Dorothée Meilichzon is renowned for designing playful hotels throughout Europe, from city spots like Grand Pigalle Hotel in Paris to seaside resorts like Montesol Experimental in Ibiza, but she had never tackled a rural property until she overhauled a 1695 estate in the Cotswolds. Reminted as Cowley Manor Experimental, the newly-updated hotel is her take on an English countryside getaway—complete with modern influences.
“I want to do projects that are contemporary,” says Dorothée, who founded France-based studio Chzon in 2009. “Even if they’re in classical buildings, they have to talk about the period we’re living in.” That’s why she leaned into graphic patterns (most notably checkerboard), groovy silhouettes reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s, and a whimsical color palette of blues, greens, and reds.
But that doesn’t mean Dorothée ignored 300 years of history. She incorporated the estate’s many past lives, including its role as the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, into the aesthetic. And, of course, she maintained the government-protected architectural details like original wood paneling and an ornate staircase. The mix of eras and styles is what Dorothée refers to as “joyeux bordel,” or a happy mess.
With that, here are 10 design ideas worth borrowing.
Photography by Mr. Tripper.
1. Pay homage to history.
2. Riff on a well-known trope.
3. Embrace checkerboard.
(We’re noting checks popping up everywhere lately; for more, see Margot’s Trend Alert: Checkerboard Tiles.)
4. Go all in on warm tones.
5. Consider cobalt.
6. Upcycle existing furniture.
7. Bring back canopy beds.
8. Add a statement headboard (even in small spaces).
9. Check out a nonfuctioning fireplace.
10. Try enameled lava stone.
We’re longtime fans of Dorothée’s playful, statement-making designs. Case in point:
- Beds Take a Bow: The New Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris
- Menorca Experimental: Summer Is Just Getting Going at this Chic Island Resort
- Hotel Panache: The Power of Jolie Laide Style