One of a designer's biggest challenges is putting a fresh spin on a property everyone already knows and loves.
That's the situation Carrie Dessertine and Laura Flam, Reunion Goods & Services, found themselves in when hired to reopen Hotel Clermont in Atlanta's Poncey-Highland neighborhood. "As non-Atlantans, we wanted to make sure we did it properly," says Dessertine. Their goal was to merge southern hospitality with a wild streak.
Built in 1924 as Bonaventure Arms Apartments, the property evolved into a hotel with the cabaret-type Clermont Lounge in the basement (it's now more of a dive and strip bar that operates within the hotel but under separate ownership). Over the years, however, Hotel Clermont lost its edge — when Reunion stepped in, the paint was peeling off the walls and ceiling fans were drooping, Flam explains.
The most important piece of the overhaul was maintaining the building's historical status while infusing it with a fresh, fun vibe, so Flam and Dessertine brought in a ton of vintage pieces from the '30s and '70s and embraced vibrant jewel tones. There's also a focus on strong women in the design, which hearkens back to that burlesque lounge but also the current ownership, which is female. To that end, black-and-white portraits of women hang in the lounge.