Rich, earthen tones in the carpet accent the light from both the windows and the lamps in this guest room.

When your reputation is built on history, renovating with an eye to the future is a precarious process. Such was the case with the recent redesign of the historic Main Inn at the palatial Grove Park Inn resort.

For nearly a century, the renowned resort - nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, N.C. - has been a place for travelers to rest and relax among the world's largest public collection of Arts & Crafts antique architecture and furniture. Part of an extensive property improvement program that began in 1999, the renovation project required modernization of the retreat to meet the Four-Diamond demands of its 21st century guests.

The project's guiding principle was that the new guest room interiors must reflect a love and appreciation for the grand old building, while offering the office and home-like amenities today's business and leisure travelers have come to expect.

Carpet as canvas

Carpet played a critical role - a foundation of sorts - in the renovation of the historic resort. The Grove Park Inn design team chose materials made by Biltmore Commercial Flooring (a franchise of DuPont Flooring Systems) and Monterey Carpets Inc. The suppliers delivered a custom carpet that the designers envisioned as the canvas upon which they would fashion their masterpiece.

The team determined that carpet made the best sense from a cost-benefit perspective because it would withstand heavy use, and provide soft acoustics and warmth. In addition, the carpet came with a full-service warranty, under the auspices of the DuPont Answers Assurance Program, that eased the facility planners' maintenance concerns.

The Grove Park Inn had previously looked to Biltmore Commercial Flooring to solve its flooring problems, so it was natural that resort management continued to seek Biltmore's counsel regarding both aesthetic and functional flooring needs throughout the renovation process. This collaborative design effort resulted in a carpet that fit squarely within the stylistic boundaries of the Arts & Crafts genre.

"Small historical details of Grove Park helped determine the carpet design," says Michelle Palm of Biltmore Commercial Flooring. "We shared ideas to understand renovation challenges to create a carpet that captured the essence of the period in which the Grove Park Inn was originally built."

In the grand Palm Court atrium, a combination of carpet designs were assembled to complement the grids, lines and boxes highlighted by the sunlight beaming in from above. And in the Main Inn guest rooms surrounding the atrium, rich, earthen colors were chosen to accent the golden light streaming through the century-old, rock-lined windows and amber glows from the mica lampshades.

"As we shaped the future of the Grove Park Inn, it was imperative that we remain historically correct - yet modern," notes Craig Madison, general manager of the Grove Park Inn. "The design would be built from yesterday with an eye for tomorrow."

The historic Grove Park Inn sits deep in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
Design with a conscience

In the end, the design team worked together to provide contemporary amenities, while maintaining a certain reverence for the era in which the Inn was originally conceived. And, the redesign was accomplished with an environmental responsibility.

"Throughout the design process, it has been our driving goal to refurbish the Grove Park Inn with the finest modern appointments, while maintaining our place as an respectable, legendary inn," explains Ken Powell of the Grove Park Inn design team. "I think we accomplished that¿and, we did it while recycling our waste."