The Roaring Twenties: During an era of newfound prosperity, Prohibition, an emerging feminist movement, and the popularity of jazz music created an indelible era in New York. Flappers and socialites flocked to Harlem’s clubs and filled the city’s speakeasies.
The time period’s design sensibilities were channeled by Stonehill & Taylor, the local interior design and architecture firm charged with the renovation of a historic property on Manhattan’s Upper West Side into the boutique-style NYLO New York City hotel.
“I like to inform our design ideas at the earliest stages by location-by the neighborhood, by the building itself,” says Michael Suomi, principal and vice president of interior design at Stonehill & Taylor. “That neighborhood flowered during the Jazz Age, so we used what was going on at the time.”
Suomi and his team were challenged by the building’s small, 1,500-square-foot original lobby space, which they expanded to 2,940 square feet of loosely divided areas spread over two floors.
Bistro stools line the zinc counter of the first floor’s speakeasy-inspired LOCL Bar, and on the second, the elegant Piano Lounge’s heavy, carved wood paneling continues into the Library, where tall bookcases flank an original fireplace set in exposed brick. Tufted, Chesterfield sofas and enveloping club chairs are lit by era-inspired lamps. “We developed a materials palette that is evocative of that era of exuberance and energy, but at the same time a little bit of decadence,” Suomi says.
A red lacquer reception desk recalls the chests of drawers used by many pharmacies and the reception area is backed by mirrors and shelves filled with items redolent of the neighborhood’s historic apothecaries.
The NYLO brand is known for its industrial aesthetic, which Suomi married with historical design elements. “The concrete, the brick, the steel are hard and, for the most part, cold finishes,” he says. To soften, designers tinged the concrete a warmer gray and used patinaed, rather than gunmetal, steel for finishes. “The rest of the color palette is really energizing, exciting colors,” Suomi adds. “We used bright red as an accent, and then touches of yellow and blue in the space.” Hand-knotted area rugs warm the reception and library areas.
Stonehill & Taylor also helped to design the hotel’s 285 guestrooms and 33 suites. While there are elements the brand uses throughout its properties, like its light-wood-colored sleigh beds and signature lamps, “Everything else we had to do custom,” Suomi says, including desks with industrial locker-inspired storage drawers and residential-style wing-backed chairs.