Redefining Heritage | Contemporary Touches

At times, efforts to retain a site’s history, charm, and character take on greater importance when designing a hotel in an area distinguished by its tightly knit community and long-established ‘look-and-feel’. When tasked with a two-part hotel renovation as part of a multi-faceted rebranding and refresh of the 22-acre The Estate Yountville, we had to ensure our efforts to renovate Hotel Villagio and Vintage House were complementary instead of intrusive to the local culture and environment, remaining harmonious with the hamlet’s quaint human-scale buildings and restaurants yet adding stylish, contemporary touches.

The hotel redesign upholds Napa Valley’s rustic heritage through a modern lens that exercises restraint and manages to remain true to locale. Rather than trying to capture a single architectural period, style or influence, which can be off-putting and prevent an authentic experience of place, we looked to the surroundings as design inspiration for the hotels, instilling a modern wine country aesthetic that isn’t so contemporary that it compromises Yountville’s pedestrian-friendly and charming “small town” feel.

Revising Vintage House’s brick façades to achieve a California modernist country feel, we added a large gable and white exteriors as contemporary touches on country farmhouse style architecture, reflecting a departure from the former French country aesthetic that existed when the hotel was referred to as Vintage Inn. In updates to the exterior at Hotel Villagio, which reflected a formal Tuscan style when it was known as Villagio Inn and Spa, we rooted the property in its agrarian surroundings by replacing the terracotta tile roof with sleek standing seam metal roofing and installing rustic wood posts in place of neo-classical Roman detailing and columns. Another effort to stay true to Yountville was made with the light-filled Main House lobby at Vintage House, which harkens back to the surrounding landscape with the remodeled interior creating a visual connection back to Washington Street, Yountville’s main pedestrian corridor.

With an upscale but less formal feel, we recast the lobby at Hotel Villagio, which seamlessly blends farmhouse and industrial elements, large-scale light fixtures, and high ceilings outfitted with wooden beams. A contemporary, dark, and moody palette featuring stone, brass elements, and dark iron detailing beckons both travelers and locals to enjoy moments at a  stylish pool table and lobby bar. Within the design of these upscale environments, feelings of warmth and inclusivity balance newness and chicness, delivering a sense of casual elegance and approachability that suits a modern farmhouse aesthetic and the surrounding locale.

Originally created for and published on Hotel Executive as ‘The Value of Retaining Historical Character in Hotel Design’.