Looking back in time, is there a particular hotel that stands out in your mind? Whether traveling for leisure or business, a hotel plays a crucial role in being one’s home away from one. When the experience transcends ordinary and becomes extraordinary, the memory lasts.
Where to Stay in Vermont – The Newly Renovated Essex Of Course!
Extraordinary experiences and lasting memories are the goals behind the recent room renovation that took place at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa. If you’re unfamiliar with The Essex, it’s located at the foot of the Green Mountains in the scenic Lake Champlain Valley in Burlington, Vermont. Every square foot of The Essex is infused with a culinary theme. It’s quite the sensory experience! To get a better idea of the inspiration and hard work behind the scenes of the recent renovation, we interviewed Christine Burdick of Christine Burdick Design, the renovation designer, and team.
Christine, what made you choose to work with The Essex on this project? I take it you get asked to work on many projects, was there something unique that spoke to you about this one?
“We have been working with The Essex for several years, and it is a partnership that I absolutely love. The first project we were hired for was updating the former restaurant space to what is now Junction. After Junction was complete, we designed and updated the executive conference room. When the conference room was complete, we developed a master plan for the lobby which sat on the shelf for several years until Nic Barger (the current general manager) came on board. We worked with Nic to dust off our original lobby plans and also rolled the project into including the guest room and corridor updates. The piece that made this most recent project so special was the ability to incorporate the original culinary theme we had established for Junction and the executive conference room. Working with a repeat client is the nicest compliment a designer can get!”
How did you come up with the idea for the three different guest room concepts: The Art of Baking, The Harvest, and Spice Rack?
“We knew that we wanted a culinary theme that could be carried throughout the guestrooms. And we knew we wanted to design multiple themes to provide guests with different experiences. Throughout a few design charrettes here in our studio, we came up with many options before settling on the final three. Although, the spice rack theme was initially supposed to be a decadent dessert theme, which became insanely challenging to play out.
Our overall goal was that each of the themes would feel fresh and comforting – baking is indicative of warm neutrals and cool blues; harvesting is all about vegetables and also utilizes warm neutrals through wicker baskets that serve as transportation for the colorful veg; spices are filled with color and often appear in the kitchen in wooden spoons. The overall neutral theme we developed worked for all of the concepts, and the artists we engaged with helped to bring those concepts to life.”
If you had to name two emotions you want guests to feel while in the newly designed guestrooms, which would they be?
“Comfortable with a touch of whimsy. We are always looking for ways to provide unexpected pops of surprise. Some guests may love it; some may not. Either way, these unexpected elements allow for great conversation.”
If you had to choose one of the themed rooms, of the three, to stay in, which would you choose?
“The Harvest. I have a love affair with color. The green we chose for the casework is perfection. The sculpture has a very pop art vibe. And who doesn’t love illustrated veggies on window treatments?”
As you were designing the renovation and coming up with the ideas, did you find any of your ideas from somewhere unexpected?
“We came across Lynn Karlin, a photographer in Maine who photographs culinary elements. Her ‘tray series’ had immediate appeal. She has a large piece printed in metal in her studio that we immediately fell in love with. When we connected on the phone, we just knew she was a perfect fit.”
The newly renovated guestrooms are truly one a kind, and can best be enjoyed with a stay in one! The Essex provides the opportunity to have not just a getaway, but a culinary getaway! Take cooking classes at the Cook Academy, dine on delicious cuisine at Junction Restaurant, or stroll through the beautiful herb and vegetable gardens on-site. We hope you get a chance to experience Christine’s incredible work and enjoy a rejuvenating stay.
ABOUT CHRISTINE BURDICK
With over 16 years of professional interior design experience working with national brands, Christine Burdick brings a bold, fresh approach to each project. Christine is a Vermont girl at heart and has worked as an interior designer in New York City and Washington DC. Christine Burdick Design was established in 2010 when Christine recognized the need for a commercial interior designer to support Vermont architects. Her studio now houses four full-time interior designers.