Homes and Hotels: Design's Perfect Match

2018 Dwell on Design conference unveils popular home design trends inspired by the hospitality industry

At-home bar in the 2018 New American Home

At-home bars give homeowners the cocktail lounge atmosphere they enjoy at their favorite hotels, but in the comfort of their own home. Pictured: Wet bar from the 2018 New American Home. Photo: Jeffrey A. Davis Photography, Inc.

LOS ANGELES — In-home bars. Island kitchens. Multifunction furniture.

These are but a few of the interior design ideas that have crossed from hotels to homes or homes to hotels. The home and hospitality design crossover trend isn't new, but was a hot topic at the Dwell on Design conference held in Los Angeles April 5-7, 2018.

Most design crossovers involve multimillion-dollar, custom-built residences and luxury hospitality properties, but some have migrated from the wealthy to what everyone else can afford.

Bring cocktail culture into your home
One huge trend in crossovers is the cocktail experience, which brings the cozy, well-stocked hotel bar into the residential sphere.

"A lot of my residential customers come from the bars. They have a personal involvement with whisky, Tequila or other spirits. They want that feeling in their home," said Ricki Kline, partner and principal designer at Ricki Kline Design + Build, a Los Angeles-based design firm for boutique hotels, restaurants and bars.

Bringing the bar home might mean setting up a well-tailored area with a cocktail cart and spirits or glassware collection, transforming a coat closet into an enclosed wet bar, or building a full bar inside the home. The design idea is to capture the cocktail culture within the residence.

This trend has emerged in secondary residences, too. .

"We're seeing a lot of home bars," said Carissa Duncan, owner of Salt + Bones, a boutique hospitality and high-end residential design studio in Carmel, Calif. "They're building bars in second homes, vacation homes, to entertain friends. We're designing a lot of bars."

However, the in-home bar may be more popular in non-urban areas where there's no neighborhood bar on the premises.

"In an urban area, if people want a real bar, they just go downstairs and go to that bar," Kline said. "In a place like Palm Springs, the (in-home bar) aesthetic will really work. People are remodeling desert homes as vacation homes. They want a complete setup."

Hide what really happens in your kitchen
The open-concept kitchen has been a must-have design element in newly built homes and remodeled ones for many years.

"Nobody is building a separate kitchen any more," Kline says.

But this trend, too, has a new twist borrowed from hotel dining areas. The open island kitchen still serves as a gathering place centered around food and beverages, but now there's also a separate kitchen that's out of sight behind the open area. The food is placed in the show kitchen while the prep work is done behind the scenes in a butler pantry, designers said.

In a smaller home with less space, designers create a main kitchen that's still a focal point, but takes the focus away from food preparation.

"We're putting in kitchens that can be on display," Duncan said. "We're strategic about the layout so people who are hosting can change the lighting, cover things up, close things off, and entertain without showing the big mess."

Turn your furniture into...different furniture
While newly built homes have increased in size, standard hotel rooms have shrunk from merely small to truly tiny. This reduction in space has triggered a new interest in multifunction furniture, some of which may migrate from hotels to homes once the design bugs have been worked out.

"A chair can become a desk. A nightstand can become a dresser. A couch can become a bed in a way that's not normal. We're being asked to design unique pieces of furniture that have two or three functions," said Michael Suomi, principal and vice president of interior design at Stonehill Taylor, a hospitality architecture and design firm in New York City.

Another example Suomi mentioned was a table that can be raised or lowered from tea height to cocktail height to desk height.

In a home, residents can learn how to transform their furniture. In a hotel, the learning curve has to be intuitive and easy for guests to figure out. Otherwise, they won't use it.

"We try to design furniture ergonomically so that it will work for multiple functions without a lot of gymnastics to it," Suomi said.

Yes, you can live in a hotel
One more trend that might be win for people who want to live in a hotel with all its amenities, plus their own possessions and personalization: Living in – well, near – hotels.

"A number of hotels have residences either above or below them. Typically it's above, with the hotel occupying the lower floors," Suomi says.

Residents can use the hotel's concierge service. They can get room service from the hotel's restaurants, daily maid service, if they want it, and use the hotel's valet parking. They also share such hotel amenities as a business center, swimming pool, lounge and bar.

Move into a hotel residence and you might never want to leave home again.
Marcie Geffner is an award-winning freelance reporter, book editor and blogger whose work has been published by a long list of financial, mortgage and banking websites, trade magazines and newspapers. You can find her on Google+.

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