Aside from its famous maple syrup, Vermont is an area frequented often for its renowned scenery and outdoor activities. From the countless ski resorts to the unparalleled hiking and biking trails, the New England state is the place to visit if you’re craving a nature-inspired adventure.
To accommodate visitors traveling from near or afar, the Marriott brand recently decided to establish a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Waterbury, VT, located down the street from the infamous Ben and Jerry’s factory. Nestled in the Green Mountains, the newly constructed retreat features 84 rooms, including grandiose suites, which were inspired by the surrounding landscape, according to Lori Kramer, CEO of LHK design in New York, NY.
“The new Fairfield Inn and Suites maintains the brand’s signature features with a rustic charm that defines this beautiful New England town,” said Kramer, whose interior design firm was enlisted to carry out the design of the hotel. “Upon entering the lobby, guests experience a warm and inviting rustic lodge atmosphere featuring stylized wood grain translucent panels flanked by reclaimed teak wood planks on the registration feature wall, reclaimed wood cabinetry and a magnificent burnished finished brass ring chandelier set against a ceiling of found teak wood.”
Kramer selected a warmer palette of porcelain and mosaic tile from Cancos Tile & Stone, complemented by neutral-toned cultured stone from Boral Stone in Atlanta, GA. “We selected these particular materials because they encompassed our design intent, translated the vision of the client, met hotel brand standards, were within the client’s budget and have sustainable attributes,” said Kramer.
Creating a natural design
When searching for materials that would best suit the 55,000-square-foot hotel, Kramer drew inspiration from the very grounds the building sits on. “Our design concept reflects many nature-inspired materials indigenous to Vermont,” she explained. “Flooring consists of wood-look parquet tile and carpet inspired by the warm color palette of the area’s stunning fall foliage. Furnishings were selected to be interesting focal points, such as the feature communal farm table made by local artisans from reclaimed pine and surrounded by solid birch stools with warm, weathered black stain and iron stretchers. A polished nickel ring chandelier with Edison-style vintage antique light bulbs complements the rustic farm table with its minimalist style and metallic composition.
“The contextually inspired barn-style doors at the entrance to the breakfast buffet bring a rustic feel to the contemporary look of the solid stone counters of the buffet,” Kramer went on to say. “[Also], the locale inspired guest rooms feature an accent wall with a stunning paneled effect. As they retreat to the signature suites, guests enjoy a soothing color palette of pale gray, graphite and warm browns with accents of celadon and wheat.”
Approximately 3,000 square feet of tile was used for all flooring facets of the hotel. Throughout the lobby, 6- x 30- x 7/16-inch-thick porcelain tiles from the Albero 6 collection in “Fresh” were utilized, which emulate the look of natural wooden planks. Employed in a matte finish, these tiles incorporate distinct knots and subtle veining, alike that of a newer wood.
The same tiles were utilized for the floor in the hotel’s designated breakfast room, but in a different format. The slightly larger tiles, measuring 24 x 24 x 7/16 inches, were laid on the floor, which embrace a more decorative wood design.
“We used the plank tiles in different directions, as a way to frame and designate spaces within the open plan of the lobby, breakfast area, corridors and elevator lobby on the first floor,” explained Kramer. “The rustic detailing and deep texture of the Albero 6 tiles in both plank and parquet shapes were a perfect solution for the lobby to create a snow lodge feel and also withstand the snow and salt tracked in during the ski season in Vermont.”
The wooden theme carries into the indoor pool area, where porcelain tiles from Cancos Tile & Stone were also implemented. The 6- x 24- x 3/8-inch-thick tiles from the Albero 3 collection in “Ash” — a lighter, less-aged wood-look with subtle, dark veining — were used to clad some walls in a horizontal pattern. The same-sized tiles from Cancos’ Elements Deluxe porcelain collection in “Ocean Storm,” with a honed finish, were employed as additional accents near the feature walls in the pool area; these tiles were also installed in a horizontal pattern.
On the floors throughout the indoor pool area and the accompanying restrooms, 13- x 13- x 3/8-inch-thick porcelain tiles from Cancos’ Rok collection in “Calcare” were selected. Embracing a completely different look inspired by a traditional limestone, hence the name, these tiles create a more relaxing and serene environment. Altogether, about 1,800 square feet of tile was used for the various pool applications.
“The client sought to have a spa-like room for the indoor pool, so we used various textures and colors of stone veneer and wood- and slate-look porcelain tile on the walls and floors,” said Kramer.
Nearby the pool and gym, in the vicinity of the lobby, is the “Connect and Print” center, where smaller, square-shaped marble mosaic tiles were utilized to complement the neutral-colored porcelain tiles on the surrounding walls and floors. The 1- x 1- x 3/8-inch-thick tiles from the Golden Sand series in “Beige” provide a subtle color variation.
Accentuating natural elements
To create a natural, yet stark contrast to the wood-inspired tiles on the floors, pieces of Ledgestone were staggered on various walls throughout the hotel’s main spaces. Pro-Fit® Alpine Ledgestone cultured stone, which provides a rustic outdoor look, was used in “Echo Ridge,” a neutral gray color with some brown and slate tones. Around 800 square feet of cultured stone was used in the lobby and indoor pool area, supplied by Boral Stone Products LLC in Atlanta, GA.
The new hub for the Marriott brand took about a year and a half to complete and has received various accolades for its sustainable design and modern features, including the “Sustainable Commercial Design” award at this year’s edition of the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards. “We are proud to say that the unique design features of the new Fairfield Inn and Suites truly reflect its historic and visually appealing location, taking the brand to a higher-end level with this new property,” said Kramer.
Fairfield Inn & Suites
Designer: LHK design, New York, NY
Tile Supplier: Cancos Tile & Stone, Farmingdale, NY
Cultured Stone Supplier: Boral Stone Products LLC, Atlanta, GA
Installer: Tri State Tile, Burlington, VT
Installation Products: Mapei, Deerfield Beach, FL (grout)