Custom designed furniture, lighting at the Awhanhee Lodge- www.mortisetenon.com
I left L.A. last week with two wishes-- to escape the heatwave, and to forget about the world of custom furniture and design for a few days I escaped to Yosemite National Park where my first wish was promptly answered by experiencing this year's first snowfall. My second wish was not granted as I entered the Ahwahnee Hotel, a national historic landmark, and became enthralled and slightly obsessed by the original furniture, lighting and design details.
Built in the early 1920s to lure the rich and influential to the fairly new Yosemite National Park in order to ensure it's preservation, the Ahwahnee is the architectural gem designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who also designed the lodges at Zion and Bryce National Parks. The interior is a fantastic mix of Deco, Native American and Arts & Crafts which were harmoniously married together under the supreme design of husband and wife Dr. Phyllis Ackerman and Professor Arthur Upham Pope.
The attention to detail is evident from the entrance. The lobby floor appears to be inlaid tiles of Native American symbols in deep, vibrant hues; however, the flooring is actually rubber--an innovative element that kept the floors warmer and was less costly than tile.
The Ahwahnee boasts several glorious fireplaces ranging from a colossal 7 foot tall stone behemoth large enough to roast a mammoth to a cozy, copper corner fireplace tucked away in a quiet alcove.
My personal favorite was this one at the elevator lobby with the original stencil mosaic of Indian basket designs.
Within the Great Lounge are two over sized, original Oak library tables in the Arts and Crafts styling which have been immaculately preserved. One table has an intricate set of stretchers and the classic Mission key at the base.
Throughout the hotel, there are hand forged and distinctly designed chandeliers, each highly individual and elegantly crafted.
The exquisite design balance of a truly luxurious and grand space, yet one that also exudes warmth and comfort was inspiring to witness, and I returned to L.A. refreshed and energized.