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HI Connect Spotlight - Ann Borrelli Smith with DPOV Interiors

Today we speak with Ann Borrelli Smith with DPOV Interiors as part of our series focusing on the hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros that are part of HI Connect Design 2013.

Monday, September 30, 2013
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HI Connect Design
HI Connect Design
Experience a Design Revolution

We’re getting ready for our BIG event HI Connect Design coming this April 10-12, 2013 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN and it promises to be the most exciting event ever to hit the hospitality industry.

We’ve got dozens of built out fully constructed out vignettes created by the vision of leading hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros. And those in attendance will get to step into their master creations, get a tour and see products in the content in which they belong; in a real hotel environment!

HI Connect Design offers attendees an incredible opportunity to view, first hand, original concepts designed by industry designers and purchasing companies in collaboration with suppliers shown in context within a real environment of a guest room, bathroom, and public spaces such as Bar/Lounge, Spa/Fitness to name a few. This is a truly the most collaborative effort ever at any hospitality event.

As part of our countdown to HI Connect 2013 we’re interviewing the people that are bringing their creative vision to life. Read the story below, or for a more fully in-depth interview listen to their story below.



Glenn Haussman: When you’re tasked to create a bathroom, you’re working with an older infrastructure in a lot of times, and to me that generally translates to little bit smaller than today’s guests would like. So what are some of the challenges that you have to go through to create a good, well-lit you know appreciable space when you’re working with something that’s outdated?

Ann Borrelli Smith: Actually yes, I did just a project in New Orleans. It was about seven buildings interconnected. It was interesting. Yeah, it was a really interesting project, so we had challenges like that. And the rooms – some rooms were small, some rooms were large. Every single unit was completely different in size and scale but we came together with a uniform design, but it ended up being the layers of the finish level of what helped elevate even though they didn’t have the space. We did take out the tubs in that particular resort and created a larger shower, walk-in shower. So things like that helps with elevating even though you have such a small parameter of space.

Glenn Haussman: Yeah, I agree with you. I want to talk about the shower for a second, then let’s go onto some of the other fixtures as well, because I do see a trend of bathrooms becoming more spa-like in general, right. But when it comes to replacing the bath with the shower, who makes that decision? Do you consult with the owners of the property, because I – in a lot of ways it’s a great idea, but then every once in a while I think about you know bathing those three-year-olds at a resort; they like to have a bath.

Ann Borrelli Smith: True.

Glenn Haussman: So how do you meet that balance?

Ann Borrelli Smith: It depends on that location in that resort and on who they feel like the clientele is, and that’s what guided them, the decision on that, ‘cause it was a whirlpool tub with the jets and you know maintenance for them.

Glenn Haussman: Yeah, I would say – and you know what I like? I like when I go to some of the newer hotels that have both the shower and the whirlpool jet tub, and I always think I’m gonna take one but I never actually get into that bath.

Ann Borrelli Smith: Really? ‘Cause I was thinking about keeping that element in my design, because I don’t think it’s going away completely, the bathtub. Actually just seeing the design of bathtubs out there or just doing my research it’s amazing actually with chromatherapy and just the level of finish and the materials that it’s made from from concrete to a hammered bronze tub. So I don’t think it’s gonna go away. I think it’s gonna be very particular to who the owner is and what they want to have, or even if it’s just space if they feel that a shower, walk-in shower, is something more that they want for their guest. You know they’re gonna have to make that decision.

Glenn Haussman: Right. I would say – you know tell me if I’m wrong; I think you’re the expert on this. But I think that it’s more likely to get rid of bathtubs in a select service hotel experience that’s geared more towards business travelers than you’re talking about a resort property that has families coming to it, right?

Ann Borrelli Smith: I can see that, yeah, that they would make that decision based on that, and more luxury I think will always keep it. But I can see yeah the difference between a business-oriented, someone coming in for a couple nights and getting out and they’re not even spending their time at the resort.

