There's something about hotel decor. It's bigger than life. It's bold. It's something you'd never have in your house. The Lorien Hotel in Alexandria, VA, is a boutique (Klimpton) hotel. I've stayed here before and am always fascinated by the "book room." It's an area off the lobby where they provide complimentary coffee in the morning and wine in the evening, both of which I've enjoyed. It's a calming room with just enough interest to offset the sterile personality.
One wall, about 15 feet long, floor to ceiling, is solid bookshelves with every single book wrapped in a white-enamel paper book jacket. White and off-white plaster decorations serve as bookends and break up the monotony of the books. Shelves are painted a soft tan. I am actually quite taken with this wall, whereas some people come in and are completely put off and angered by it. To me, the entire wall is a piece of art. The people angered say things like "How could they cover up the titles of those books?" "Why would anyone do that?" "Who does these things?"
The rug in the room has a soft fudge border with a grey-blue interior. A sofa, about the color of the border, faces the book shelves and has four oversized end pillows. Rather than the usual 14" sized pillows, these are 24" square. Two are soft blue; two are cream. Other furniture includes gray leather cubes, matching the interior of the rug. In front of the book shelves is a black lacquer drop-leaf table with an over-sized white porcelain rose and a black iron bird sculpture. The table lamp has a clear glass base and a white shade.
The coffee table in front of the sofa is an 8 ft. long leather ottoman. On top of it is a wooden tray that covers the majority of the tufted leather. In the tray is a tall, white square vase with fresh white hydrangeas, a white lacquer box and a gi-normous hand that I absolutely love!
Two tan wing backs and two dark blue club chairs complete the setting.
But there's one more thing. Above the sofa is mirror, 8 ft. long, 4 ft. tall. It's as if the designer wanted to be sure that you could see (and enjoy) the white book art anywhere you sat. With the placement of that mirror, you never lose sight of the books. And that's why I think it's art.