Four Alarm: Arts District Firehouse Hotel


Weaving a tale that sprinkles the nine room hotel in color and pattern, Sally Breer and her Etc.Etera team transform an old fire station into a hot spot. Photos throughout by Laure Joliet.

The exterior of the hotel, a former fire station, Photo by Laure Joliet.

Sally Breer is as much a storyteller as she is an interior designer, crafting adventures that inform her decor choices. At Hotel Covell, it was a story of madcap romp through New York and Paris; here, at Arts District Firehouse Hotel, it’s the story of a boarding house matron in the nineteen-forties. Her daughter’s return, thirty years later, brings about upheaval. It’s within this wide framework that Breer lets her imagination run wild.

The restaurant. Photo by Laure Joliet.

Traditional elements underline the building’s study past — like the large red doors that swing open to flood the main floor with light—and set the stage for moments of pure abandon. Upstairs, in the nine guest rooms, that framework translates to factory windows, exposed wood-truss ceilings, worn wood floors, pressed-tin ceilings and niches from which statues of the Virgin Mary would cast their protective spell over the station’s firefighters. 

Each room offers a different color mood, from violet to indigo, to orange and red, underlined by glistening hand-painted Cle Tiles and long printed bolster pillows from Block Shop. There are spots of pure decorative giddiness — the blue and white floral of the Blue Room’s voluptuous canopy; the exuberant purple and pink rainbow headboard wall in the otherwise muted White Room; and, the dense whimsy of the Chinoiserie wallpaper in the masculine Green Room’s living room nook.

A Schumacher floral sweeps over the bed in the Blue Room. Photo by Photo by Laure Joliet.
Atelier de Troupe Ze Pendant and a pillow by Block Shop in the Yellow Room. Photo by Laure Joliet.
Breer Pendants designed by Sally Breer in collaboration with Jason Koharik in the White Room. Photo by Laure Joliet.

Voluptuous curves swoop throughout the space, inflating sofas and light fixtures, like the pneumatic mint green tube that pinballs its way over the downstairs bar or the and Jason Koharik’s bouyant mineral chandelier in the White Room, surprising otherwise angular lines and  serene details with levity and frivolity

Jason Koharik’s Mineral Chandelier in the White Room. Photo by Laure Joliet.
The nook in the Green Room. Photo by Laure Joliet.

Despite the three decades between them, there’s a simpatico between the designs of the forties and the seventies, eras that saw a surge of women in the workplace. Here, Breer brings that conversation into 2019. “I was aiming for something that’s familiar and hopefully a little bit timeless,” says Breer. “I wanted it to have some homages to the past but also do something brave; I wanted it to look like someone took a risk here, had some courage.” 

The bar. Photo by Laure Joliet.