Chalky greens, flashes of burnt yellow, art deco accents and that wallpaper… Interior designer Matt Hulme of Dynargh Design shares some inspirations and insights from his reimagining of our Georgian rooms – and ponders on everything from reusing furniture to families craving good design.
It’s hard not to be inspired by the unique location of the hotel on the shores of Ullswater. The landscape around here is truly incredible – the changing seasons and overall feeling of escapism is something that I love and crave. I wanted to try and bring an element of the landscape into the interiors, but also to ensure that the schemes had a real feeling of warmth to them.
I’ve visited the Lake District at least twice a year for the past eight years for holidays / breaks with my partner, family and our dog. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, and somewhere I travel to escape and switch off.
The word I’d use to describe how guests use the hotel’s spaces is ‘relaxed’ – there’s a real informal and relaxed atmosphere to the entire place. You can sit curled up on a sofa with a flat white, sat near a family who have been in Swim Club, and a couple who are back from a walk with their dog sleeping by their side. It’s a very inclusive feeling. I wanted this to flow into the bedrooms; they had to have an element of a ‘home from home’ and make guests feel at ease.
The original building – the Georgian part of the hotel – has bedrooms that are all unique because of the original features of the property. I wanted to embrace this; rather than create a ‘cookie cutter’ style approach to the rooms, I was keen to make each room have its own elements and sense of style. Another Place also has lots of repeat guests, so if they returned to a different room, they’d enjoy a slightly different experience.
There are some beautiful original features in some of these rooms, including marble fireplaces and high ceilings, which already created an inspiring atmosphere to spark design ideas and emphasise each room’s uniqueness. Some of the rooms have wonderful views of the lake as well – I wanted the design to incorporate this, and not distract.
“The wonderful views of the Lake are a key feature – so the design had to incorporate this and not distract.”
My design work started with the Ullswater Suite, which has some timeless antique pieces harking back to the Jazz Age, blended with some more contemporary details. The inspiration for the whole scheme came from the Designers Guild wallpaper. Geo Modern, in jade. I was completely drawn to it and felt like it encapsulated the incredible landscape of The Lake District and Cumbria, with a nod to the fells.
The wallpaper’s tonal green colours with flashes of burnt yellow are stunning, and enabled so much to be drawn out and explored throughout the rest of the design. I chose ochre tones for the bed’s fabric headboard, which also linked to the bed throw and new brass bedside table lights, to create a cohesive flow.
“This warm use of paint colours has really transformed the rooms and makes you feel ‘embraced’ as you enter them.”
This room was meant to feel unique within the hotel, similar to how The Joules Suite has its own identity. But the other recently refurbished Georgian rooms have also taken some elements from this scheme – with chalky green paint colours, warm ochre fabrics and flashes of burnt orange featuring in their designs too. This warm use of paint colours has really transformed the rooms and makes you feel ‘embraced’ as you enter them.
The colour schemes do have an appeal at different times of the year. When we completed the Ullswater Suite last July, it was a beautiful sunny day and the light coming in from the lake emphasised the grandeur of the space. But the chalky tones of the paint and wallpaper also feel very warm and inviting during the darker autumnal and winter months.
In line with Another Place’s sustainability ethos, I’m proud of how we were able to work with a large number of existing pieces of furniture. We’re conscientious about recycling and reusing furniture – reimagining the design doesn’t have to mean throwing everything out and starting again.
The hotel had a large number of really beautiful pieces of case goods (bedside tables, wardrobes / desks), so I ensured that these worked within the new designs. We then added new pieces of upholstered furniture to all the rooms; some had new feature beds, while others had upholstered headboards added to give a feeling of warmth and luxury.
“I’m proud of how we were able to work with a large number of existing pieces of furniture… Reimagining the design doesn’t have to mean throwing everything out and starting again.”
I’m also really pleased with the artwork. I wanted to add ‘collections’ of artwork into the new bedrooms; rather than doing anything cliché like pictures of the Lakes or sheep, I wanted to create a collection for each room that were individual images that all worked together. This was important to evoke that more ‘homely’ feel to the rooms, so that it was clear we genuinely spent time collecting the various pieces of art. This homely feel is something that I feel hotel guests enjoy and makes them feel relaxed.
For so long I think that the ‘family market’ has been ignored in terms of good hotel design, with the emphasis for interior design being to more couple- or city centre oriented market. Another Place is a game changer when it comes to that. As a group they really know their guests and know that younger families nowadays expect a feeling of style and comfort in their hotel. Just because you have children doesn’t mean that your sense of design or style has to change – why can’t you visit a laid-back design led hotel with your children and dog?