HOME: Color cues from the Hotel Lafayette
Simply changing out the throw pillows in this master bedroom would revitalize the color scheme
The Hotel Lafayette, a local treasure experiencing rebirth at the hands of developer Rocco Termini, features guest rooms elegantly re-imagined by Michael Poczkalski, owner of room and Michael P Design. Poczkalski, who also designed the hotel’s chic lobby, used color strategically throughout the hotel, but he was really able to put his tailored aesthetic scheme to work in the sumptuous bridal suite. There, he used his favorite color—a neutral greige—as the backdrop, then let pops of color serve as accents.
In the suite’s bedroom/living space, Benjamin Moore’s Plymouth Rock serves as the neutral base, against which smaller pieces of furniture, like a bold aubergine chair, bright green dining chairs, and citrine velvet throw pillows provide color blasts, creating a stylish, yet informal, environment where guests feel right at home—if only for a night. All of the furniture and accessories from the suite are either from room, or—as the beds, nightstands, armoires, and floating modular units—designed by Poczkalski and custom-built locally by Elwin Grant.
The result isn’t just elegant, it’s practical, and Poczkalski says his aesthetic easily transfers to any home. “Use neutrals for your most expensive, largest, pieces of furniture, then use bold shots of color in your accessories, your throw rugs, your pillows, your artwork,” he suggests. “When you’re ready for a change, these are the easiest and least expensive things to replace.”
Michael P’s system is simple:
1) Choose your neutral from among shades of cream, beige, gray, or stark black and white and build from there, in layers.
2) Use the neutral for larger surfaces, the walls and big furniture.
3) Choose a color scheme—citrus, primary colors, shades of the sea, preppy pink and green—and use it to select bigger accessories like pillows, lamps, rugs, throw blankets, occasional chairs, artwork, etc.
4) Bring in smaller accents, like flower vases, coasters, candles, or family photos with brightly enameled or bejeweled frames.
Neutral greige shows off these bright green dining chairs to great effect, a stragety recommended by designer Michael Poczkalski. Photo by kc kratt.
When you decide to make a change, it’s as easy as choosing another second layer color scheme, changing out the rugs, the throw, perhaps reupholstering one of the smaller chairs, and then getting a few more accessories that reflect the new palette. Don’t be afraid of introducing strategically placed color into your rooms; chosen carefully, colors will complement and highlight each other, without competing for attention. Advises Poczkalski: something unexpected, but not shocking, is what you’re going for when it comes to color. Neutrals anchor the eye, and create great backgrounds for colors, which give the whole room structure, focus, and balance.
“Another great way to inject color is to paint your walls a neutral color, and then use bold, large-print wallpaper on just one wall, like the wall behind the bed,” says Poczkalski, noting the Lafayette bridal suite as an example. “Or use a gray-based color for an adjoining room, with just a hint of color.” Poczkalski used the latter strategy in the suite’s bathroom, which features Benjamin Moore’s Dusk to Dawn. The bridal suite, as well as the other rooms at the Hotel Lafayette, use these color principles to make guests feel at ease, and keep their eyes moving seamlessly from one design element to another.
“It’s my baby. It’s a really, really big baby, but it’s my baby, and I love what Michael did,” says Rocco Termini, who worked with Poczkalski to create a scheme that was not only beautiful, but also practical. “It’s not a museum, and I don’t want it to feel that way. I want the rooms to be enjoyed and used, and I want people to be comfortable.”
Michael Poczkalski of Michael P Design for room (design, furniture, and accessories)
988 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo NY 14216
Elwin Grant (custom-building of Poczkalski’s designs)
Williamsville, NY 14221