When you design a space inspired by a specific decade, you walk a fine line. If you drive home the theme too much, you risk it appearing kitschy and staged. A keen eye for color and pattern, though, can be your ticket to making any retro room appear fun and modern. Just take, for example, Chattanooga, TN’s The Dwell Hotel, originally opened in 1909 and newly redesigned. Every corner of the boutique hotel proves that 1950s design is timeless when styled right.
The masterminds behind the revived look are Owner/Designer Seija Ojanpera and Head Buyer Laurel Creager, two women with a passion for mid-century decor and saturated color. They’ve taken their fun aesthetic and amplified it, and it’s all thanks to an in-your-face, palm wallpaper. When they found it, a lightbulb went off immediately and the duo was inspired to take risks and be a bit bolder with the space’s look than they had initially planned. Thanks to the fronds, all 16 of the boutique hotel’s themed rooms now feature their own unique prints and brazen color scheme. But the most admirable design feature may be the furniture and decor. They’re all authentic pieces — no replicas here. Seija and Laurel scoured eBay, Craigslist and estate sales, staying up all hours of the night to snag the perfect furnishings.
Clearly, their hard work has paid off as the hotel’s new look is extremely cohesive. So cohesive, in fact, you’d never know that the whirlwind of a project came together in a mere five months. “It was wild and so fun, and I’d be crazy to do it that way again… but probably would,” Seija says with a wink. If their next project turns out this great, I say forget the stress, and go for it. We can never have too many fabulous hotels to visit. Click through to explore all of the The Dwell Hotel’s prettiest spots. Enjoy! —Garrett