Case Study: The Penn

Case Study: The Penn

By Imogen Emmott

May 7, 2024

The Penn Hotel in the Lake District offers guests an exquisitely designed and inviting retreat. Mixing antique furniture with hues captured from the region's natural surroundings, The Penn is truly distinctive.

Name: Madeleine Sidi 

Job title: Owner and designer of The Penn 

Tell us about The Penn: 

"The Penn is a room-only hotel situated in the heart of the Lake District. The property isa beautiful 19th century building in the middle of Windermere where it had been running as a bed and breakfast for over 30 years.This is a family affair. The project is run by myself, my partner Harry Gordon and my sister Juliette Sidi." 

What was your overall vision, and what will you offer to guests? 

"We set out on this venture to create something cool and unique in The Lakes. Obviously room-only hotels are not unique in the Lake District, however we wanted to design rooms that allowed guests to feel completely at home but with that added luxury feel. We were dying to add our youthful passion, a touch of class and a bit of our style to the Lake District. "

What was the property like when you first acquired it? 

"We bought the property in March 2023. It was running as a B&B with 9 bedrooms, an owner's accommodation, kitchen, and dining room. The decor was a little dated, but the areas had so much character and we could see the potential straight away. Although it was still functioning as a b&b there was a lot to be done to future-proof the building. It needed a whole new plumbing and electrical system throughout. This was important to ensure nice hot showers with lots of pressure, especially in those attic rooms. "

What was your inspiration for the interiors? 

"We took inspiration from our surroundings and wanted to play homage to the Lake District countryside. We added lots of panelling and wooden furniture with warm earthy colours; greens, yellows, reds, and browns. We have always loved The Pig hotels and they have been such an inspiration for me, alongside the Artist Residence, Kin House, and Soho House. We also took huge inspiration from Casa La Siesta in Spain; we love their eclectic styling and use of reclaimed furniture and materials. All these places have such an eye for detail. " 

How did you achieve this? 

"From day one of acquiring the building I went round each room and took photos of all the spaces. With my trusty iPad I set out sketching and mocking up renders for each room. I am a very visual person and I couldn’t make any decision without seeing it drawn up on my iPad first. It was incredible, I was able to completely sketch out how I wanted the rooms to look, down to every detail. The colours, the furniture, even the little books and vases. However, finding all these things was the hard part. With my sisters help we scoured antique shops until we had a large collection of beautiful antique furniture and decor. This, added to a newly renovated room created the modern eclectic look that I loved. "

Which Bert & May products have you used in the space?

"Which Bert & May products haven’t we used! We have 14 ensuite rooms and each bathroom is completely different from the next. Early in 2023 I went over to the head office and show room in York and spent a whole day with one of Bert & May's designers. We went through each room and picked tiles out that suited the space and bedroom decor. 

We have used lots of reclaimed tiles to match the antique furniture 9such as the Cartagena Reclaimed, Espadas, Carmona Marron. We used rustic looking tiles to create texture such as the Zellige tiles and the Bejmat tiles. And of course, we wanted the Bert and May special with lots of patterns and colour such as Santona, Luna, Alalpardo.

The bathrooms are the showstoppers in each room. We want guests to be pleasantly surprised by the vibrant colours and modern take on the quirky bathrooms. I think it is important for a hotel room / bathroom to be a bit bold. Typically, people do not incorporate dark colours or funky patterns into their everyday homes, so encountering them here will hopefully feel special." 

What do you have planned for your next project?

"Our overall goal is to have multiple Penns around the Lake District. We want to have several properties in unique spaces that has a strong brand running throughout. " 

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