white photos, we felt Coppin’s would have had brass finishes. So we went with an unlacquered brass to dull the shine and maintain contemporary relevance.”
Web Exclusive Image: Custom guest room finishes evoke the oil spill stains found throughout the streets of Covington, while free-standing clothing racks in lieu of traditionally enclosed armoires nod to the hotel’s retail past. Photo: Guillaume Gaudet
But Hotel Covington’s translocal vibe is a direct result of the involvement of area craftsmen and creatives. Local artist and teacher David Buetsche, a friend of the client, created more than 150 custom works for the hotel. Similarly, a large wine barrel installation in the lobby features a locally fabricated steel framework, which was welded together and blackened to mimic ironwork throughout the city.
In fact, the entire design and construction team was “home grown.” “We wanted as many local artisans and manufacturers on the job as possible,” notes Bennett and Rineair. “We were lucky that the hotel is located in a community of makers.”
Without the parameters of mega-brand design platforms, Plume’s team had ample leeway when it came to details. From custom guest room finishes that evoke the oil spill stains found throughout the streets of Covington to a couture-inspired gift shop showcasing works from local makers and brewers—every facet is truly tailor fit.
OWNER: Guy van Rooyen, president and ceo, The Salyers Group
OPERATOR: Aparium Hotel Group
DESIGN FIRM: Plume: Amanda Bennett, principal, lighting designer; Corey Rineair, senior interior designer; Erika Jones, project coordinator
ARCHITECT: Hub+Weber Architects PLC
DESIGN CONSULTANTS: Stillpass Studio (lighting design/fabricators)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Century Construction Inc.
PURCHASING COMPANY: Neil Locke & Associates
ART: David Buetsche; Guy van Rooyen
BATH FIXTURES: Kohler
BED COVERINGS/LINENS: Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs
CASEGOODS: American Woodworking; Bernhardt Hospitality; Samuel Lawrence Hospitality
FABRICS: ABC Home; Brentano; Conneaut Leather; Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs; Fabricut Contract
FLOORCOVERINGS AND MATERIALS: Atlas Concorde; Daltile; Mansion Hill Custom Floors; Mission Stone & Tile; Shaw Hospitality; Tabarka Studio
FURNITURE AND SEATING: American Woodworking; Anthropologie; Bernhardt Hospitality; CIX Direct; Orange Chair; Samuel Lawrence Hospitality
LIGHTING: Bloom Lighting Group; Curry and Co.; Juno Lighting Group; Ketra; RH Modern; Stillpass Studio
MIRRORS: Artonomy; Uttermost
TABLES: American Woodworking; Bernhardt Hospitality; M Bohlke Veneer Corp.; West Elm Hospitality
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