Kelly Wearstler adds The Quill Room bar to Austin Proper Hotel

American designer Kelly Wearstler has created an intimate cocktail lounge within a hotel she designed in Austin, Texas, which is intended to evoke “a balance between old-world opulence and modern elegance”.

The Quill Room forms an extension to the existing dining and drinking options at the Austin Proper Hotel and Residences, which Wearstler completed the interiors for in 2019.

Bar with red neon strips around the top
The Quill Room offers hotel guests and residents an additional lounge and bar space

The lounge is tucked away on the second floor of the Handel Architects-designed building in Downtown Austin, and offers a French-inspired menu and live music programming for the hotel’s guests and residents.

Wearstler’s interiors for the bar are awash with pattern, mixing gold, brown and black to create a space that appears warm, rich and elevated.

Room with multiple seating areas
A variety of vintage and contemporary chairs populate the space

Many of the design elements blend nostalgia and contemporary twists, like tufted leather armchairs positioned beside funky sculptural lamps.

“The design of The Quill Room is a balance between old-world opulence and modern elegance,” she told Dezeen. “The salon-style bar pairs the aesthetics to transport guests to another time within Downtown Austin, while still reflecting the city’s creative and music scenes.”

Golden patterned wallpaper covers the walls
Golden patterned wallpaper covers the walls

Golden patterned wallpaper covers the majority of the walls and continues across the ceiling, helping to make the room feel more intimate.

“A highlight would have to be the gold wall covering,” said Wearstler. “It’s actually an adaptation of a piece from my own archive, originally created during the UK’s 1920s Arts & Crafts movement.”

Niche with a folded screen
Within niches, folded screens feature a checkerboard of gold mirror

Small tables and mismatched seats are positioned in recesses, against folding panels with a checkerboard of gold mirrors and floral motifs within wooden frames.

Wearstler’ also included low leather and upholstered seats, as well as taller dining chairs along the sheer-curtained windows.

Walnut credenza with decorative objects
Furniture pieces were sourced from Europe and a famous Texas antiques market

Most of the furniture pieces are vintage, or were crafted specifically for this project, including the rugs, lighting and additional decorative items.

“The Quill Room features a lot of inspired furnishings that represent design through the decades – mainly from the 1960s to 1990s – which we’ve sourced from Europe and as nearby as the famed Round Top Antiques Market,” Wearstler said.

The bar itself runs straight along the back wall, fronting an open cabinet filled with liquor bottles that is topped with red neon tubes. “It’s a detail crafted by an Austin artist, bringing the modern and the local to the forefront amongst the vintage-inspired,” said Wearstler.

Another feature element is the illuminated, self-playing Edelweiss piano that was custom designed to offer “a uniquely Texan experience” for guests. There’s also a small, shaded outdoor terrace for enjoying drinks and bites in the warm Austin weather.

Translucent standing piano against a wallpaper-covered wall
An illuminated, self-playing Edelweiss piano was custom designed to entertain guests

The new space joins the hotel’s Mediterranean-influenced restaurant The Peacock, private ground-floor cocktail bar Goldie’s, and Mexican-inspired rooftop restaurant and bar La Piscina.

“I see The Quill Room as a complement to The Austin Proper’s existing restaurants and bars,” Wearstler said. “Like the rest of the property, it embodies modern elegance and refined luxury that heightens guests’ experience of the city while offering an immersive escape.”

Bartender pours drinks behind an intricately detailed wooden bar
The Quill Room serves cocktails and French-inspired light bites

Wearstler has completed multiple locations for the Proper hotel group, including several outposts in her home state of California, such as San Francisco and Santa Monica – which was named AHEAD Americas Hotel of the Year in 2020.

Her most recent project for the franchise, in Downtown LA, opened last year and features a suite with its own indoor swimming pool.

The photography is by The Ingalls.

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