“History is the greatest designer and architect. The opportunity to restore and revitalize this beautiful Middle Eastern and Moorish jewel box, which had been neglected for years, was very appealing,” Weprin tells AD. “The challenge and opportunity were equally alluring, and working with Chip and Jo made it even more meaningful and rewarding.”
The result is a property that bears the Gaines’ trademark imprimatur—delightful, warm public spaces; inspired combinations of patterns and texture—but with a healthy dose of refined, 1920s chic. One of the most impressive rooms is the striking, double-height, black-paneled library, kitted out with plaid, wingback chairs; a modern take on a leather Chesterfield, and an understated white marble fireplace. It’s also one of Joanna’s favorite spots in the whole hotel: “It feels like a place I could just settle in and read a book, or have a cup of coffee with a friend,” she says. On the other end of the color spectrum are the cheery pinks and greens of on-site restaurant Bertie’s on the Rooftop. “The team and I wanted to have a little more fun here,” she says. “And we kind of had this character in mind: our crazy aunt,” she adds, with a laugh. “Like, if she had a restaurant, what would it look like?”
The nearly three dozen rooms, however, are more in line with what you might call classic Gaines style. “I wanted them to feel a little more restful and easy on the eyes.” For these private spaces, no two of which are exactly alike, the designer used a more neutral, calming palette but added a pop of color in the bathrooms, which use a deep, saturated green tile instead of a more expected black-and-white.