21c Museum Hotel Durham: 2015 BoY Winner for Hotel Renewal
It’s like a chunk of the Empire State Building’s lobby moved to the South. Now transformed into a boutique hotel, the Hill Building is a 1937 gem that the same architecture firm, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, built for a bank and a department store. “I felt an immediate affinity with the art deco,” Interior Design Hall of Fame member Deborah Berke says. Not to mention with the 21c Museum Hotel brand—this is her fourth property as well as her second collaboration with PWWG associate Lisa Carver. As Carver adds, “The building has an elegant face with an underpinning of efficiency.”
Berke and Carver preserved the original marble walls, metal elevator doors, and terrazzo flooring. The old safe-deposit vault is now a lounge featuring floor tile screen-printed with scattered dollar bills from an imagined robbery—an artwork by Leslie Lyons and J.B. Wilson, in keeping with the museum theme. There’s also a 10,500-square-foot gallery dedicated to contemporary art. Next comes the restaurant, where pendant fixtures highlight the open kitchen.
In the 125 guest rooms and suites, shiny chrome architect’s lamps illuminate retro headboards with channeled upholstery and a scattering of satin-and-velvet pillows. Perfect for a deco diva.