Meet Justin Salisbury, founder of the super-stylish Artist Residence boutique hotel chain…
There’s an amazing story behind the Artist Residence hotels. Founder Justin Salisbury dropped out of university to turn a tired-out guesthouse in Brighton into an eye-popping art-filled boutique hotel. Now he and his wife Charlie have a portfolio of residences in London, Oxfordshire and Penzance and one of the most talked-out boutique brands in the country. Striking interior design (including a few Pooky lights!) has been critical to their success, so we caught up with Justin to talk about interior style, reclaimed wood and being a little bit bohemian. Here’s our Q&A…
Justin and Charlie Salisbury. Image: Artist Residence.
How does designing for hotels differ from domestic interior design?
We like our guests to feel really at home, so we don’t tend to think of hotel design as “commercial”. We focus a lot on home comforts and it’s the little things that make the difference - like making sure you’ve got a convenient plug socket by the bed and being able to turn off all the lights when you’re in bed! One little thing that we always do with every new bedroom is to make sure all the soft lighting e.g. bedside lights, desk lamps, floor lamps are on a separate circuit that is dimmable so that you can set the mood.
Bedroom at Artist Residence Oxfordshire (with Pooky bedside lamp and shade). Image: Artist Residence.
How would you describe the interior design style of Artist Residence hotels?
We’ve been told our design is like staying at your stylish friend’s house! Deep down we like to think of ourselves as being a little bit bohemian.
Art-filled bedroom at Brighton. Image: Artist Residence.
Using reclaimed materials wherever possible has always been a key ingredient of ours now whether its wooden flooring or antique cabinets which we reconfigure to house our minibars. We then like to juxtapose this style with super comfy beds and soft furnishings.
Lounge at Penzance - complete with Pooky floor lamp. Image: Artist Residence.
A stunning room at Artist Residence Oxfordshire. Image: Artist Residence.
And to what extent does each hotel have its own unique style, versus an overall AR style?
It’s very important for our guests to feel a sense of place when they stay at one of our hotels whether it’s laid back Cornwall or hip Brighton. It’s quite boring to just replicate the exact same style every time we open a new hotel. We’re also really lucky to have hotels that live inside really interesting old or listed buildings so quite often it’s a case of letting the original features do the talking – like the old brick walls, or farmhouse lofts that were hidden over time! Our ‘reclaimed’ style works well for hotel interiors as there’s always a bit of wear and tear in old buildings and reclaimed wood gets better with age.
Bedroom at Brighton. Image: Artist Residence.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Pinterest is always a really good starting point in today’s information age. But then again I think it all depends on whether you’ve got a good eye.
How important is lighting when designing hotels? It’s probably one of the most important things to get right. We’re not really into spot lights etc so we like to make the best use of pendant lights and walls lights to make nice little intimate areas to sit.
A pair of Pooky's Trafalgar bedside table lamps at Oxfordshire. Image: Artist Residence.
Why have you chosen Pooky lights in your projects? And are you pleased with how they’ve turned out in situ?
You do really great bedside lights which we’ve used mainly for our Cornwall and rural Oxfordshire projects. I guess mainly because they give off a nice soft “laid back” light! All the lighting in our Shepherd’s Hut is from you guys!
Shepherd's Hut, Oxfordshire. Image: Artist Residence.
What are you working on next? Our next project is in Bristol in a really exciting grade 1 listed boot factory. We’re due to open later on this year so watch this space!