Honoring its past, accommodating present-day preferences and preparing for the future; those were some of the challenges of an interior renovation project at the Hotel duPont in Wilmington.
The setting for so many special occasions and memorable overnight stays over the years, the downtown Wilmington fixture changed ownership in 2017. Until then, it was the oldest single family-owned hotel in the United States. The stately building on Rodney Square has historic status, as do many of its features.
How would modern trends and history intersect?
"A lot of loving care was given to the hotel over the years," designer and architect Campion Platt said. "Nobody wanted too much change - that was kind of the first priority, not too much change and not too quickly."
Platt had already been enlisted by the Buccini / Pollin Group for two other hotel projects. This one started later, but was to be done first to honor the requested time frame.
Stone floors, ornate ceilings and travertine wall tiles remained, but new furnishings, lighting, artwork and carpeting transformed the look and atmosphere of the lobby space. The setting encourages people and small groups to relax, work and converse.
"There's a trend in general of getting people out of their rooms and back into the public spaces of hotels," Platt said.
Additionally, The Green Room Bar was transformed into a more inviting space. Platt will also be involved in a renovation of the main dining room, The Green Room.
Platt added that he looked to "complement" the building's history, rather than create a contrast between old and new. According to the famed designer, one of the most rewarding aspects of this and other projects is to get a positive reaction from the "common man" - or woman.
"If it makes you feel good, and you don't know why, then it's a big success," Platt said.