A Jolt of Red-Orange Breaks Up All the Wood Paneling in This New Hudson Valley Hotel
It’s the “experiment that worked out.”
Published Nov 5, 2022 1:10 AM
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Tall verdant pines coat the hills, steaming barrel saunas hide between the trees—the landscape surrounding Little Cat Lodge is like a scene from a storybook. But the real visual wonder comes when you step through the doors of the newly opened Hudson Valley, New York, hotel. In true Alpine spirit, local studio Love Is Enough leaned into the 14-room building’s existing rustic quality. “We felt it should feel like a home away from home,” says the firm’s founder and principal designer, Loren Daye.
Picturing leaf-lined trails, lazy Sunday naps, and the crackling silence of winter set the tone for the space’s toasty yet whimsical ambience. Still, Daye steered clear of decorations that felt too theme-y. “We wanted a contrast and relief from all that textural warmth,” explains the designer of introducing playful accents, like a banquette that doubles as firewood storage, to its classic bones. Overflowing with coziness, here are the ideas we’re stealing for our own homes this season.
Balance Out Wood Tones With Punchy Hues
Lots of natural materials can sometimes result in stuffiness. Juxtaposing them with vibrant, saturated shades can breathe new life into a space. Daye glazed an entire lounge room in tangy orange—a shade inspired by the fall foliage often seen in the neighboring Berkshires—for a respite from the woodsiness. “It felt fitting,” she says. “Maybe a tiny wink to locals.” It happens to play off the forest green trim nicely, but Daye notes that there’s not always a clear case for the right color pairings; sometimes you have to jump in and take the risk. “We feel quite fearless about big decisions like this paint color, but honestly it’s just an experiment that worked out,” she admits.
Infuse Personality With Pattern
Daye found gingham to be a popular pattern in Alpine spaces, from Swiss chalets to Austrian hunting cabins. So she stuck to the theme, showcasing it on U-shaped benches (in rainbow!) and butter yellow bedding. “To me, it means simplicity, utility, and countryside,” Daye says. “There’s a humility to it.” Gingham isn’t ubiquitous, though. Plenty of botanical prints lush with trees, squirrels, and tiny tulips appear throughout the hotel, too. “It’s not interesting to us if we’re employing the same approach or representing a repetitive aesthetic,” Daye explains. In other words? Patterns can benefit from some clash. It whittles down to even the smallest of details, like the scalloped crown molding in the bedrooms, checkerboard-inspired bathroom tile, and two-tone terrazzo at the bar.
Weave in Global Elements
To capture the essence of mountain, ski, and village cultures across the globe—from Japan’s Hokkaido hot springs to New England’s slopes—Daye embellished the getaway with conical Noguchi lanterns, floral fabric by Austrian-Swiss designer Josef Frank, and locally crafted wood tables. “Mixing styles or influences from around the world is a delicate balance and can come out clumsy,” says Daye. Pulling references from completely different environments ensures it doesn’t feel one-note.
Apply a Modern Touch to Reclaimed Materials
Thick panels of reclaimed mushroom wood sourced from the Hudson Company clad the hotel’s walls. The boards are made from the bedding bins of mushroom-growing facilities in the mid-Atlantic, so they boast a caramel-hued patina. Daye made another eco-friendly (not to mention cost-efficient) decision by having the guest beds, daybeds, and bedside tables constructed from trees that were slated for razing on the very mountain where Little Cat Lodge resides. “It tells a truly sustainable story,” the designer says, recalling how she picked out the trees herself with local woodworker Megan Offner. Then she got meta: Daye saved some of the hotel’s existing wood walls and repaneled them in the dining room and tavern for a fresh, fairy tale–worthy look.