Glenn Haussman: I’ll tell you one of the most unusual bathrooms that I’ve seen is at Aria in Las Vegas, the MGM City Center property. What they’ve done is they’ve created like a little room that contains the bathtub, which is immediately next to the shower all within a glass-enclosed space. I thought that was a pretty interesting way of doing something.

Ann Borrelli Smith: Yes, I have seen that as well. And actually that also reminds me of my trip to Italy years ago that it was kind of open like that, and they had the shower open to the whole bathroom actually, which kind of made me a little nervous ‘cause it was near the outlet, you know if I’m drying my hair. [Laughter]

Glenn Haussman: Right.

Ann Borrelli Smith: You got to have it in the right place.

Glenn Haussman: Yeah you definitely have to have it in the right place, and that’s one of the challenges I would say that you have to have going in is to make sure that everything is oriented properly and creates a fun flow that makes the guest feel calmer. So one of the things that I found interesting is how quickly this spa bathroom trend is really taking over. I don’t think in any hotel that’s been renovated in the last two or three years that I’ve come across I’ve seen a sink that’s down. They’re usually the raised sinks now.

Ann Borrelli Smith: The vessels, yes.

Glenn Haussman: Yeah vessels, right.

Ann Borrelli Smith: I mean for materials they are opening up I mean from wood, steel, to concrete to your porcelain, hand-painted glass. I mean that’s huge and I think that will stay.

Glenn Haussman: All right, so then that gets me all excited about the fact that wow this must be unleashing you creatively because there’s so many more new elements now that you have to play with when creating these spaces.

Ann Borrelli Smith: The sky’s the limit now, and it’s just a matter of bringing that in. And you know going through my research of this project, you know I’ve had to think about design and the layering of it and which elements to choose, ‘cause I don’t want to overwhelm people when they see the design. I want to make it special and be specific on the pieces that I select. It’s also gonna be used with color and what’s on trend with the color forecast with Pantone coming up.

Glenn Haussman: All right so Ann you’re talking about color, which I think is great, and I’ve never really talked to anybody about color so to speak before. So when you’re thinking about color and you’re talking about new colors that come out, how do you go about selecting a color that’s fun, exciting, and vibrant yet at the same time has lasting power?

Ann Borrelli Smith: You don’t use as much I think. You use it in the right spot. Maybe it’s on the one piece that could you know if they wanted to renovate down the road they could paint it or something. Try not to use it I think on a lot of major focal point pieces that is a lot of investment, but I think you back off of how much of it you use. You have to have some contrast of some neutrals and certain areas splashes of color.

Glenn Haussman: So I would say let’s stick with the cliché a little bit goes a long way when it comes to picking color.

Ann Borrelli Smith: It makes it memorable, yes. Like the memory of that one piece that just really stood out against that white or gray background. I mean yes exactly.

Glenn Haussman: That’s pretty cool. So and you know one of the other things that I’m thinking about is you come in and you’ve got to find inspiration. How do you find inspiration in your daily life to be able to create exciting projects at hotels?

Ann Borrelli Smith: Gosh, there’s a lot of ways I find inspiration. I mean I get probably like 20 magazines, digital print still. I still like to tear up my magazines and ideas and inspirations I get a real high. But it’s also like when I travel. Like I just went to Dallas for Thanksgiving and went to an art installation, Chihuly’s art installation in Dallas.

Glenn Haussman: Where did you do that?

Ann Borrelli Smith: In Dallas Arboretum, beautiful yeah. And I took a picture and actually I tweeted it and he favored – well his studio favored it.

Glenn Haussman: Right. [Laughter]

Ann Borrelli Smith: Yeah. So now they’re following me, so.

Glenn Haussman: Yay.

Ann Borrelli Smith: [Laughter] But it’s been fun. Just always make sure that I pay attention to things like that.


If you are interested in participating in this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect Design, coming this April 10-12, 2013, please contact us immediately at (631) 424-7755 x150. You may also go to our website for more information and to see the photo gallery of HI Connect Design 2012, please visit us at HIConnectDesign.com.



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