Founded in 2012,
Lark Hotels is a collection of boutique inns designed to capture the unique sense of place that characterizes some of New England’s most beloved tourist destinations. In every case, Boston-based interior designer Rachel Reider works to reimagine classic, often historic, spaces into modern hotels that pay homage to the area’s deep roots, calling on décor from custom designers, retail stores, and online resources to create distinctly different, one-of-a-kind venues different from both other Lark properties and from other hotels in the respective areas. “I strive to push the boundaries of design,” she says, layering interiors with new styles that preserve the buildings’ architectural integrity.
Reider uses her creative freedom to work antiques into modern decor, a technique she believes starts with small-scale experimentation and can be accomplished in any space. Here, she guides us through her process and inspiration.
Gilded takes the opulence of the Gilded Age to Newport, Rhode Island, renowned for its old world mansions. While Reider says that Gilded was her most challenging Lark Hotel project due to its Victorian bones, it also allowed her to call on her love of historical fiction and vision of the Gilded Age as “a time when people let butterflies loose” to create such freshly imagined details as this check-in desk. The Osborne & Little wallpaper complements the jewel tones that are pervasive throughout the hotel, a cohesive color-blending method Reider favors as a bold design decision.
Field Guide says Reider, is meant to capture the essence of exploration and discovery inherent in Stowe, Vermont, a highly sought-after destination for its skiing and hiking trails, and, she says, “everything in between.” The rusty greens and browns evident in the woven flannel chairs, patterned drapery, and custom-designed sculptural, live-edge tree headboard shown here create a color palette that caters to year-round visitors.
Originally built in 1813 as a wedding present to sea captain James Fairfield’s wife The
Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, keeps with the heritage of the original property by using what Reider calls an “old meets new” approach. Old elements such as an antiqued mirror and club chairs, rug, and ceiling medallion come together with newer features, including a modern chandelier and coffee table. The key to blending old and new decor, says Reider, is to “stay true to a natural sense of place” and always let one inform the other.
The Captain Fairfield Inn’s farmhouse dining table is an original piece from the Fairfield mansion. In this room, Reider mixed old and new by keeping the antiqued table and implementing classical, trellis motif wallpaper and
modern sconces. Reider recommends seeking out custom pieces in order to recreate a specific vision and worked with Dunes and Duchess to custom-create the over-scale sconces.
Salem, Massachusetts, has a history that extends far beyond the infamous witch trials, and Reider represents the town’s heritage as a shipping port and maritime powerhouse in
The Merchant. The original property belonged to a wealthy ship captain, and the modern hotel contains numerous antiques the owner left behind. The walls, painted by a local artisan, boast a watercolor look meant to complement the green and blue chairs. The dark colors work alongside the lighting fixtures to create a sense of mood emblematic of Salem itself.
Reider calls this attic-turned-bedroom at The Merchant a “nod to the original owner of the house.” The Cole and Son wave wallpaper encapsulates a
nautical theme, further preserved by the blues around the room. Next to the bed, the wooden structure is original to the property and exemplifies the idea of utilizing natural elements to create a modern sense of place.
A former Methodist campground,
Summercamp is a playful space on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, for travelers who, says Reider, share a sense of nostalgia for the “glory days of childhood.” Here, she recreated a canteen, a traditional feature of a summer camp, using plywood coupled with corrugated metal to create a rustic, unfinished vibe that’s instantly recognizable to any former camp-goer.
Summercamp’s interactive lounge epitomizes the sense of fun and freeness inherent in the hotel’s atmosphere. The metal-lettered “play” sign rests above a giant Connect Four game, evoking nostalgia of the joys of childhood. “Certainly, lettering is an easy way to add interest to a space,” Reider says.
The motto of
Whitehall, in Camden, Maine, is “where the mountains meet the sea,” and this juxtaposition is apparent throughout the inn. Blues and greens pair with blacks, whites, and natural wood tones to create a space representative of the area, particularly in the staircase carpet, created by Portland, Maine, native Angela Adams. The chained coffee table in front of the red sofa has a maritime feel, while the cowhide rug across from it celebrates Camden’s famous beltway cows.
Located in a former department store building,
The Hotel Salem in Salem, Massachusetts, is a tribute to the midcentury feel that characterized the heyday of retail culture. The varied shades of blue in the tiling paired with the custom-made Sorrentino Mariani walnut vanity recreate styles that were enormously popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but in a modern, light, and fresh way. Walnut hues appear throughout the hotel to remind travelers of the earthy tones of the midcentury. “It’s certainly a statement,” Reider says.