Flooring Focus: Let the space tell its story

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The Tempus, a new 15-bedroom boutique hotel, bar and restaurant, located in Northumberland is filled with colour, texture and excitement – right down to the floorboards.



PROJECT INFO

Interior design Jeffreys Interiors

Client The Doxford Group

Flooring Total Flooring Alnwick

Quantity surveyor Rougemont Property Consultants.


THE TEMPUS, a new 15-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant at Chathill in Northumberland, is dramatic, maximalist and unique, with eye-catching interiors designed in a style referred to by its creator as ‘bonkers meets country’.

This circular stone building, now the reception, was once home to a gin gang or horse engine, where a tethered horse walked around in circles powering a threshing machine. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

The new hotel was phase two of a larger project that Edinburgh-based Jeffreys Interiors began working on in 2016, when it took on the interior design for Charlton Hall, a huge Georgian farmhouse being transformed into a wedding venue. Design director Jo Aynsley recalls: ‘We started to research wedding venues locally and realised it needed a USP as there were so many country house venues to choose from nearby. Our ideas and inspiration revolved around the phrases “don’t play by the rules” and “falling down the rabbit hole”. I wasn’t planning to portray Alice or any of the Wonderland characters, but to depict that sense of fun from the stories that would give Charlton Hall its own identity.”

The bar again, from a different angle; design director Jo Aynsley; tiling on display in a WC. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

When the time came five years later to start on phase two and transform the estate’s farm buildings into a boutique hotel, Aynsley, now co-owner with Georgina Fraser after a buy-out of Jeffrey Interiors, was keen to expand on the wonderland theme and create something truly special at The Tempus: ‘I was looking at including colours and patterns in the interiors that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for your own living room or bedroom, but that you admire and take inspiration from when you are in a hotel. While the design stems from the original Alice in Wonderland idea, The Tempus has its own identity: colourful, flamboyant and over the top.’

The bar again, from a different angle; design director Jo Aynsley; tiling on display in a WC. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

Wandering through The Tempus is designed as a journey of discovery, with the floors helping to tell the tale, she explains. The journey starts with the Gin Gang: one of two original areas of the building, the second being bedroom three. This circular stone building, now the reception, was once home to a gin gang or horse engine, where a tethered horse walked around in circles powering a threshing machine. In between these two preserved buildings the main building was totally demolished and rebuilt, to the same footprint and largely using the original stone, but with all mod cons included.

The bar again, from a different angle; design director Jo Aynsley; tiling on display in a WC. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

‘I wanted people to come in and feel the history of the building,’ says Aynsley. She chose to welcome guests to the hotel with large-scale Lapicida porcelain tiles in two natural shades giving the appearance of a chequerboard of flagstones, but easier to clean in such a high-traffic area. Later, the same flooring reappears in the breakfast room with its multiple patio doors opening to the garden – another area that she wanted to be light and bright and have an easy-clean finish. ‘The chequerboard effect has hints of Alice in Wonderland but is not as “in-your-face” as using black and white,’ she says.

The private dining cave also features black and white patterned LVT; the staircases are fitted with 100% wool carpet; the bedrooms have Karndean herringbone wood-effect flooring. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

In between the reception and the breakfast room, however, is where the wow factor really kicks in, as the colours become darker and heavier and the décor more exotic. The library features a huge stone fireplace and tortoiseshell panels, leading into the bar area, with vegetation tumbling through the roof light plus twinkling disco balls. ‘What I wanted to do in the downstairs was to keep the floors as natural as possible,’ Aynsley says. ‘Although LVT is highly rated for hospitality I didn’t want to use it downstairs; as we were in a historic building I wanted to recreate a sense of the original sound and feel of walking through with high heels clicking.’ The perfect solution was a dark, smoked engineered oak.

The private dining cave also features black and white patterned LVT; the staircases are fitted with 100% wool carpet; the bedrooms have Karndean herringbone wood-effect flooring. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

Recessed into the oak flooring in the bar, and again in a private dining area, are sections of eye-catching black and white patterned LVT that form a visual link with the main Charlton Hall wedding venue, which is well-known for the striking monochrome geometric flooring in the ceremony room. ‘This flooring acts like a rug to zone the area as well as creating a design link between The Tempus and Charlton Hall,’ she says.

As you move upstairs and into the guest areas, soundproofing becomes more vital, so the staircases feature 100% wool Fabulous carpet from Crucial Trading, picking up the multitude of colours in the upstairs rooms and complementing the practical wood panelling and glorious feature wallpapers from Masureel and Osborne & Little. Bedrooms have Karndean herringbone wood-effect flooring with a plank border, which is comfortable and warm on the feet and sound absorbent. The largest of the individually designed bedrooms features two magnificent Christian Lacroix Geisha Prisme rugs, either side of a room divider, linking the sleeping and living areas together, while each bathroom is finished with different large-scale wall and floor tiles to introduce even more colour and pattern.

The private dining cave also features black and white patterned LVT; the staircases are fitted with 100% wool carpet; the bedrooms have Karndean herringbone wood-effect flooring. Image Credit: ZAC and ZAC

Aynsley concludes: ‘The client did suggest we could do two or three room designs and duplicate them, but every room was a different shape so we were already doing different layouts and joinery detailing for every room anyway, so we thought we could have some fun with the room designs at the same time. And it was really fun! I didn’t want to do the same thing throughout – I like to approach every space and let it tell its own story.’



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