Sometimes inspiration comes from the unlikeliest places.
Other times, it comes from exactly where you’d expect.
The newly opened Ace Hotel — in all its hip, carefully curated modern splendor — is the latter sort of place. In a city where splashy hotel openings have become the norm, the Ace separates itself with a sense of nonchalant charm and steady buzz thanks to its ground-floor restaurant, City Mouse, and rooftop bar and lounge, the Waydown.
Like other Ace properties, the Chicago outpost (the hotel group’s 10th location) is as much a place for locals as it is for out-of-towners. And just like other Ace properties, it’s handsome as all get out.
The building itself was designed by GREC Architects, which cites Chicago’s New Bauhaus movement as its main source of inspiration. L.A.-based Commune Design handled all the interiors and finishes with an aesthetic that combines utilitarian Midwest craftsmanship with the “less is more approach” of iconic modernists like Mies Van der Rohe and many a quirky local artist.
In total, there are 159 rooms, ranging from the one-king-bed “small” rooms to the lavish Ace Suite, which includes a private terrace. Every room is outfitted with lacquered plywood furnishings, an impressive locally stocked mini bar and either an acoustic Martin guitar or turntable.
But what design inspiration can you pull from the Ace? Let’s take a closer look.
1. Looking for drama? Try dark walls. If you’re looking for a dramatic change of pace, consider painting your walls dark. Do it up right and you’ll achieve an unexpected high contrast that’s soothing on the eye.
2. Rugs really do tie the room together. Your home needs a statement rug. Period. The right rug is chance to tie every single object in the room together. What you’re looking for: a rug that gives the room the right dose of color and pattern.
3. Let your music taste be a conversation starter. Like we mentioned before, every room either comes with an acoustic Martin guitar or a Pro-Ject turntable, complete with a stack of vinyl curated by local tastemakers. The point being? Don't forget that a quality audio setup can act as a fine centerpiece to any room.
4. Mind the “fifth wall.” Talking about ceilings, of course. Finished ceilings can take your home into many different directions. Take it from the Ace’s rooftop lounge and bar the Waydown — while the sound-proofing insulation (made of recycled denim) isn’t normally used as a front-facing material, they liked the aesthetic so much they decided to expose it.
5. No home is complete without local art. The first mistake made about buying art for the home is there’s never enough local art. Not so at the Ace. The mural at the far end wall pictured above was created by Chicago artist Erik Debat. And Commune Design worked with Chicago’s own Volume Gallery for a commission of works made specifically for the hotel.
Photos: Ace Hotel