Tips from an expert on how to make your house guests feel at home
photograph by barbara kraft
Who are your greatest design influences? First, I would have to say Steve Wynn. He is a savvy student of architecture who considers design an important tool for a hotelier. Then, Palladio for his lessons in balance, proportion and symmetry. The great architect Mansart for lessons in extravagance with restraint. Twentieth-century influences include Jean Michel Frank and Andres Arbus.
How involved is Steve Wynn in the design process? Do you find that you are of a like mind regarding design? Steve is extremely involved. He sees the main plan and is involved every step of the way, from tassels to knives, forks and spoons. We build models of every guest room and have a process of redefined design using these full-scale models. We always end up as a like mind when it comes to design. He edits me, and I bring editing conversation to his ideas when appropriate.
What are some lessons from the Wynn guest rooms that homeowners can apply to their own guest rooms? Simplicity is the key. Hotel guest rooms have just enough impact, drama, romance and appeal to be comfortable. Add the guest, and the room is complete. You should never have too many items on a bedside table. Think like a guest. You always need space for a reading lamp, alarm clock, book and glasses.
What are the three most important elements of a welcoming guest room? 1. Comfort and convenience: a place to unpack and then put things. 2. Drama: A well-considered room creates an experience. 3. Ambiance: hoteliers use carpet, drapery, etc., but really we use romance, drama, mystery and humor to
create a memorable impression.
What items should every guest room have? Task-oriented glare-free lighting, a great bed, a considerate bath, lots of drawer and closet space with no wire hangers, bottled water and a glass.
How do you make a room feel comfortable and inviting? Nothing is more inviting than crisp white linens.
What are the best colors for a guest room? Warm and light colors, such as cream for walls and carpeting. Colors that flatter reflection. Not blue or green walls; they cast a reflection of that shade on the guest.
What is the most frequent error made in guest-room décor? Lighting that is too harsh or too dim. You should have shaded light sources. And no floral scented candles. Absence of smell is best. At Wynn, we have a citrus scent to our amenities. Housekeeping makes an effort to remove all distinct odors from the rooms.
What one addition to a room can make a big difference? We added custom-designed radio frequency controlled bedside controls for lights, draperies, temperature and more.
What would you consider the perfect host/hostess gift? Artisanal sea salts. There’s a Jewish tradition of bringing a loaf of bread, salt and a broom to a new home as a housewarming gift.