Tag Archives: The Press Hotel

Design Diary: The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine

In June I was invited for a stay at the just-opened The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine. An easy drive from Boston and eager to visit since I hadn’t been in too many years, I headed north. The Press Hotel is the first boutique hotel in Portland and it’s wonderful, with all the right touches, gorgeous art, and zero pretension. It’s also a great example of adaptive re-use, as it is the former headquarters of the Portland Press Herald, hence the name. (If you’re interested, I wrote a piece about adaptive re-use of commercial buildings for residences in last Sunday’s Globe, “Making New Homes From Old Workplaces.”)

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The Press Hotel entrance is on a quiet side street in the Old Port District of Portland. The circa 1923 building was home to The Portland Herald Press until it relocated in 2010. Local developer Jim Brady who bought the building hired Manhattan-based  Stonehill & Taylor, which created the look for hip NYC hotels including Refinery Hotel, NoMad, and Crosby Street Hotel as well as a roster of more staid establishments, to design the interiors. It was definitely time for a boutique hotel in Portland. I love the city; it has an artsy waterfront vibe like a small pre-tech boom Seattle.

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The  vestibule eases you from office building to boutique hotel, with the pairing of the original marble floor and metal rail and contemporary light fixtures and grid of woodwork.

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The lobby has reclaimed wood columns, herringbone-tiled floors, and original coffer ceilings. Dark toned neutrals are accented with pops of deep orange. The carved ribbed design of the wood reception desk recalls the skeleton of a ship, a reference to Portland’s port and shipbuilding trade.

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On the wall behind the reception desk is a large art piece by artist Matt Hutton of oversize, vintage-style painted wood letterpress type. Hutton is an Associate professor at Maine College of Art where he’s helped establish a top woodworking and furniture design program. The hotel showcases art from local artists throughout the public spaces and guest rooms.

The Inkwell Bar At the Press Hotel In Portland Maine

Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The Inkwell Bar in the lobby has a fireplace and walnut millwork, with some tables and benches that were made in local woods hops and and others  by metal craftsman.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The wallpaper in hallways is a digital print of actual newspaper headlines from the Press Herald’s archives. Carpeting features a jumble print of typewriter keys.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

Detail of the newspaper-inspired digital wallpaper.

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Detail of the jumbled letter hallway carpet.

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This is the room where I stayed. The design is inspired by a 1920s writer’s office, though wood floors with herringbone area rugs give a residential feel. Prints by local artists decorate the walls.

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My bathroom, featuring marble subway tile and wood shades. You can see in the mirror that the bathroom has a reeded glass door similar to those in historic newspaper offices.

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Floating Danby marble vanity and contemporary faucet affixed to the backsplash.

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The view to the Atlantic Ocean from my room on the 6th (or maybe it was the 7th) floor.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

A marble bathroom with freestanding soaking tub in one of the hotel’s nine suites.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

Another of the hotel’s 110 guest rooms.

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Framed rugs by local artist/designer Angela Adams hang in the guest rooms.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The backs of the leather office chairs at the desks in the guest rooms are embroidered with the classic phrase containing every letter of the alphabet: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

An installation of antique typewriters created by students at the Maine College of Art.

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The typewriters up close.

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Detail of a 3-D piece in the art gallery on the lower level.

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A detail of an artwork in the gallery on the lower level.

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A landscape photograph displayed in one of the meeting rooms.

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Another landscape in a meeting room.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

One of the hotel’s well-appointed meeting rooms on its lower level. The spaces are designed resemble private residential libraries.

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Vintage-style painted type letter signage.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

An old-fashioned Toledo scale from the Press Herald finds a new home in the hotel gym.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The lobby is sophisticated, appealing, and comfortable.

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A whimsical display of suitcases in the lobby.

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There’s also a 65-seat restaurant UNION designed by Miami-based Big Time Design and  run by Executive Chef Berry, who was on site at every meal making sure every last detail was perfect. 

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I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner there and the food was delicious.

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Morning tea and of course, the newspaper.

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The original staircases were left intact,though didn’t meet code for current use, so just a portion is visible as homage to the building’s origins.

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The property will be targeting LEED silver certification and will be part of the Autograph Collection, a group of more than fifty unique luxury hotels around the world.

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The view from the roof deck of the penthouse suite.

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The Press Hotel, 119 Exchange St, Portland, Maine

I did a lot of shopping at Portland’s cute boutiques. Post to come soon.

Photos by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot unless otherwise indicated.

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Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Design Diary

Designer Spotlight: Visiting Sea Bags In Portland Maine

Earlier this summer I visited Portland, Maine on a press trip at the fantastic new (and first) boutique hotel  in Portland, The Press Hotel (blog post coming soon). During my free time wandering the streets of this charming seaport city I saw a sign down by the harbor for Sea Bags Maine.

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I had forgotten that Sea Bags, which makes colorful totes from recycled sails and rope handles is based in Portland.

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I wandered down a dusty wharf road replete with pick up trucks and fishy smells.

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Abandoned building with boarded windows and peeling paint has a great patina.
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The Sea Bags shop and studio at Custom House Wharf, Portland, Maine.

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The front section of the building offers lots of different styles of Sea Bags for sale.

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I find the rope handles a bit too clunky, but they’re sturdy and authentic.

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Behind the racks of Sea Bags I spied sewing machines and supplies.

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Women at the machines were constructing Sea Bags from sailcloth.

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And sewing sailcloth appliqué designs, like this sailboat.

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You can trade used sails for bags through the  Sea Bags recycling program.

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A metallic gold star Sea Bag design.

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Industrial size spools of New England ropes in natural and navy.

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And more ropes.

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Bins of materials

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More Sea Bags accessories.

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Read about Sea Bags’ newest retail stores in Rockport, MA and Cape Cod in The Boston Globe.

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Shop Sea Bags at StyleCarrot partner J.Crew >

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Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Designer Spotlight