HOSPITALITYDESIGN: The Longleaf Hotel | Hospitality Design

Caitlin St John • Photography by Tyler Northrup •
September 2, 2020

The 57-room Longleaf Hotel in downtown Raleigh is situated within a revamped 1960s building

Following a year-long renovation, the Longleaf Hotel made its debut earlier this year as a midcentury-inspired motor lodge in Raleigh, North Carolina. Having fallen into disrepair while operating as a national economy chain in recent decades, the Creative Office of Joshua Gajownik was brought on board to spearhead the project alongside creative director Christine McDonald of Loden Properties and project architect Meredith Kirkpatrick of Maurer Architecture. The goal: To apply a new vision and a distinctly North Carolina aesthetic to the classic two-story 1960s structure.

Once the transformation was underway, original breeze blocks and dimensional cinder blocks that had been hidden by stucco were discovered and restored, and knock-down textures were revitalized with a fresh color palette. “The design pairs midcentury modernism with rhythms, textures, and environments inspired by North Carolina’s endangered longleaf pines,” explains creative director and designer Joshua Gajownik, who also handled the hotel’s brand identity and digital design. Peach and green hues reference the Tar Heel State’s clay soil and pines and show up in many of the public spaces and 57 guestrooms, including the cross-hatched patterns that appear in the carpet, window treatments, and wallpaper.

The hotel’s interiors feature midcentury furnishings and finishes

To help address the area’s lack of hotel bars, the lobby lounge was crafted as a focal point to attract visitors and locals alike. The space features scalloped banquettes upholstered in crimson velvet, woven pendant lights, and a custom olive and caramel terrazzo-topped bar. “The environment is elevated but approachable,” says Gajownik, “a perfect venue to sip and share stories from the road or from around Raleigh.”

Further, Gajownik enlisted a roster of local artists “to express our affinity for North Carolina through the design finishes.” This included illustrator Claire Craven, who imagined the longleaf needle wallpaper that hangs in the bathrooms; textile and apparel company Rise & Ramble, which created robes, throw pillows, and blankets for the rooms; and furniture manufacturer Bull City Designs, which built modern wood headboards among other elements.

“While Raleigh is referred to as the City of Oaks, longleaf pines are just as defining of our home as the oaks, and the hotel seeks to bring light to the distinct environment they create,” explains Gajownik. “As the 16-foot neon sign says: Long Live Longleaf!”

A custom terrazzo bar counter and velvet banquettes line the Longleaf Lounge

Local talent is on display in the guestrooms, with handmade headboards, throw pillows, and blankets

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