Design Lessons from Portland’s Ace Hotel

Inspired by the thriving skateboard and music scene that defines the surrounding neighborhood, the Ace Hotel in Portland brings that cool vibe  into the design. Designers Phillip Iosca and Jeremy Pelly thought outside of the box for the interiors of the c. 1912 hotel working with graphic artists, and decorating  rooms with repurposed vintage finds like the salvaged fire door reborn as a coffee table in the lobby above.

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The Ace was originally a hotel and the designers focused on restoring many of the original architectural details like tile floors and wood paneled walls, to retain its vintage character. A bonus is that the priciest room is $250, with some going for $79. Dozens of unexpected design ideas here, read on for details and sources:

Play Up Small Spaces: Rather than knocking down walls, the designers played up this little nook. Placing the bed on a platform crafted from local birch plywood, rather than a typical bed frame, adds to the laid-back rock and roll vibe of the hotel. The headboard is made from army canvas, a cool inexpensive upholstery idea.  The blankets are from local Pendelton Woolen Mills. The reclaimed wood planks that line the back wall adds instant character.

Paint Art Directly on Your Wall: A cadre of talented artists took to the walls of the guest rooms creating one-of-a-kind murals which define each space. Here Kenzo did the concept of the sheet music inspired artwork, while Brent Wick a local artist actually painted the piece. I know in terms of my hotel inspired DIY suggestions, this is obviously only for the super artistic, but it could be a cool idea to enlist the help of a local art student or artist if you are looking to embellish your own walls.

Rock n’ Roll Wall: The Band Room offers 3 beds for $79 a night, perfect for those who live on the touring circuit. The wall features a collection of band posters from collector Mike King of Crash America that are affixed directly to the wall using wheatpaste. A cool idea for a teen’s room or a musician’s practice room.
Furniture is in the Eye of the Beholder: The designers repurposed furniture throughout the hotel. Above, a tree stump as sidetable. Other rooms have vintage army lockers reborn as desks, and stacked vintage books with leather bound spines as a makeshift sidetable. All examples, that you can create interesting furniture out of unexpected resources. Above, artist Brent Wick’s cat Larry looks over a living space.

Accessorize to get in the spirit: I love hotels that fill the rooms with things that let so you can really get into the vibe of the place. Because the neighborhood is a music mecca and a hub for vintage record shops, each room boasts Music Hall turntables with an inspired assortment of vintage LPs. The minibar offers local artisan liquors and beer. And Swobo bikes are available for checking out the scene on two wheels.

Offices Don’t Have to Look Officey: Great how the business center doesn’t look like one at all. A vintage wood table, stools upholstered in green army duck canvas, a cozy nook for reading, makes it a relaxed place to get some work done.

Rock on!

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