Bed and Breakfast Inns
with Modern Appeal
A growing number of bed and breakfast inns in California are swapping the lace doilies and patchwork quilts for a modern aesthetic to attract younger and more urban travelers. "They want the warmth of a bed and breakfast inn but with a contemporary style," said Guy Pacurar, owner of the Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino, which primarily draws guests from the San Francisco Bay Area. Some inns, like Brewery Gulch Inn and Aurora Hotel & Spa, were designed and built specifically to provide travelers with a modern bed and breakfast experience favoring clean lines, uncluttered design and refined color palettes. Others, like the 100-year-old Mount View Hotel & Spa, have undergone extensive renovations in the last few years to blend period architectural qualities with modern interior design.
Designed by architect Caroline Lapere and built in 2001, the Brewery Gulch Inn has a contemporary Art and Crafts style that honors the region’s rich logging history with dramatic use of eco-salvaged redwood timber. The timber for the inn was pulled from the muddy bottom of Mendocino’s Big River and milled on-site of what had previously been a pioneer homestead. The three-story great room is anchored by an enormous, four-sided glass and steel fireplace that was made by a local shipbuilder. Light floods the room through skylights and a bank of 13-foot high, redwood-trimmed windows with spectacular ocean views. Rich leather chairs and modern, earth-toned furnishings create a warm, soothing ambiance. Pacurar bought the inn in 2007 after an extensive search of 29 inns across the country. He held high expectations for quality and contemporary design, and when he walked through the doors of the Brewery Gulch Inn, he said he felt immediately at home.
The sleek and modern Aurora Hotel & Spa opened in 2008 as Catalina Island’s newest boutique hotel. With the custom furniture and furnishings designed by Lisa Bruchmann of b designed, the ocean view hotel has a metropolitan vibe. Draperies and bedding feature circle and wave patterns evocative of the ocean in hues of teal and chocolate brown. Marine life photography from underwater photographers Bill Boyce and Bruce Hall adorn the walls. Custom-built bed platforms, dressers, and chairs feature a sleek, minimalist design. Aurora’s exterior reflects the modern interior with darkly stained apitong wood, a unique stucco finish and tempered glass panels lining the balconies. "Modern design allowed us to better utilize space, creating an oasis of style," said partner Kathleen Gosselin. "Aurora's modern look also makes it unique in Avalon."
In downtown Calistoga, the Mount View Hotel & Spa celebrates its 100th year this year, but apart from the period moldings and arched doorways, the inn has a decidedly eclectic, modern flair. When the inn’s proprietor, Michael Woods, married an artist from New York in 2007, his bride brought the city and her aesthetic with her. “It could be hipper,” Stephanie Woods recalled thinking when she first saw the inn. Room by room, they began remodeling, replacing wicker furniture and lace doilies with a combination of art deco and mid-century furnishings. She painted the walls in deep hues of red and hung bold, black-and-white wallpaper prints. She hand selected lamps, rugs, throw pillows, mirrors, and artwork for the walls, including three works from Gustav Klimt. The Woods completed the remodel in 2009. The resulting guest rooms and common spaces shimmer with glamour and have been a smash hit with guests.
South of Palm Springs, Las Fuentes Inn and Gardens is a contemporary style, single-suite bed and breakfast with modern Native American art that reflects the personal interests of innkeeper and retired history professor Don Karvelis. The suite showcases his collections of black pottery from the San Ildefonso and Santa Clara pueblos in New Mexico, Oaxacan pottery, Navajo baskets, a painted gourd by Robert Rivera and an original watercolor, “Sunset over Santa Fe” by Evelyne Boren. The comfortable furnishings are earth-toned with red and black accents. The suite also features vaulted ceilings, recessed lighting, a gas fireplace, Japanese spa with steam shower, and French doors that open to a private patio and spectacular desert garden.