When Rachel Reider was asked by Lark Hotels to create suites inspired by Vineyard Vines — the playful, preppy clothing brand recognized by its smiling pink whale logo — the Boston-based interior designer was intrigued and enthusiastic, if a bit apprehensive.
“I’ve long associated Vineyard Vines with its trompe l’oeil neckties and bathing suits, but I wasn’t quite sure how that would translate to a modern coastal lodging,” says Reider, who for six years has designed fresh, imaginative interiors for Lark Hotels, a modern-minded hotel group with locations in a handful of New England seaside locales.
But once she had the bolts of Vineyard Vines fabrics in her hands, Reider realized she had nothing to worry about.
“I was amazed at how beautifully the two entities came together through interior design,” says Reider, who worked closely with Vineyard Vines this spring to design suites at the Federal-style Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, and Nantucket’s 76 Main, a recently renovated former sea captain’s home, slated to open in July.
Vineyard Vines was launched in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian Murray, who designed whimsical ties they sold out of their Jeep on Martha’s Vineyard. In time, the shoestring start-up morphed into a multi-million-dollar clothing line.
“When we started out, we envisioned Vineyard Vines as a lifestyle brand rather than simply a clothing company. We always had hoped to expand into hotels,” says Ian Murray, Vineyard Vines CEO .
When they were approached by Lark Hotels to collaborate, the timing was right.
“We certainly draw similarities between the two brands,” he continued. “At Lark Hotels, it’s much more about the experience you’re having while staying at the properties; likewise at Vineyard Vines we have a saying that ‘Every day should feel this good,’ and we hope our customers feel that way when they’re wearing our clothes, whether it be in the boardroom or on the beach.”
Finding a way to make the suites represent Vineyard Vines without creating interiors that were mirror images of the company’s retail stores was tricky, says Reider, who did incorporate a few things that guests might recognize from the company’s stores, like a gleaming sailfish mounted above the bed and a vibrant surfboard emblazoned with the Vineyard Vines logo at the Captain Fairfield Inn.
While the rooms needed to have the look and feel of Vineyard Vines, it was equally essential that they possess the signature appeal of Lark Hotels—which strives to interpret “coastal” in modern, streamlined, and unexpected ways. “Lark properties have a décor that is not overly beachy or cottage-y,” says Reider, who infused the suites with a preppy chic touch that played off the seaside surroundings.
Stripes are featured heavily in the Vineyard Vines line, so in the sitting area of the Captain Fairfield Inn suite, Reider opted for a blue and white striped Ralph Lauren wall covering.
“It has a crisp, clean, nautical feel, but the bold stripe gives it a modern sensibility,” she says. The bedroom walls are sheathed in grasscloth, selected for its rough texture that brings in the beach environment without being overly themed.
Pillows and bed bolsters are made from Vineyard Vines’ board short and women’s tunic material. The roman shades, made of a pink-hued Duralee lattice pattern, are edged with ribbon fabrics fashioned from Vineyard Vines belts.
Reider scoured salvage shops for decorative items with nautical flair. More transitional in style than the year-round Captain Fairfield Inn, the color palate at 76 Main centers around deep blues, black, and white: Antique 16-foot-long ship paddles feel right at home mounted above the bed. An authentic life ring and teak night stands enhance the nautical theme.
In addition to the interior design, guests will be greeted with Vineyard Vines touches upon arrival, including canvas beach bags and beach towels. Says Murray: “[It] makes the suites a true reflection of the brand we’ve built.”