Completely refurbished and reopened in June 2015, the Inn on the Square separates itself from traditional Lake District hotels, instead paying homage to the heritage of the area with a mood that is distinctly contemporary.The family-owned hotel of 34 bedrooms and award-winning steak house restaurant, offers four-star luxury with a laid-back atmosphere. This unique ambience is reflected in the carpet design that blends modern Scandinavian influences with cues from Lake District landscapes – set in a stunning Georgian period interior.
The distinctive style was the vision of husband and wife team, David and Kate Simmons, from Preston-based Frank Whittle Partnership:
“Located at the centre of the bustling market town of Keswick, The Inn on the Square competes with several traditional style hotels all within walking distance, so we wanted it to be unique and to become a destination hotel, rather than just somewhere to stay in the town,” explains Kate Simmons. “The carpet design played a major role in the entire scheme, remaining contemporary but featuring natural and organic influences, perfect for a hotel set within England’s largest national park.”
Kate and David had inspiration for a contemporary leaf design randomised across basement, ground and first floors, reflecting the rich colours of autumnal days in the region, like fallen leaves scattered across the fells. After initial discussions with Kate, Wilton Carpets Commercial designer, Matthew Robinson developed the idea producing a free form design across all three floors using a design based on real leaf structures.
“Matthew developed numerous sketches for us, making the leaves all different sizes and colours, some with fills, some outlined and with different backgrounds to the carpet until we were happy with the overall feel,” continues Kate. “We then worked together on the layout, deciding how it would sit on the basement and ground floors, how it would flow over the stairs to the corridors and round corners. The apparently random nature of the design, without any repeat through the entire layout, is carefully planned, not only to look absolutely striking but also to combat the challenges of the period interior while simultaneously making the most of its distinct features too.”
Without a straight wall in sight, due to the building’s Georgian construction, the overlaying random leaf motif is forgiving of irregularities, unlike a traditional design; eliminating the need for a border, the design is free to run into walls and around the complex layouts without looking disjointed or awkward. In fact, the ‘scattered’ leaves of varying shape, size, fill and colour have the opposite effect, uniting the interior in a carpet that upholds the hotel’s modern styling and Lake District setting.
Matthew Robinson used Wilton Carpets’ Elements palette for colourings on the design. Dramatic fills of gold are balanced with subtle black outlines set against a neutral backdrop. This continues the carpet’s adaptability with a random pixel-like shaded effect in slate – a nod to modern design – on a zinc background that complements perfectly the grey wall panelling and base colours throughout. The ‘pop’ accent gold colour, used as a fill for leaves, is found in furnishings throughout the interior.
For the 34 bedrooms, where six different schemes come into play, Kate Simmons looked for a different design to create segregation from public areas and a sense of a different, more private space:
“We didn’t want to carry on the leaf design into these spaces, but we knew the design should use the same base colours, using highlight shades that matched the feature colours of that scheme. Wilton responded perfectly with an off-kilter stripe, again ideal for the irregular walls of the building,” continues Kate.
Each of the schemes employ the same off-kilter stripe. With highlight colours in the bedrooms sharing the same turquoise and gold influences as elsewhere in the hotel, along with a shared zinc background shade, the bedroom carpets coordinate with the leaf design used elsewhere, creating a strong sense of place, while retaining their independence.
The Lake District Hotels’ commissioned project saw 1,400 square metres of bespoke carpet, woven in a hardwearing and comfortable nine-row construction that gives the right levels of durability for boutique hotels of this size. Made at Wilton Carpets’ Wiltshire production site in a performance 80% pure new wool 20% nylon blend, the carpets will retain their appearance over many years, remaining easy to look after and fighting off signs of wear.
“We’ve worked alongside Wilton Carpets for many years now and had no hesitation in introducing them to the Lake District Hotels group. Since then we have refurbished many bedrooms throughout seven of their hotels in the National Park, with the Inn on the Square our largest project to date. They are delighted with the end result, as we are too,” concludes Kate Simmons.