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This week I took a last-minute trip to Washington DC to participate in a forum organized by the Department of Labor and booked a room at the W Hotel located hardly a block from the White House. Having traveled extensively in the last five years since I became a professional blogger, I’ve seen every sort of hotel room that exists, and once came face to face with a discarded condom wrapper underneath my pillow. Didn’t know it was physically possible, but I jumped like a cat and ended up hanging from the ceiling by my fingernails.

Last year when I was thirty-weeks pregnant I embarked on a three-week book tour visiting nine different cities and sleeping in nine different hotel rooms. And those rooms were all perfectly fine, some very nice and at times lovely. But you know when you’re watching a makeover show and a client sees her redecorated bedroom for the first time? And without fail she will say, “I feel like I’m in a boutique hotel room!”

She did not stay in the hotel rooms I stayed in.

Of course, she’s probably not thirty-weeks pregnant, either. That can affect your mood.

Until this week. Until I walked into this room, saw the decor and fell madly, deeply in love. It was everything I imagined my dream home would look like. From the eclectic mix of furniture in the sitting area (I love how they covered such a traditional, hard-edged chair in white leather and paired it with a soft suede, semi-circle couch):


To the jagged edges of the moldings at the ceiling, and the clean, symmetrical lines of the dresser:


To the knock-your-socks-off modern touches of the bathroom:


To the retro feel of the desk in the corner:


And then the bed itself. The padded headboard against a giant wall of elaborate metallic wallpaper:


I did not want to leave, and no they did not pay me to say any of this or comp my room. I was genuinely blown away, and will save these pictures for the next time I get an itch to move a few things around in my home. If this is the kind of boutique hotel rooms people are talking about, then I finally understand!

(Of course, maybe I need to get out more. Noted!)


Design Inspiration

117 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    Green pics aside, I was kind of puzzled by some of the adjectives Heather used. A wing chair is "traditionally hard-edged"? And why did she think leather was unusual? Maybe it is, but she seemed to imply that it somehow made the chair softer, though I would say the traditional crewel fabric is a much softer look than leather. And the sofa is curved but it's not a semi-circle (half circle).

    Maybe this will sound nit-picky to some, but when the point of a piece is to describe physical objects to the reader so that the reader can accurately picture the room herself, then the writing needs to be pretty precise. It would also help to identify the iconic pieces in the room, like the Eames Aluminum Group chair at the desk.

  2. Linda says:

    HGTV knew EXACTLY what they were doing hiring Mrs. Armstrong. They knew she'd bring a number of new readers to this blog, who might stick around and read some posts by trained, qualified expert designers.

    I have actually purchased books by Mrs. Armstrong. I think she has a talent for writing. But OMG Y'ALL she simply is not qualified to write on a serious design blog.

    Therefore, by definition, this is not a design blog that I care to read any more. Off to design blogs written by people and companies that hire people who put in the years of study and effort to master their craft.

  3. junebug says:

    But, thanks for taking the time to make a comment. Also, get off of the couch and get a life, mother. 50 is the new 40, try some yoga.

  4. brookland says:

    Ah a lovely art vs. commerce example here. These are lovely artistic photos — nice shapes and textures and contrast and cropping and perspectives. But the cool colors do indeed give it a horror movie feel. I love the blue couch in the top set either way.

  5. Julie says:

    That chair looks like something from Beetlejuice

  6. Disgruntled Designer says:

    I used t love HGTV. As a graphic designer I am always on the look out for up and coming people that know their stuff. Heather is nothing more than a blogger that has somehow amassed a ton of rabid fans (WHY??? She has no real writing skills and her output is minimal compared to other 'bloggers') and does not belong on a design site. Just because she tiled her own bathroom (and very poorly) and hangs up copious amounts of personal photos on her own walls does not mean she is a designer.
    Here's one fan that won't be back.

  7. Alice says:

    you know, HGTV has PLENTY of professional design writers on their site. Sometimes it's nice to read about design from a non-professional designer point of view (and you all are being catty, by the way. Why don't you start your own design blog if you think you're so qualified).

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