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Guesthouse: 9 Design Ideas to Steal from a Shoppable Boutique Hotel in Baltimore

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Guesthouse: 9 Design Ideas to Steal from a Shoppable Boutique Hotel in Baltimore

Three years ago, Shawn Chopra and Anne Morgan opened Good Neighbor, a Baltimore cafe and retail space that celebrates local artisans. “Baltimore has an amazing group of creatives, designers, and woodworkers,” Shawn says. “We really wanted to find a home to showcase their products, make it interactive, and immerse people into their furniture, books, and ceramics in the disguise of a coffee shop.”

Guesthouse, the new boutique hotel in the two floors above Good Neighbor, is an extension of this mission. A stay in one of the seven suites gives guests the opportunity to live with the products that Shawn curates—and buy them, too. Nearly every object in the lobby, bedrooms, and bathrooms is shopable. “All those items are for discovery,” says Shawn. “People can really test everything out.”

In addition to highlighting Baltimore’s creative community, Guesthouse also features Scandinavian brands that aren’t often found in Maryland and honors Shawn and Anne’s Indian and Egyptian heritages. These close-by and far-flung influences mingle to create a contemporary minimalist aesthetic that’s infused with warmth and personality.

Here, nine design ideas to steal:

Photography by Justin Timothy Temple.

1. Design with nostalgia in mind.

the standout feature of the lobby is the sculptural reception desk, which was i 17
Above: The standout feature of the lobby is the sculptural reception desk, which was informed by Shawn and Anne’s nostalgia for their favorite places. “We are obviously super inspired by everything that’s happening in Egypt, but also by the pyramids,” explains Shawn. “We designed the lobby bar to create this crisscross pyramid effect using a Baltimore native brick in the color of sand. It also reminds us of breeze blocks in my grandmother’s house in India. So we took a big moment in the space and mixed all three of our worlds.”

2. Install a statement sink.

another striking lobby element? the long concrete sink by lukeworks that&a 18
Above: Another striking lobby element? The long concrete sink by LukeWorks that’s available for guests to use while trying the Le Labo body care and fragrance products. Shawn chose concrete as a nod to his hometown of Chandigarh, India, which was famously designed in Brutalist style by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.
the sink is the main attraction in the powder room, too. its intricate basin is 19
Above: The sink is the main attraction in the powder room, too. Its intricate basin is modeled after stepwells in India.

3. Swap white oak for Douglas fir.

instead of popular white oak, shawn opted for douglas fir floors throughout gue 20
Above: Instead of popular white oak, Shawn opted for Douglas fir floors throughout Guesthouse. “We carry Danish brands, and Douglas fir is really big in Denmark,” he says. “It is also native to Maryland and has been reclaimed from a lot of Baltimore row homes. We work with a local company called Brick + Board that restores flooring. They had tons of Douglas fir because white oak is super in right now. Using this reclaimed wood that still has some nail holes in it brings character to the building. We did a gentle whitewash on it to modernize it a bit.”

4. Style utilitarian vessels as decor.

though every item is shoppable—including the frama modular shelving unit 21
Above: Though every item is shoppable—including the Frama modular shelving units—Shawn didn’t want the bedrooms to look like a store. Instead, he styled the utilitarian vessels and small appliances as if they were in a home, giving every object its due.

5. Use a headboard as a room divider.

since pushing the custom maryland oak bed frames against the wall would have hi 22
Above: Since pushing the custom Maryland oak bed frames against the wall would have hidden their beauty, Shawn cleverly used them as room dividers. Here, a headboard serves as a backdrop for a quiet sitting area.
positioning the bed in the middle of the room also allows guests to awaken to t 23
Above: Positioning the bed in the middle of the room also allows guests to awaken to treetop views.

6. Emphasize closet doors…

often, closet doors are hidden as much as possible. shawn did the opposite, emp 24
Above: Often, closet doors are hidden as much as possible. Shawn did the opposite, emphasizing them with a riff on an ancient technique. “We did Japanese shoji sliding doors, but instead of using a traditional white paper, we ended up using papyrus, which is the original paper from Egypt,” he says. “Papyrus has a thicker texture, and it transfers light very nicely but also provides privacy.”

7. …and bathroom door handles.

for shawn, even the smallest details matter—especially when you&#8\2 25
Above: For Shawn, even the smallest details matter—especially when you’re touching them. He commissioned Sarah Hrovoski to carve custom wooden handles for the bathroom doors. “Everything for us is interacting, touching, feeling, and being in the space,” he explains. “We thought it’d be really fun for her to design door handles, especially those that you would use more often, that are artful and have tactility to them.”

8. Frame windows in wood.

shawn framed all the windows in maryland oak to add warmth, depth, and cohesion 26
Above: Shawn framed all the windows in Maryland oak to add warmth, depth, and cohesion to the hotel.

9. Try Moroccan tadelakt plaster.

in some of suites, shawn applied moroccan tadelakt plaster to the showers for a 27
Above: In some of suites, Shawn applied Moroccan tadelakt plaster to the showers for a luxurious spa effect. “It allowed us to create this almost cave-like experience in the bathrooms,” he says. “All the walls are waterproof and it makes it feel like you’re on vacation.” (For more on the matter, see Remodeling 101: Moroccan Tadelakt Plaster Finish.)

Looking for more ideas to borrow from design-forward hotels and restaurants? We suggest:

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Frequently asked questions

What is the article about?

The article is about a guesthouse that showcases good design ideas in Baltimore.

Where can I find the guesthouse?

The guesthouse is located in Baltimore.

What design ideas are highlighted in the guesthouse?

The guesthouse showcases various design ideas related to interior design, architecture, landscaping, and furnishings.

Are there pictures of the guesthouse in the article?

Yes, the article includes several pictures showcasing the guesthouse and its design elements.

Is the article focused on sustainable design?

While the article doesn't explicitly mention sustainable design, it does highlight stylish and functional design elements.

Does the guesthouse have any unique features?

Yes, the guesthouse incorporates unique features such as a green roof, reclaimed wood elements, and a courtyard garden.

Can visitors stay at the guesthouse?

The article does not mention whether the guesthouse is available for visitors to book a stay.

Can I get design inspiration from the guesthouse?

Yes, the guesthouse serves as a source of design inspiration with its carefully curated interior and exterior elements.

Are there any specific design styles mentioned in the article?

The article doesn't explicitly mention specific design styles, but it highlights elements of modern and contemporary design.

Where can I find more information about the guesthouse?

Unfortunately, the article does not provide additional information about the guesthouse. However, you can try searching online for more details.

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