Where creative interior design synergistically weaves the history of a space with the elegance of a restful respite - - to the delight of a paint freak.
When the host of the VRBO house double-booked our reservation for our trip to the “Garden Bloggers Fling” in Madison, Wisconsin, our only option was to stay in a hotel. Traveling with my dog, Missy, I looked forward to staying in a pet-friendly peaceful home. The stressful scramble to find new accommodations, turned out better than I could have imagined.
VRBO booked us in the Hotel Indigo at 901 E. Washington Street.
Pet friendly hotel in Madison
I feared this would be a stinky noisy college hotel, filled with party goers that would provoke unwanted barking. The entrance was tucked in the back with a well appointed patio sheltered from the noise of the busy street out front. Missy came bouncing in to meet her new friends whom greeted us with cheerful Midwest hospitality.
Hotel Indigo - Madison, Wisconsin
What? Wait, where am I?
This is wonderful!
There was a huge paint can on the backdrop of the reception desk. I wasn't sure if we were in the right place. Paint brushes, color swatches and memorabilia from the previous occupants lined the display shelves below creating a mini Mautz museum. Having worked in a paint store, I felt right at home!
Colors, texture, warmth and neon. The perfect balance of industrial style and paint culture kitsch.
I was delighted by the artwork, repurposed paint rollers, vintage paintbrushes, and a divider wall with glass containers of pigment.
The space paid homage to history with notable Wisconsin natives, like Georgia O’Keefe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thornton Wilder and Vel Philips, the first black woman to graduate from UW-Madison Law school in 1951, among many other firsts in government and social change.
Check out the excellent PBS documentary here. https://womeninwisconsin.org/profile/vel-phillips/
The rooms were equally as cheerful and well appointed with fluffy cotton robes and multiple shower heads. The century old walls absorbed what little noise there was and Missy was content while we were touring gardens all day. Of course, when we came home, she wanted to explore the entire hotel, taking me to nooks I might not have otherwise seen, with creative design surprises around every corner. We visited the public restroom, a retro lounge/ business center and unfortunately, being a dog, she couldn’t check out the Palettes Restaurant inside the hotel.
The lobby offered custom board games to keep guests entertained, a mid-century styled marketplace, plus the friendliest front desk staff, ever!
The Garden Bloggers Fling had been postponed for two years, due to Covid. The event host hotel (no dogs allowed) was further up the hill near the capital. The Hotel Indigo had complimentary transportation and I especially enjoyed being driven to and from our venue. Santa was our morning driver, he was a great guide and took us on different routes, pointing out landmarks and entertaining us with stories, including his own version of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer! Every evening, Evan picked us up from the venue, loading our plants and garden tools and listened to the plant crazy ladies highlights of the day.
By contrast, that hotel was a nice, yet comparably stuffy corporate hotel, lacking inspiration, color or creativity. The "themed" meeting rooms boasted names like the Assembly Room and Caucus Room, exactly the type of hotel I was hoping to avoid.
On the otherhand, our wonderful Hotel Indigo was a tasteful themed boutique hotel, under the IHG hotels & resorts umbrella. The imaginative interior design is attributed to Gary Brink Architecture & Design. GBA, being a local firm, took the history of the space and neighborhood to heart. The result of their passion; hospitality design at its finest, incorporating a unique brand and memorable experience into a hip place to call home when visiting Madison.
Being the paint freak and color geek that I am, I never wanted to leave!
Designing Brand into a Retail Space
As an interior designer who worked in television and advertising for the majority of my career, I am keenly aware of integrating brand into the entire customer experience. When designing the space for the Delectable Egg restaurant, I used subtle egg-shapes in the upholstery and curated whimsical egg art and fixtures creating a unique design that supported the brand and delighted customers.
In design, details matter.
Taking design to the next level, is about customization, adding an extra layer of thoughtfulness, connection or surprise. Kudos to GBA for an engaging and unforgettable experience. Well Done!
To read more about the Garden Bloggers Fling visit My Garden Zone
Sheri Kaz is a Southeastern Wisconsin Interior Designer and Color Consultant offering in-person and remote residential and commercial creative design services.
Color & Design
Transform Your Space. Creating inspirational spaces to work, live and play in.
Color Consulting and Interior Design for residential and real estate professionals.