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A room from Pousada Picinguaba in Brazil, featured in the book “Hip Hotels Atlas.”
AP Photo/Thames & Hudson
A room from Pousada Picinguaba in Brazil, featured in the book “Hip Hotels Atlas.”

‘Hip Hotels’ provides hot home inspiration

NEW YORK (AP) — You won’t get Herbert Ypma to dictate rules on color, decor or furnishings when it comes to interior design.

Instead, the author of the “Hip Hotels” guidebooks series says creativity, originality and even flights of fancy are what you need to transform a room from mundane to spectacular.

“You can’t push the edges of the envelope far enough,” he said in a telephone interview from his London office. “For some reason, people apply brakes to themselves.”

Yuma’s latest book, a paperback version of his “Hip Hotels Atlas,” lovingly captures roomscapes from beautiful lodgings on six continents.

Not confined to a single style, the book shows scenes from sleek and rustic rooms alike. The photos are eye candy for anyone who likes to travel, or inspiration for those who dream of recreating hotel-room perfection in their own bedrooms.

For example, the Korakia Pensione, in Palm Springs, Calif., is described as “a place of hand-washed linen sheets, canopied four-poster beds, lace, ceiling fans, slate and wooden floors, furniture from Rajasthan, chairs from Mexico, glassware from France, black-and-white photography and lots of old books.” The Wawbeek in Tupper Lake, N.Y., offers log cabins with fireplaces and grand views of the Adirondack Mountains.

Ypma espouses a philosophy of decorating boldly from the heart, no matter what current fashion or historical experts may say.

He lauds the proprietor of the Hotel Costes in Paris, Jean-Louis Costes, for taking a “really boring middle-of-the-road hotel,” rejecting modernity, and giving it an over-the-top Belle Epoque French interior that Ypma compared to “an Agatha Christie film-type environment.”

“It was very clever,” Ypma said. “That hotel is still the happening place in Paris, very hip, a highly individual place ... It’s not that easy to be different, but it was an incredibly clever choice.”

Hotels featured in the book include the Ice Hotel, in Sweden’s Arctic Circle, a fairytale palace carved from ice where the colors of the ice change from green to blue to gray depending on the weather and time of day; the Tawaraya in Kyoto, Japan, where tatami mats, cedar bathtubs, paper screens, and dark wood floors radiate a sublime Zen simplicity; and La Posada del Faro on the beach in Uruguay, where white linen sofas, whitewashed walls and wood floors offer what Ypma describes as “beach-shack freedom” — comfortable and appealing without being overly sophisticated.

As another good example, he described the bathroom at the Banyan Tree Ringha, a luxury resort in Tibet.

“This 300-year-old Tibetan farmhouse has a really amazing bathroom, which, from an authentic point of view, has nothing to do with Tibet,” he said. “But somebody’s thought, ‘What kind of bathroom can we put in a 300-year-old Tibetan farmhouse, that will have a wow factor and still looks like it belongs?’ So they painted the walls cardinal red and brought in these huge wooden tubs.

“I never thought about painting my bathroom cardinal red and putting in a wooden tub,” he added. “But it adds to the whole experience, stimulating people’s brains on a design front.”

He compared decorating or renovating a living space to creating a fashionable wardrobe — it’s about lifestyle.

“What do you wear? Whatever clothes you’re putting on have little to do with protection from the elements. It’s the way you see yourself, the way you like to see yourself.”

Similarly, when we furnish or decorate our homes, “it’s not a question of need. We don’t need a toaster. We don’t need a dishwasher. All the things we put in our living environment have little to do with need. What we need is water and sustenance. The rest is all just lifestyle, because need has flown out the window.

“We’re free to style our lives the way we want to style them. I think that’s the starting point for yourself.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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