Hotel Urso: A Chic New Hotel in Madrid

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If you have been reading La Dolce Vita for a while now, chances are, you know how special Spain is to me. I am completely enamored with everything about my ancestral country– the culture, language, people, art, history, architecture, music, design– I could go on and on. I have been fortunate to visit Barcelona along with Madrid and several towns in the Castilla y Leon region such as Salamanca, Avila, and Segovia a few different times. The other day, Fabian and I were talking about the places we would like to go on vacation and where our work will likely take us in 2015. We would love to go back to Italy, but I would especially love to visit Madrid again for work. I always feel completely enchanted and inspired when I am in Spain. Design inspiration abounds everywhere you turn from the elegant boulevards and palaces to tile work and architectural details. Not to mention, many of my favorite interior designers hail from Spain.

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{The Chic Lobby at the Hotel Urso}

Of course, Madrid has plenty of beautiful hotels including the recently opened Hotel Urso. Housed in an elegant palacio, or residential palace from the early 19th century between the Chamberi and Chueca neighborhoods, the hotel’s design pays tribute to the building’s neoclassical roots while providing all the earthly comforts experienced travelers have come to expect in luxury accommodations. Designed by Pablo Obrador, the accomplished Spanish designer behind such projects as the stunning Cap Rocat in Mallorca, the mission for the building was to restore as many of its beautiful original details as possible. Artisans and craftsmen were brought in to restore the building’s facade, ironwork, and plaster details. In addition, you’ll notice the use of gorgeous Chinoiserie wallpaper panels used in several spaces throughout the hotel. It is a reproduction of an original paper found in a neighboring palace. The hotel also features a full service spa and The Table– an innovative dining concept with rotating pop-up restaurants housed at the Hotel Urso throughout the year.

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{Pretty Details}

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 {The hotel’s dining room features a vertical garden. The wallpaper and lush greenery give it such an airy feel in combination with the glass ceiling. It’s worth a visit to the Hotel Urso’s website to see this particular photo in a larger size. This room is so lovely!}

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{A Close-Up of the Stunning Chinoiserie Panels}

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{The guest rooms are well-appointed in neutral palettes.}

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{Sitting Area in a Guest Room}

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{A Suite’s Sunny Terrace}

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{Original Details can be Found throughout the Property}

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{Beautiful Plasterwork Inlaid with Azulejos, or Hand-Painted Blue and White Tiles}

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{The Charming Hotel Urso}

I would love to go back to Madrid in 2015 and experience the city through my perspective as an interior designer as opposed to just seeing it as a tourist. Where would you like to travel in the new year?

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Designing Windows: Paloma Contreras Design at Memorial Antiques & Interiors

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Memorial Antiques & Interiors, one of my favorite design destinations here in Houston as well as a sponsor on LDV, recently asked me to participate in their “Designing Windows” series. Since the beginning of the year, local designers have been invited to design the windows at MAI’s Building 1 and Building 2 for a month at a time. I was honored to be asked and was quite excited to design the windows at Building 2 because I love designing vignettes or “moments” within larger spaces and felt that this was an opportunity to make a big visual impact in a small space. I’m always up for a challenge and I knew that designing the windows for August would be quite a fun one!

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 I knew going in that I wanted to incorporate certain elements that I often use in my design work– white lacquer, gilt, beautiful lighting, a touch of Greek Key, great mirrors and art, and of course, a mix of modern and traditional pieces. Then, I decided that I wanted to show two versions of a similar concept– a vignette that could work just as well in a living room, dining room, or entryway and that featured several of the same elements, but done in two styles. For the left window, I decided to develop a modern, fresh vignette. I had the walls painted in one of my go-to colors– Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy and paired a beautiful white buffet with a Louis XVI-style chair in a fun graphic pattern, modern lamps, a bold abstract painting in shades of pink and orange, along with pops of blue and white from antique Chinese pottery.

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 {Left Window}

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 {Left Window}

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 {Left Window}

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 For the right window, I opted for a lot of the same elements– a beautiful console, classic Louis XVI-style chairs, a gilt mirror, and sumptuous Scalamandre silk tiger velvet pillows with the intention of creating a more formal vignette. I love that the color palette is tight and pulled together. The composition in this window is pretty similar to the composition in the other one and you’ll notice a few of the same elements repeated, but my goal was to show how versatile these classic pieces can be and the fact that when you stick with the classics, you can make them work in a traditional or modern setting with bold pops of color or with a minimal, mostly neutral color palette.

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 {Right Window}

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 {Right Window}

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 {Right Window}

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 {Right Window}

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 {Right Window}

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 {My window designs will be on display at Memorial Antiques and Interiors Building 2 through the end of August. If you live in Houston, I would love for you to check them out. I posted a sneak peek of each window on Instagram while I was installing them on Friday and the more modern window on the left received more likes. Which of the two windows do you like best?}

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