When most people think of Colombia, cities like Cartagena and Medellín immediately come to mind. Yet, the country’s capital, Bogotá, is quickly becoming just as desirable to visit, given its abundant cultural, design, and culinary offerings. Take Casa Legado, for example—a quaint boutique hotel that opened its doors in October 2017, and is inspired by owner Helena Davila’s close-knit family and traditional roots.
Each of the charming seven guest rooms is uniquely furnished and decorated with playful wallpaper, artistic tiles, dreamy linens, and deliberate—yet unexpected—accents, but it’s the cozy communal spaces (in the form of an indoor-outdoor terrace with free-flowing greenery and a well-stocked kitchen that guests are allowed to use at any time) that truly make Casa Legado a place that feels like being at home with family.
Here, Helena takes us on a tour of her world, and lets us in on some of her aesthetic sensibilities.
Nature has always been a huge part of Helena’s life—since she was brought up in the Colombian countryside. So, when designing Casa Legado, she really wanted to bring the outside in. “I wanted to create romantic spaces that merged flowers and lighting together, and our garden and courtyard gives nature the priority. There’s magical ivy that’s creating a story across the walls outside, and plants are blooming in every guest room,” she says.
Luxury doesn’t have to be over the top. According to Helena, it can be as simple as placing a heated water pouch underneath your blankets on a chilly evening, making it nice and cozy for when you go to bed.
And speaking of cozy places within Casa Legado, every night, the staff makes a fire for guests to enjoy, out of the wood stored in the alcove. “This placement makes the fireplace more ‘design-worthy,’ but remember when designing your home that spaces are meant to be lived in and enjoyed,” says Helena.
Another signature staple of this homey hotel is interesting, one-of-a-kind dishware. “If you are limited in terms of cabinet space, try building shelves and turning your servingware into a display,” recommends Helena. “Feel free to mix it up, but stay within the same warmth of color. I decided to go with neutral ceramics, and added a yellow, eye-popping wallpaper.”
Another one of Helena’s pro tips? Never buy something you don’t love, and never keep stuff you don’t use. “Everything should serve a purpose,” she adds.
There’s no shortage of interesting things to look at in Casa Legado, but one of the most unique would have to be the check-in desk, which was once an ice cream cart given to Helena for her seventh birthday.
“It had been sitting in my parents’ shed for years. I saw it and decided to refurbish it to make the check-in experience a bit more interesting and welcoming,” she recalls. “I love finding furniture in my family’s homes that they no longer use, and turning them into something that will have years’ worth of stories. Before throwing something out, think about how you can give it a second life. I’m all about sustainability, and most of the furniture in Casa Legado has been upcycled.”
The Lucho is inspired by Helena’s 19-year-old nephew—a creative soul who is aspiring to become a journalist. So, creating a tranquil, peaceful environment with an outdoor terrace and hammock was key for this room. “It’s important to infuse your personal space with touches that speak to your true being,” suggests Helena. “Try picking out a fun color or print to help spark that creativity.”
One of the most memorable (and adorable) design accents in another guest room would have to be the toucan wallpaper. Although Helena describes her 17-year-old nephew Santiago as disciplined and introspective, she also loves his fun, humorous side, and wanted to create a room that reflected his personality.
“The room is black and white, with a subtle nook covered in a toucan wallpaper to represent a playful quality,” says Helena. “I love wallpaper because it’s an easy and effortless way to add adventure and dimension to a neutral room. If I could wallpaper everything, I would. Any space you create should make you smile and entertain you.”
Be careful with measurements as you go, though: You might run out if you don’t get the proper amount, so Helena suggests shopping in-person if you can: Seeing the color, texture, and finish yourself makes an enormous difference.
Soaking tubs instantly evoke a sense of calm, so designing a corner of niece Natalia’s room specifically for this pampering purpose was a conscious move on Helena’s part. “My niece loves all things summer, so I decided to place the tub in the guest room (instead of the bathroom) to represent the presence of water and relaxation,” she says.
To make the area feel extra luxurious, Helena also draped a breezy linen to create privacy, staggered candles, and added fresh local flowers and homemade bath salts to the mix. “We are very careful in choosing details that keep the bathroom fresh: Fresh eucalyptus can relax and enhance your breathing condition, but it’s a great perk that it also smells lovely, and adds a visually appealing touch to the space.”
Seven-year old niece Luisa’s room is probably one of the most requested rooms at the hotel because of its whimsical vibes in the form of tropical wallpaper floating shelves suspended by ropes, and an overall childlike aesthetic.
“I wanted this space to make guests feel like they are connected to nature in an exploratory way. I think people are sometimes afraid to take a chance with wallpaper, but I say tap into your inner self and let your playful side have a presence in the design you choose. The Luisa room feels like an enchanting treehouse because of the materials used.”
Tiles play a big role in the bathrooms at Casa Legado, and an impressive example of that would have to be Valentina’s bathroom. Designed after the world traveler in the family, Helena chose patterns that reminded her of Portugal and Italy, where tiles are more than just decoration: They’re art.
“I fell in love with this local tile from La Condesa that I found here in Bogotá, and decided to create an infinity sensation by covering the floor and shower wall. Some are ceramic tiles and some are cement (old-style tiles) that I placed not only on the flooring, but also on the walls and ceilings,” says Helena. “First and foremost, bathrooms have to be a place of comfort and relaxation. It’s a space where you take time for yourself, and where you take a pause from your hectic life. Whether it’s in the morning or late at night, the privacy of a bathroom gives you a moment to take a look in the mirror, reflect, pamper yourself, and refresh. Design should always honor that.”
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