If you’ve ever stood in New York City’s Central Park, you have undoubtedly seen the JW Marriott Essex House. Impossible to miss because of the six-story sign atop the building that bears the hotel’s name in towering red type, the structure has become an icon of the city’s skyline. At 44 stories high, the Art Deco building was completed in 1931, just shy of the 1929 stock market crash and the same year that the Empire State Building opened its doors. The landmarked building has cycled through many owners during its residency at the southern tip of Central Park and has seen its fair share of re-brands and redesigns as a result. Most recently, it came under the management of luxury hotelier J.W. Marriott.
This year, in an effort to modernize a cluster of park-facing suites, the hotel’s team turned to David Borden, home stylist at west elm Broadway, to reinterpret the spaces with a new look. “I had done model apartments and homes before,” Borden notes, “but this was my first hotel, which presented its own set of limitations and requirements. West Elm’s product line and overall aesthetic made it very easy to come up with a cohesive and balanced design. I wanted to modernize the suite with simple, clean lines while also nodding to the building’s history with touches of Art Deco elements.” The hotel’s luxury status was reflected in rich materials like brass, marble, leather, and linen. Meanwhile, natural touches like branches and topiaries were implemented to echo Frederick Law Olmsted’s sprawling park, seen just outside the windows. “The hotel was renovated only about 10 years ago with lots of neutral brown tones,” Borden continues. “I still kept things neutral but bringing in bits of mint, oregano, and silver really helped to cool down the warmth.”
“In the end,” he says, “I think it turned out great—comfortable and inviting but still luxurious and fresh.” Take a peek at the first of many suites David is helping to transform below!
Find out how you can work with one of west elm’s FREE home stylists here!