March 18, 2013

Historic Cues from Steve Henry

Throughout our renovations at The New York Palace, one common theme has been the design and aesthetic of the hotel. As we conduct upgrades to The Towers and The Villard Mansion, we are constantly trying to find a middle ground between both spaces that will combine the old with the new.

This week we caught up with the lead designer of The Towers renovations, Steve Henry. Henry is a Principal at BAMO, an interior design services company, where he uses his extraordinary knack for design to create unique spaces for his clients. We chatted about his design inspirations, working with a historic hotel and much more.

The New York Palace: What were major factors that you took into consideration when designing the suites and other guest rooms?

Steve Henry: We wanted the new spaces to be modern and yet pay homage to the older designs of The Villard Mansion. We took a tour of the mansion, and when we walked through the doors, you could feel a tingle in your spine from the history and knowing these were the same doors Henry Villard walked through. In a big city like New York, as a hotel guest you don’t often have access to wonderful historic spaces like this which makes it worthwhile.

One thing that was made clear from David McCaslin, President of Northwood Hospitality, was don’t try to recreate the history, just add touches. And that is what we did.

The New York Palace: How did you add touches of the old design into the new?

Steve Henry: While taking the tour through the mansion, we looked at everything from the entryways, woodwork details, etc. and found that references could be incorporated into the suites. For example, the designs found in the entryways of the mansion were done in mosaics. So we took that idea and brought them to the entryway floors in The Tower’s corner suites. The mosaic flooring brought in more of a contemporary style while still adding a piece of the Villard’s history into the design.

Throughout the suite, we used a mixture of darker hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms to make the suites feel more home-like for guests. Then, so that the guests could better enjoy the fantastic views we took down many layers of draperies and replaced them with light and airy roman shades. Now when you walk into the newly completed Towers rooms you say, “Wow look at this view – I’m in the heart of Manhattan and here it is in all of its splendor.”

Mosaic Tiles

 The New York Palace: What are your favorite components of working with a historic hotel?

Steve Henry: I love historical spaces. Having worked on other historic properties, I like to look for cues in the existing spaces to include in the new property, but at the same time, we are cognizant of the fact we are creating a new space.

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