Sheraton Carlton (St. Regis Carlton) Hotel
Washington's Grand Presidential Hotel
Modeled after an Italian Renaissance palace, this hotel opened in 1926, as Washington’s grand hotel. Over its storied history, it has hosted numerous presidents, beginning with Calvin Coolidge, who cut the ceremonial opening ribbon (read more about it here). Located two blocks from the White House, it presented the challenge of matching – while not competing with – the drama of the ceilings, staying true to the qualities that put it on the National Register of Historic Places list.
Everything had to be removed, categorized, inventoried, and then stored, followed by refurbishment and adapting for modern use. The sense of grandeur and presence because of hosting dignitaries and heads-of-state – was unparalleled, especially for that time. I needed to pay homage to the Beaux Arts style which dominated post-World War I design, staging details under the umbrella of hand-painted mahogany and ebony wood Palazzo-style ceilings.
Beaux Arts style Interiors
Across the two-story lobby, I carried a mauve and blue color scheme, and all the rugs throughout – even in the ballroom – were the highest quality 100% Axminster wool, all designed and custom made. In the bar and restaurant area, I created two different sections. The first, a half-racetrack-shaped bar, brought guests into the space with brass footrests, black granite bar top and tabletops, and a collection of cross-back barstools and chairs. The other glamorous Baccarat crystal chandelier lights remained consistent throughout, including the separate seating groupings, partitioned by custom designed, etched glass panels. This evoked an intimacy, illuminated by art deco up-lights and wall sconces.
The Presidential Suite needed an upscale-yet-authentic ambiance, achieved by adding wallpaper to the dining room which coordinated identically to the draperies. Crystal chandeliers, a baby grand piano, and traditional Federalist period furnishings made from mahogany wood completed the look.