Positive purposeful processes (say that real fast three times) grounded in genuine collaboration, courage, playfulness, energy, focus, and connecting our behaviors to our agreed-upon intentions are a blast and might even result in some great outcomes. As promised, in this Rambling I’ll share some collaboration pics and thoughts that pick up where I left off with Part I (found at: qwrh.com/newsletters).
O.Henry Bathing Rooms
Here we are collaborating on an exceedingly important detail: where to place the rubber duck ! Details matter. We go deep (in water, bubbles and processes). Helping with this important decision is the extraordinary designer Bradshaw Orrell, the amazing artist Chip Holton, GM Mike Reynolds, Executive Housekeeper Yonathan Calderon, Guest Service Coordinator Rayana Simmons, 20-year QW leadership team member Service Manager Cassandra Brown, 26-year QW Key Team member Martha Bryant and VP of People and Sustainable Practices Leah Clark.
Yours truly is doing the heavy lifting behind the shades. This team plus many more – most notably Jeff Kennedy, who leads the 12 craftspeople who make up the QW Craft Guild (QWCG) – collaborated (read: argued in non-mean-spirited ways) over the past year while improving the O.Henry…with more to come through the middle of next year! As for these bathing rooms: Deep soaking tubs, large glass-enclosed showers with a great showerhead and separate hand wand, Bluetooth-connected stereo speakers, mood lighting (wink, wink), and sparkling clean ceramic tile from stem to stern, with architecturally coordinated stylish grooves in the inset mirrors. In decades past, hotel bathing rooms were superior to most people’s home bathing options. At the O.Henry, that era has returned. Note the bath caddy. Nifty, eh? It was designed by the QW Design Team and made by the QWCG. Fun stuff!
Green Valley Grill 20.0
Some highlights: Inspired by one of our favorite haunts in NY, we tracked down this hand-creweled fabric for the curtains in the arched windows. They create the setting for the gem that is the lamp we commissioned from an outfit in California and then QWCG applied a multistep patina finish.
The lampshades were made by a family business we found on the internet in Venice… as in Italy. For the bar walls, QWCG created etched copper frames for antiqued leaded glass mirrors. We hope these improvements, plus upgrades to the stereo system and a number of other details, might cause our guests to enjoy their visits even a little bit more.
Don’t forget to take in Chip Holton’s marvelous 24-foot-diameter half-moon still life painted in oil on canvas above the kitchen entrance.
Chip Holton and Bradshaw Orrell collaborated with Nancy and me on the design of these plates. Seeing Nancy’s and our progenies’ delight with plates such as these on a recent trip to Italy and remembering similar ones from my first adventure there in ’76 sparked this effort. I traveled to the Homer Laughlin pottery in West Virginia to learn more about how they might make this dream of iconic tableware become real. Judi Noble and the fabulous custom design team at Homer were delightful collaborators. I hope that our guests will enjoy this old world style as much as we enjoyed creating it. You’ll see Chip’s early watercolor studies above the fired dinnerware.
Lucky 32 Is 30, Too!
This Greensboro beaut took two weeks off to, shall we say, get some spa treatments. She’s back and looking great!
The Greensboro Lucky’s will look like this in about two years. The Boston Ivy is in and ought to sleep, creep, then leap!
Thirty years ago, with Bill Carlisle and Don Rives as our key resources, we designed a restaurant that has gracefully adapted to each update that we’ve thrown her way. We so respect those two as collaborators and friends that Nancy’s and my son’s middle name is Carlisle and the Cloister Garden off the Social Lobby at the O.Henry is named for Don. Those facts are testimonials for how important collaboration is for this team. Tearing into Lucky’s with these extensive improvements caused us to feel immense gratitude for the careful design of this three-decade-old place and for the people who helped us in the beginning.
Inspired by the flower shadows at the Greensboro Lucky 32 and by the silhouettes in the light fixtures in Cary, we are working with a Broadway theatrical lighting guru who is helping with the Triad Stage production of “Dracula”. We are hoping to figure out an interesting and enjoyable projection art installation for Lucky 32 in Greensboro.
What’s better eye candy, the flowers or the shadow?
Talk about a team effort! Collaboration to the Nth! In the two weeks that Lucky’s was off line, the team transitioned from cooking and serving to cleaning, sanding and staining. The teamwork and camaraderie was something to behold. And it wasn’t just the team from Lucky’s: Folk from QW’s communications collaborative and our administrative team were also there each day…and night.
Stunning Seasonal Silhouettes at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary
With every season or holiday you’ll notice different silhouettes in each of the amazing sand dollar lights that are the work of Raleigh artist Matt McConnell. Here’s where that started: Most Sundays, David and Karen have brunch at Lucky’s. One winter we put some snowflake cut-outs in the fixtures. They noticed them and mentioned to Greg Miller, the GM, that they enjoyed the detail and had ideas for other silhouettes. Now they design and make playful cutouts throughout the year. This is really cool. Great collaboration doesn’t begin or end with folk who work with QW. It goes far beyond, as this wonderful story illustrates.
Better Grab A Kleenex
You’ve often heard me brag about the amazing talent and personality of QW’s lead designer, Bradshaw Orrell. The love of his life and partner in all things, Douglas Freeman, passed away unexpectedly while undergoing a routine medical procedure. We are all still reeling. Douglas was extraordinary in hundreds of ways: He was a wonderful artist who had terrific design instincts and tons of other talents. For example, at the Proximity Hotel he concocted the finish that transformed the concrete columns and walls into what appears to be tobacco-colored striated stone. He also designed the console tables behind the Social Lobby sofas and made the silver leaf mirror in them. I could go on and on. The world got a bit less sweet, good humored, and creative on March 7, 2019.