Out-of-the-Ordinary Patterns

Just when it seems like the ethnic design trend has run its course, these out-of-the-ordinary patterns demonstrate their staying power. In fact, designers say ikat, susani, and batik-inspired patterns are so enduring, they’ve become staples in American design, just like traditional and modern.


The Big Reveal: The Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge 

A favorite St. Louis gathering spot for afternoon tea, cocktails and light fare, the Lobby Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton has emerged from a $1-million renovation, following the December 2012 purchase of the Clayton property by Bruce Karsh (Ladue H.S. 1974) and his company, Clayton St. Louis Property. One of the goals of the renovation was to infuse the lobby’s traditional elegance with the energy and social air of a modern club. Guests entering The Ritz are still welcomed by the hotel’s trademark features---mahogany millwork, marble floors, and grand chandeliers---but today they also encounter what designers are calling a 'Rhythm and Martinis' theme.

A key aspect of the renovation was the installation of a series of new artworks referencing the Rhythm and Martinis theme. The renovation also included gold-leaf embellishments to the lobby’s coved ceiling, a luxe, lacquered wall behind the mahogany bar, as well as brass accents that frame the bar’s illuminated vellum front. Elsewhere in the lobby, new Art Deco-inspired etched-glass partitions have been introduced between the imposing mahogany columns, adding visual interest to the setting, as well as a sense of privacy. As for the new seating in the Lobby Lounge, guests now perch on compact tufted leather settees and barrel-back lounge chairs in shades of rich russet red and silvery taupe, which sit atop a bold blue and gold geometric-patterned carpet.

BAMO, an award-winning, international interior design firm, oversaw the Lobby Lounge renovation, which is the beginning phase of a $3-million renovation that also will include the ballroom and the restaurant.


Landmarks Association Exhibit and Lecture Series:

Lost Neighborhoods of St. Louis Gilded Age

A new exhibit and lecture series, Lucas Place: Lost Neighborhood of St. Louis’ Gilded Age, launched this month at Architecture St. Louis, the office of Landmarks Association at 911 Washington Avenue. Open daily through July from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the exhibit explores the history, people and buildings associated with St. Louis’ premier residential neighborhood of the mid-19th century. Located between 13th and 16th streets, along what is now Locust Street, Lucas Place was once populated by some of the St. Louis’ most renowned families. Its success was short-lived, however, as rapid commercial and industrial development surrounded the street and residents chose to relocate from the city's commercial core. Today, the Campbell House Museum, which is co-sponsoring the exhibit and lecture series, is all that remains of this once-elegant and fascinating neighborhood.

The accompanying lecture series held at the Kranzberg Arts Center covers a variety topics presented by speakers with expertise in specific areas of city history:

Thursday, April 18, 6:30 p.m.

Truman State University history professor Huping Ling will discuss the 19th and 20th-century Chinese enclave that once thrived in downtown St. Louis.

Thursday, April 25, noon

Michael Allen, an architectural historian and director of the Preservation Research Office, will discuss the DeSoto-Carr Neighborhood and its successor, the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Complex.

Thursday, May 2, noon

Campbell House Museum director Andy Hahn and historian Tom Gronski will discuss the buildings and residents of Lucas Place. 

Thursday, May 9, noon

Thomas Danisi, a local historian and author of the critically acclaimed book, Discovering Meriwether Lewis, will discuss his new research into the early settlement of the St. Louis Common Fields.


Jay Eiler Joins Castle Design

Castle Design is in an expansion phase. The 10-year-old, Clayton-based interior design firm has added Jay Eiler to the staff. Eiler comes to Castle Design after seven years at the Lawrence Group. He joins Lori Olsen-McElvain and owner Emily Castle.

“Jay has an outstanding reputation and a terrific eye," Castle says. "Hiring him made a lot of sense on many levels. It was a great decision, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Eiler is a degreed designer, whose portfolio features several high-profile hospitality projects, notably the large-scale renovation of The Restaurant at The Cheshire, the Budweiser Kiel Club, and Peabody Opera House, in addition to his work for numerous residential clients. Stylistically, Castle says he is an excellent fit with the firm. “While Jay is just as committed to working with clients to develop their own personal style as I am, he leans toward a sophisticated modern aesthetic. This means he takes on clients who have more modern sensibilities in addition to working in other design facets, such as traditional and transitional." 

In addition to a 300-seat restaurant set to open in Kirkwood this year, Castle Design is putting the finishing touches on a renovation project in Clayton that incorporates a rustic lower-level build out featuring locally grown natural timber door headers and ceiling beams, a massive stone fireplace, and stairway made out of branches that culminate in a post that appears to be growing out of the floor. “It’s a showstopper,” says Castle, who has a degree in architecture as well as interior design. “On the other end of the spectrum, we’re working room by room to renovate and furnishing the original home of T.S. Elliot, a beautiful statement home in the Central West End.”


A Light Above Opens in Rock Hill

Are you a little too attached to your old lamps and chandeliers---you know, the ones with the dangerously frayed wires? Well, you need to know about A Light Above, which has relocated from Cherokee Street to Manchester Road in Rock Hill. A Light Above specializes in vintage and antique lighting restoration, including rewiring services for chandeliers, lamps and sconces. Owner John Ottwell also can help you find that special light from Europe or anywhere else thanks to extensive contacts in the antique lighting business.


Swarovski Sparkles at Metro Lighting

If you’re looking for something small, glittery and downright breathtaking in the way of powder-room lighting, look no further. We recently spotted some great choices at Metro Lighting. Among our favorites are Swarovski’s mini pendant lights that pack a great punch and are guaranteed to dazzle. Swarovski also recently introduced an LED Crystal Candle, which now lights the magnificent chandeliers of the Palais de Versailles with effects that simulate the flickering of hundreds of candles and evoke a bygone eras.


Jon Paul Vintage Chandelier is Over the Top

No mention of vintage lighting or crystal would be complete without including Jon Paul Designs and Collectibles, a small shop in Richmond Heights. Owner Jon Paul scours the city in search of antique and vintage pieces and prides himself on bringing items of great quality and condition to his shop. Among his most recent interesting finds were two, two-tier Czechoslovakia crystal chandeliers dating back to the late 1800s, salvaged from a Central West End manse before languishing in a warehouse. Jon Paul completely disassembled the chandeliers, rewired them, cleaned each piece of crystal (he estimates there are somewhere between 150 and 200 pieces on each) and painstakingly reattached each small crystal component. One of the chandeliers currently has pride of place in the shop and retails for $7,900.

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