Archive for Apr 2013

Recently we had the opportunity to photograph the new cabins at Iris Inn in Virginia, a 12-acre retreat overlooking the Shenandoah Valley between Staunton and Charlottesville. We had heard these new accommodations were modern, well-appointed and perfectly sited. They are all that and more…much, much more! Each cabin (somehow that word just does not do these gorgeous accommodations justice) is practically all glass, with floor to ceiling views of either the forest, the valley, or both. They have full kitchens, fireplaces, hot tubs, heated floors, and fantastic screened in porches cantilevered over the hillside. The bathrooms are super-sleek and are outfitted with a tiled shower which is adjacent to a sliding glass door with direct access to the porch–essentially an outdoor shower. And nothing seems more luxurious than showering while looking out over the treetops. Owners Dan and Heidi are calling them “adult tree houses”, which is a pretty apt description.

The six cabins are actually pre-fab buildings (this hot trend is big and growing, so get that sheet metal trailer image out of your mind). They were assembled on site, then upgraded with top notch finishes. If you’re thinking of adding cottages, take a look at these. I think they’re destined to be a big, big hit.

Iris Cabin 23 XL New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

One of the new cabins photographed at sunset, overlooking the Shenandoah Valley and the town of Waynesboro, VA


Iris cabin a 01 XL New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

Interior of a cabin that faces the forest;  we both actually preferred the forest view

Iris Cabin 11 XL New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

Custom-built king-sized bed with built in side tables and desk

Iris Cabin 14 X3 New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

A shower with a view–the ultimate in luxury!


Iris Cabin 20 XL New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

Bathrooms feature beautiful marble and granite finishes and a heated floor


Iris Cabin 18 XL New Tree Houses for Grown Ups at Iris Inn

Mark kicking back in the cabin after a hard day’s work, enjoying fantastic late afternoon sun


Having shot SO many beds during the last 9 years (literally thousands) we’ve found that beds and bedding styles are as individual as the property and the innkeeper. Don’t discount their importance–the bed is often the first thing a guest sees when walking into a guest room and a potential guest sees while looking at guest room photos online. Both the bed style and the bedding immediately make a powerful impression and connection–and that can be good or bad. We thought we’d review the many beds and bedrooms we have styled and photographed and show you our favorites. In this post we highlight style, structure, and “architecture”. In an upcoming post, we’ll cover mood, color and texture. The goal is to inspire you by sharing some of the best beds we have seen. Here’s hoping you see something interesting and may even want to incorporate some of these ideas into your own guest room decor.


GardenGables Rooms 19 03 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Rich, Royal and Gothic. At Garden Gables Inn in Lenox, MA, they have created some of the best-dressed beds we’ve ever seen. Here they did a great job of coordinating the dramatic gothic-inspired canopy bed with the Persian pattern of the bedding. The overall impression is rich and royal–this bed is your castle!


ElFarolito FourKachinas Rooms SanMiguel 02 X2 Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

The Allure of Old Mexico. In the San Miguel Room at Four Kachinas B&B in Santa Fe, the iron bed, bold colors and the dynamic patterns of the pillows conjure up colonial Mexico. Sometimes the bed makes the room; what would this room be WITHOUT that great bed?? See more pictures of this room on their website.


HydrangeaHouse Rooms OakSuite 01 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Opulent Newport Style. Innkeepers Dennis and Grant of Hydrangea House asked us back to shoot their recently-renovated Oak Suite last year. In typical Newport style, these guys really went over the top on this renovation! The bed is like a “room within a room” with that incredible canopy, the built-in lighting and all the rich carved oak. This is the perfect room to stay in while soaking up all that Newport glamor. Where are the pillows you ask? They’ll arrive at turndown, naturally…so Newport!


PortD Hiver Windward%20%282%29 X2 Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

West Indies Romance. Port D’ Hiver Inn in Melbourne Beach, FL artfully mixes West Indies-inspired architecture and furnishings with some traditional and contemporary styles and color.  The Windward Suite features a mahogany barley-twist bed and an airy canopy with a tropical mosquito-net feel. This bed makes such a statement and beautifully supports the West Indies/Old Florida theme.


OMI Rooms Garden 01 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Oversized Drama. We love the way this bed at Old Monterey Inn in Monterey CA is scaled for this room and the way it interacts with the timbered architectural elements. The Garden Cottage’s bedroom footprint is not huge, but the ceiling volume is very generous.  The bed-timber relationship “elevates” the space and makes it feel grander.


MountMerino RipsRoom%20%284%29 X2 Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Exotic Flavors. Rip’s Room is a charming room at Mt Merino Manor in Hudson, NY, but not one of it’s larger accommodations. This middle-eastern inspired hand-carved headboard is a great choice on so many levels. On a practical level, it packs a ton of punch in a small space, because it has no siderails or footboard. On a thematic level, it speaks to a local cultural institution, Olana, the home of the great American painter, Fredrick Church. Olana features a eclectic mix of Victorian, Persian and Moorish styles.


Embassy Rooms 123 03 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Simple, but Telling. At Embassy Circle Guest House in Washington DC the style throughout the property is super clean and crisp with traditional touches in the furniture and gorgeous rugs. Original contemporary art adds pop and a modern flair to each room. It’s a consistent theme so if you like one room, you’re apt to like them all. This room is typical: an uncluttered bed in a simple but warm arts and crafts style and great original art, all wrapped in a warm paint color you’ll see throughout their guest rooms.


OMI Rooms Chawton 02 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Playing dress-up with the bed. When couples escape for romance or adventure as they do at The Old Monterey Inn in Monterey CA, they are looking for a little drama and fantasy. This bed in the Chawton Suite fulfills the fantasy.  Although this would not work as well for an inn with a strong business clientele, it’s right on target for this classic country inn.


ElizabethPointe Rooms 09 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

The Bedding Makes the Bed. This ocean-front room at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge on Amelia Island, FL is not large, nor is there a great deal of inherent architectural interest to the space. To keep things airy and uncluttered in this room, they wisely chose a very simple bed with no footboard, yet this room feels very luxurious. The secret is in the bedding. Its layers, patterns and colors make the space really special. Imagine this room with just the white bedspread and a couple of pillows: not very interesting. Also, the wallpapered accent wall behind the bed makes the room feel less “boxy” and also pulls in the bedding scheme.


Vendue Room405 bedroom%20%282%29 XL Dream Beds: Our Top 10 for Style and Drama

Double Bed Dilemma. A guest room with two double beds often feels very “Holiday Inn”–neither luxurious nor distinctive. We love the way Vendue Inn in Charleston, SC added these elegant partial canopies which accentuate the ceiling height and make the room feel more grand and elegant, more…”Charleston”. The choice of using crisp white bedding keeps the room from feeling too frou-frou or stodgy.


Keep your eye out for more “Dream Beds” in the next blog post….