At The Gracious Posse our mantra is
celebrating inspired living with practical style.
We seek inspiration anywhere and everywhere, be it mundane or, in this case, grand.
Staying at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is one of the fringe benefits of visiting my daughters or attending sporting events with my husband at the University and has become a muse for decorating my own home.
Each time I come home with new photos to share with Alison, along with the admonition, you have to find a reason to stay there. At last, our calendars intersected and we checked in this past Sunday night, both of us arriving from different southern locales, for an upcoming Artist…in Residence photo shoot in Raleigh, North Carolina. After this visit, we returned home with inspiration to share.
A Brief History of the Inn
Located on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, The Carolina Inn was built in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill and donated to the University for the express purpose of meeting the hospitality needs of visiting alumnae and guests. Called the University’s Living Room, the Inn exudes southern grandeur and graciousness. Since 1924 it has undergone 5 major renovations and expansions, the most recent completed only a couple of years ago. Today we bring you some of our favorite interior design highlights for your viewing pleasure.
Brave, Befitting and Bountiful Use of Color
The Inn is filled with unexpected bold color combinations that delight the eye. How much fun is it to be greeted by this vignette in the women’s powder room on the main corridor?
The elevator landing on each floor provides lively color combinations on the same damask chair and pillows.
Gallery Walls Tell A Story
The history and heritage of the Inn are told by gallery wall displays that line its endless corridors.
The consistent framing components make visual sense out of a treasure trove of photos, documents and artifacts that tell the story of the University and role The Carolina Inn plays hosting distinguished guests, alumnae, prospective students, athletes and parents.
It’s All in the Details
Perhaps you spotted the Key
used throughout the Inn on pillows
and even toilet tissue covers in guest room baths. It’s companion C can be found on carpet, benches and signage.
Derived from the C and Key, the quatrefoil motif is incorporated on air conditioning returns, adding a decorative touch to an otherwise lowly item.
As you can see, the Carolina Inn is filled with beautiful inspiration. While Alison and I lingered in the Sunroom, we became curious about the prints on the gallery wall.
The sign to the left of the prints details the origin of the Sunroom. Otto Zenke, the interior designer for the Inn during the mid-1940’s to the 1970’s, resourcefully stretched his modest budget to adorn large spaces at the Inn (we love his practicality). The prints you see above are enlarged photocopies of English naturalist Mark Catesby’s 18th century prints.
Also in the Sunroom, the sassy-skirted bench below the gallery of prints has captured our imagination. I’ve been looking for fabric to create a new look for an old piano bench with the perfect dimensions for my foyer, and Alison wisely suggested re-creating this beauty. Although I had been going down a different path for the bench, I’m shifting gears thanks to Alison’s eye and The Carolina Inn.
We both agreed that the black paint with contrasting interior on the breakfront, also in the sunroom,
Anything catch your eye? Did you see any ideas on our tour that you want to try for yourself? What about trying a daring color combination, designing your own motif for monogramming or Creating a Gallery Wall? We are always on the hunt for decorating inspiration. Tell us what inspires you!