The Fleece Hotel
The Fleece Hotel in Richmond, North Yorkshire, which had been left dilapidated and unused for over a year, has now been transformed into an upmarket place to eat, sleep and live. The hotel’s new owners have given the Grade II listed building a complete makeover to return it to life as an elegant 14 bedroom hotel with restaurant and café bar.
Stylish décor can be found throughout the hotel, along with thoughtful amenities, digital services and high-specification bathrooms. Each room has its own theme, making it unique to another.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality about her work on the project, Jennifer Preston, Interior Designer and Founder of Blackthorn Design studio said: “My job was to come up with the bedroom and public area concepts and then to produce layout drawings, specifications for finishes and fittings, bespoke drawings and to the coordinate all of that with the architect and site team.
“I was given a brief from the client who was very keen to have individually designed bedrooms with each individual theme drawing inspiration from the local surroundings like The Moors and The Dales. We have a coastal themed room, The Moors room, The Dales room and a room called The Fleece, which was inspired by the project itself but also from the sheep! They are very subtle themes but each room is different in its appearance.”
The hotel also houses a café-bar and restaurant, both of which are based on the very best of seasonal produce from local suppliers. The all-day café bar has several food offerings, encouraging smaller sharing plates and allowing guests to enjoy a range of food in a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has a range of menus, from a la carter to a carefully created tasting menu with the option of paired wines.
Jennifer added: “The bar area has quite a homely feel to it and should appeal to a wide demographic whether it is people that have gone to cycle through The Dales or hiking to ladies who want afternoon tea with their babies – we wanted it to appeal to a very wide audience.
“The restaurant is at the back of the building and that is a little bit more formal but the finishes and the tone still follow through into that area. Of an evening it will be a more intimate and ambient atmosphere. It is something a bit different to offer the locals as well as people travelling far and wide to visit the site.”
The project also marks a return to its Victorian heritage, but with a modern and stylish twist.
“I think there are lots of nice features throughout,” said Jennifer. “A massive focal point within the project is the main staircase, which is through the centre of the building. When the client took on the project it was covered in about five layers of thick brown paint and I suggested painting it an alternative colour. In order to do that it needed to be sandblasted but unbeknown to us it actually revealed a really natural timber staircase which is stunning. We reviewed it and took the decision to leave it in its natural finish because of how beautiful it.
“We have also tried to salvage some other historic aspects of the site. For example we found an old oak dumbwaiter to include, some timber floorboards have been reclaimed and some old coach lanterns have restored and are being used.”
Jennifer worked alongside Matt Ball Architecture and Within Reach to complete the hotel which opened in May 2018.
“It has been a really lovely and important project for me, “added Jennifer. “I left the practice I was working for in June 2017 so this project has been the first project I have completed on my own since leaving a practice. It has been like a baby to me and it is a really unique and lovely building with so much character. It has been great and a lovely project overall.”
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