5 Ways to Get Hotel Valley Ho’s Midcentury Vibe

5 Ways to Get Hotel Valley Ho’s Midcentury Vibe

Photo by Aislyn Greene

It’s hard to step into the lobby of Hotel Valley Ho and not immediately want to a) live there forever (some do—really!) or b) figure how to introduce a little of the hotel’s midcentury style into your own home. Enter interior designer Judith Testani of Testani Design Troupe, who’s giving the hotel a little refresh this January. Here, her tips on getting that clean, midcentury look.

So shop and decorate away. Or, you know, just stay there.

1. Use Colors Judiciously
“You can go in one of two directions. And, of course, you want to start with whatever your favorite palette is. The current lobby (pictured above) has a lot of color going on. Which is fine—those seafoam greens, marigolds, and teals are the colors many people associate with midcentury design. The key thing is to find a way to tie everything together—say, a pattern that picks up those colors.

The other direction—the one we’re pursuing for the redesign—is to somewhat neutralize those colors, to clean it up a bit. The new lobby will be more neutral (beige, charcoal, grey) with a pop of color, like lime green.”

2. Warm Up Those Lines
“The midcentury look is all clean lines, stone, concrete—very minimalist and architectural. To contrast that, bring in a warm wood, like walnut, to soften the look. That Danish midcentury furniture lends a lot of warmth. Or add a shag area rug. It softens that ‘no fluff’ look that can be part of midcentury decor.”

3. Add Visual Interest
“Another way to soften the look, and to draw the eye, is to bring in a bold pattern. We’re using a large-scale striped pattern—this Paul Smith Maharam fabric—to reupholster the banquet in the lounge. To bring that home, you could reupholster a couch that has a long, clean line with a big striped fabric, or add a pair of chairs with bold stripes. And keep in mind that the midcentury look is all about horizontal banding (not a lot of towering furniture or accessories—think about the sprawl of ranch-style houses). You want to shoot for a look and feel that’s low and long.”

4. But Don’t Go Too Crazy with Accessories
“Pick a few fun, playful pieces to add visual interest without overwhelming the eye. Design Within Reach sells great classic accessories, as does Modernica. On a small scale, Jonathan Adler has so many fun sculptural items that are more modern and not so straight out of 1960. I love their Mr. and Mrs. Reversible Vase and, occasionally, those colorful throw pillows.”

5. Invest in One Iconic Piece
“Hotel Valley Ho has that fantastic fireplace and you can mimic the look with one of those great midcentury floating fireplaces. As for furniture, keep your eye out for furniture auctions (they’ll usually tell you what era pieces are from). I’ve found things in thrift stores, though it’s a little harder now because people are more aware of midcentury modern. If you find an original, however, it’s well worth the investment. And, of course, if you love it, that’s all that matters.”

Want more? Learn about Hotel Valley Ho Here

Aislyn Greene is the associate director of podacsts at Afar, where she produces the Unpacked by Afar podcast and hosts Afar’s Travel Tales podcast. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito.
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