Laurie Gorelick Interiors


Put Me Away!

I've been on vacation. Part staycation, part vacation, my week away from work and blogging included spending family time with my mom and sister (in addition to my husband and kids). My mom is considering moving into an independent living situation, and we spent my staycation visiting some local facilities. All I can say is . . . sign me up! 

This is a design blog, so I won't rattle on about the breadth of activities and amenities that the places I saw offered. But I can't help but comment on their design. Responding to residential and hospitality design criteria, while at the same time addressing the health care and social needs of seniors, these places make the idea of being put away in a "home" downright welcome.

Creating an atmosphere that feels like home has always been the guiding design principal for senior living environments. I've visited some where designers executed this strategy by utilizing safe, but outmoded color palettes of anything with forest green (think burgundy with forest green or salmon and forest green). Throw in ruffled curtains, floral wallpaper borders and buffalo checked plaids and there you have it. In contrast, what I saw were meticulously executed architectural styles woven seamlessly into communal spaces. More like a luxury hotel than anything else.

Waterstone at Wellesley, with architecture by Elkus Manfredi and interior design services from Wellesley Design Consultants, could easily win awards. Its style is Arts and Crafts, and it is executed flawlessly. Stone-faced fireplaces anchor communal gathering spots. Warm woods with Arts and Crafts motifs line hallways and public spaces. Outdoor vistas are rampant and ample daylight floods the interiors. 

To the left is the main lobby. The room is so perfectly balanced. Even the panelling behind the flat screen on the left complements the fireplace on the right. Notice the way the ceiling grid sets up the reception desk as the focal point and how the screen behind the desk echoes the grid.


To the right is a view of a communal gathering space where afternoon tea is served. The fireplace anchors the space, creating a warm, comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Texture abounds, but the unexpected pops of fuchsia from the paintings and blue from the tile surround of the fireplace keep the palette fresh and unpredictable.



Here is the main dining room. The ceiling grid suggests the zoning of circulation space to the left versus the main dining space to the right. I love the color and pattern of the carpet: it echoes the stone on the fireplace wall, but the orange border militates the coolness of the gray. More orange--in the draperies and lamp shades--create warmth.



How great is this space! It's the pub for Happy Hour but also has wine cages where residents can store their wine.








At another site, Orchard Cove in Canton, MA, I couldn't help but compare the design of this hospitality table, adjacent to a casual dining cafe (one of three restaurant-quality dining spaces for residents) to design treatments for residential interiors. The illuminated tray ceiling lined with gold metallic wall covering is straight out of a show house. The reclaimed wood table, high-backed dining chairs and dual chandeliers make this space feel like a dining room in a wine-country or Western mountain retreat. I almost want to live there now.