Filling a void and creating a unique lodging experience never before seen in downtown McMinnville, The Atticus Hotel is the latest hospitality offering in Oregon’s wine country, designed to create a luxury boutique experience for guests. Replicative of the characteristics of a historic building, the 36-room hotel was created to preserve the historic integrity of the city, while providing guests with the comfort of modern Oregon luxury. Each of the rooms within the Atticus were custom designed to walk the fine line of a historic feel with a modern twist, all while offering guests the highest level of luxury and comfort. Although the space could have hosted 120 hotel rooms, the vision was instead to create a smaller, personalized experience while still delivering the highest level of service.
The vision for the Atticus Hotel was inspired by the ownership team’s astute knowledge and passion for creating the quintessential Oregon wine country experience. Sitting proudly on the corner of Fourth and Ford Streets, guests are within walking distance to McMinnville’s charming Third Street restaurants, shops, tasting rooms and wineries. From the bones of the building to every detail in the furnishings, the Atticus is overflowing with unexpected elements that tell a story of McMinnville and fulfill the ongoing need of hosting groups in Oregon’s wine country. From a custom-built luxury bunkroom designed for wine tasting getaway weekends to a hidden drawing room accessed by pushing through a false wall, the Atticus hotel boasts many distinct features that make the project stand out in the hospitality industry.
A space catered specifically to wine tasting weekend getaways, the bunkroom hosts up to six guests, with two built-in bunk beds, a king-sized bed, a fireplace, and a bathroom designed for a crowd with ample counter space, two sinks, and separate rooms for the toilet and shower. The bunkroom is a grown-up take on the classic bunk cabin, perfectly hitting the sweet spot of bringing people together without losing the sense of luxury.
By pushing through a false wall in the lobby, guests enter a hidden drawing room. Inside, they can relax with a bottle of wine or enjoy a private dining experience. The room is dark and moody, like a secret garden full of plants and lush materials and is filled with décor both new and old, walking the line of restoring heritage with a modern twist.
The Atticus Hotel opened its doors on April 1, 2018.
Construction Quality and Craftsmanship
Creating a boutique hotel in Oregon’s premiere wine country meant that attention to detail was crucial to the success. Led by Kraig O’Connor, Director of Buildings Group at R&H Construction, all team members executed the owners’ vision of placing the ideal amount of eclectic spin on a hotel residing in the heart of McMinnville’s historic wine country. To contrast the modern finishes, the team was tasked with incorporating timeless and antique pieces into the building, ranging from a fireplace mantel from an 1882 schoolhouse, two antique library doors from Aurora Mills and a 1908 Walnut Club display case.
Expertly selected wall coverings, accent painting and high-end trim and finish work were the primary focus for the construction team. Beautiful wood chair rail and trim accents were installed to mimic wainscoting in corridors. This was a creative solution to replicate the classic look of wood clad interiors, and the layout of the trim elements were crucial in the execution of the vision. The same can be seen in the lobby, where applied moldings and trim were installed on gypsum board to imitate the look of complete wood clad ceilings. These classic details honor downtown McMinnville’s historic past while contrasting perfectly with contemporary concrete floors that add a polished, modern feel. Each creative design element was executed as a result of sound planning, precise mock-ups and exceptional craftsworkers.
Design Narrative: Function and Aesthetic Quality
The goal of the Atticus Hotel was to blend American small-town classical architecture with the elegance and comfort of modern Oregon luxury. The result is a friendly combination of old and new, seamlessly blending in with the character of downtown McMinnville, as if the hotel had always been there. McMinnville native and project architect, Nathan Cooprider, artfully crafted the hotel to reflect the town’s historic buildings. Nathan enlisted interior designer Christina Tello to develop the interior style, in what she calls “Oregon Romanticism.” The Atticus owners wanted this hotel to be their love song to McMinnville and were determined to source as much as they could from McMinnville and the surrounding areas.
The building exterior is all about the grand entry, with valet parking, a half-dome shaped awning, and prominent entry door flanked by flags. In contrast, the side entry porch provides a more relaxed, agricultural feel. The lobby was designed to be a middle ground where guests would feel equally at home in a suit or in boots. The hotel corridors are intimate and a preview of the blending of old and new found in the guest rooms. The architecture of the guestrooms captures the spirit of a 1920’s building, with 10-foot ceilings, tall double-hung windows, and classical moldings. The layout of the rooms has a classical feel, with a separate entry niche, and definition between the living and sleeping portion of the suite. The goal was for hotel rooms to feel similar to a historic urban apartment rather than a typical hotel room. While Nathan perfected the classical bones of the hotel, Christina added the modern layers of color, furnishings and décor that brought the hotel to life.
Challenges and Obstacles
Converting a space that was once an unutilized parking lot into a luxury hotel brought a unique set of challenges. Among them were navigating a tight jobsite to accomplish the project goals. To create a unique experience for every guest, the project team was tasked with executing a different design in each of the 36 rooms. This created a complex schedule for every design element including painting, installing fixtures, carpet and wallpaper. Collaboration between the contractor, architect and design team was essential to complete the project on time, while still capturing the level of detail and quality the entire team was committed to.
To capture photographs of the completed space to use for marketing and test the guest room furnishings, the team worked against an expedited timeline. The team prioritized completing finishes on the fourth floor, allowing the owners to perfect their furnishing selections and still allow time to document the space and give the community and future patrons a sneak peek of the hotel ahead of project completion.
The vision of the exterior reflected early 20th century architecture, which challenged the team to select period-appropriate materials that met present day standards. Buildings from that era often featured brick or concrete facades with stone or wood trim and cornice elements. While painted wood elements and cornice are difficult to maintain in Oregon’s climate, stone accents are expensive and heavy. Instead, the team sought a modern solution. Custom modified plastic wrapped foam cornice shapes were created in Canada to imitate the look of the historic McMinnville neighborhood. The finished product is cast plastic over foam structure with wood grain, mimicking the look of painted wood without the maintenance.
The Atticus Hotel epitomizes the team’s approach to problem solving during the design and preconstruction process. The contractor, architect, designer and owner maintained an open dialogue to understand goals, needs, risks and timelines for a near-seamless execution. The success of the hotel is a result of the integrated approach of the team and effective communication from design through the completion of construction.
Budget and Timeline
To ensure the project exceeded the owners’ expectations, R&H required excellence from every team member. The Atticus Hotel was completed ahead of time and under budget, despite the complexity of the project ask including an extensive to-do list of custom, high-end finishes. All partners honored the clients’ vision by putting intention behind every detail when bringing the Atticus to life. Luxury did not translate to excessive spending, but rather in thoughtful execution of every detail.
This was accomplished by all team members working diligently to pay homage to the vision and economically executing the plan by finding creative yet quality solutions to reflect the budget. Keeping an open dialogue between all team members regarding the project’s goals, challenges, and timelines, the team created solutions to perfectly execute McMinnville’s newest luxury hotel, which resulted in completing the project on schedule and according to stated goals.