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A Northern California Roadhouse Inn, Restored with Whimsy (and a Hint of Surrealism)

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A Northern California Roadhouse Inn, Restored with Whimsy (and a Hint of Surrealism)

May 19, 2017

After the legendary Manka’s Inverness Lodge in West Marin, California, burned in a fire, owners Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong were looking for a commercial kitchen to cook in again. When they heard the former Olema Inn was up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity. The roadhouse, built in 1876, is on the corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Route 1 on the Point Reyes Peninsula. After five owners, lazy aesthetics had set in by the time Grade and DeLong bought the property. “The building felt flimsy,” Grade says. “Changes made over the years weren’t done with particular emphasis on aesthetics or historical value. We wanted to give it stronger roots, and more edge, more than it had.”

Their first bold move was to paint the exterior black. Next, they installed hardwood floors (of varying widths, to suggest an evolution over time), added new shutters, opened up the skylights, and replaced light fixtures. First to open was the downstairs restaurant Sir & Star in 2013. In the fall of 2015, Grade and DeLong opened up the five upstairs bedrooms for rent. Each room has decor sourced by Grade from European flea markets, Los Angeles light dealers, and local antiques shops. Here’s a look.

Photography by Andria Lo for Remodelista.

A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism The building’s exterior is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Black Panther—in a flat finish with the trim in gloss to emphasize existing Italianate architectural details. (See Dark Matter: \10 Design Ideas to Steal from Houses with Dramatic Facades on Gardenista for more ideas.)
Above: The building’s exterior is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Black Panther—in a flat finish with the trim in gloss to emphasize existing Italianate architectural details. (See Dark Matter: 10 Design Ideas to Steal from Houses with Dramatic Facades on Gardenista for more ideas.)
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism A wall hanging basket of foraged lichen covered branches punctuates the stairway leading to the bedrooms. The building is anchored with warm white walls and soft color in a palette Grade calls “restful.”
Above: A wall hanging basket of foraged lichen-covered branches punctuates the stairway leading to the bedrooms. The building is anchored with warm white walls and soft color in a palette Grade calls “restful.”
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism Grade’s quirky decor elements are found in nooks and corners throughout the building.
Above: Grade’s quirky decor elements are found in nooks and corners throughout the building.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism Trim and shutters are painted in Benjamin Moore Space Black paint. The brass lights in the hallway are midcentury Italian bedside scones (with a pull chain) from antiques gallery Obsolete in Los Angeles.
Above: Trim and shutters are painted in Benjamin Moore Space Black paint. The brass lights in the hallway are midcentury Italian bedside scones (with a pull chain) from antiques gallery Obsolete in Los Angeles.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism Room One has a bovine theme, hence the milking stool and settee upholstered in cowhide
Above: Room One has a bovine theme, hence the milking stool and settee upholstered in cowhide
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism Room Two has an equestrian theme, with dressage and riding accessories. A Serge Mouille Three Arm Ceiling Lamp and foraged mistletoe hang above the bed; a trompe l&#8\2\17;oeil equestrian trophy is painted on the wall.
Above: Room Two has an equestrian theme, with dressage and riding accessories. A Serge Mouille Three-Arm Ceiling Lamp and foraged mistletoe hang above the bed; a trompe l’oeil equestrian trophy is painted on the wall.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism “Room Two refers to an old Manka’s room with leather tack; it had playful, sexual undertones that we wanted to re create here,” Grade says.
Above: “Room Two refers to an old Manka’s room with leather tack; it had playful, sexual undertones that we wanted to re-create here,” Grade says.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism A bed from Noir with linens from Matteo, a vintage card table and valise in Room Three.
Above: A bed from Noir with linens from Matteo, a vintage card table and valise in Room Three.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism The vintage folding card table serves as a nightstand. Glass bottles, glasses, a guestbook, and a flashlight are by each bed.
Above: The vintage folding card table serves as a nightstand. Glass bottles, glasses, a guestbook, and a flashlight are by each bed.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism Foraged branches are tucked behind the bed frame (the hotel’s foraged decor changes often). Tucked under pillows are eye masks and earplugs in glassine bags.
Above: Foraged branches are tucked behind the bed frame (the hotel’s foraged decor changes often). Tucked under pillows are eye masks and earplugs in glassine bags.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism The white tiled bath with foraged decor overhead.
Above: The white tiled bath with foraged decor overhead.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism A vintage leather club chair and tall curio in the hotel’s entry.
Above: A vintage leather club chair and tall curio in the hotel’s entry.
A Northern California Roadhouse Inn Restored with Whimsy and a Hint of Surrealism More vintage notes include a writing desk, rotary phone, and push button light switches.
Above: More vintage notes include a writing desk, rotary phone, and push button light switches.

For more on the Olema Hotel’s sister property, see our posts:

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