Modern Deco-ration

The Crescent Hotel Beverly Hills marries 20’s chic and modern creativity.

Blame it on Baz Luhrmann if you want to, but we’re seeing the 1920’s popping up again and again as the spark behind some of today’s freshest and most appealing projects and products alike.

Susan Cronin, owner and general manager of the Crescent Hotel Beverly Hills, knew that she wanted to channel that style into the 1927-vintage property’s 35 guest rooms. But, she didn’t want to create a museum piece. Especially in the ultra-blingy world of Beverly Hills, Cronin knew that the redo would have to strike a balance between indulgence and simplicity. Her vision (executed with help from interior designer Oliva Villaluz) was to keep the intricate detail and delicacy of Art Deco style, but ditch the fussiness and add a very 21st-century sense of drama.

When Cronin and Villaluz sat down to decide which elements of period style each guest room would have, it was clear that the Jazz Age aesthetic would have to be streamlined quite a bit for the approachable chic Cronin wanted. Opulent prints and largr swaths of deep color would have to be used carefully and blank wall space was a must.

It was easier choosing what to keep. Elaborately framed mirrors echo the shape of the era’s leaded glass windows. FF&E draws on traditional shapes in a variety of tones. Accents of rich browns and teals reference the jewel tones of flapper dresses. And, a few touches do seem to have come from a time warp. Gossamer gilt nightstands and coffee table and filigreed lights in some of the rooms add a level of detail to the effect.

But, Cronin also wanted to incorporate frankly modern elements. So, Villaluz created oversize images of peacock feathers, birds and butterflies to use as digital art over the beds in the Grand King and Prime Queen rooms. The smaller Petite queen rooms feature built-in upholstered headboards.

Like a lot of projects right now, Cronin’s work shows how “now” it can feel to borrow from the past. And, today’s designers know how to credit the original without resorting to copying. The carefully curated elements in designs like this take the concept of a mash-up out of the room’s iPod and onto its walls.