Boutique vibes, historic surroundings | InspireDesign Innovative vision for today’s hotel

Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates (MCA) has completed the interiors of Kinn Guesthouse Downtown Milwaukee, the boutique hospitality brand’s second location in Milwaukee. The 31-room hotel opened earlier this year and is the redevelopment of the four-story 1860s-era Lawrence Block building, located at 600 N. Broadway and within walking distance of the city’s Public Market and the historic Third Ward.

 The Kinn Guesthouse Downtown Milwaukee blurs the lines between a boutique hotel and private residence by offering home-like shared amenities, including a communal living room, dining area and chef’s kitchen on every floor.

The MCA team collaborated with Kinn ownership and the architectural team on the furnishing and finishes for the guestrooms and common areas, which include a shared living room, dining area and chef’s kitchen on every floor, as well as an art-filled lobby and an indoor-outdoor rooftop event venue. An entertainment space with a speakeasy-inspired aesthetic is planned for the lower level.

“The concept for Kinn Guesthouse Downtown Milwaukee combines the unique aesthetic of a boutique hotel within a historic building with the modern comforts and conveniences of a luxury residence or short-term rental—ultimately creating a hospitality experience guests won’t find anywhere else,” said Mary Cook, president/founder, MCA. “Our approach was steeped not only in our expertise in residential design, but also our experience in the multi-family and hospitality sectors—all of which translated into beautiful spaces that also have the durability required in a hotel setting. The goal was to embody a sense of welcome and comfort similar to the experience of visiting the home of a friend or family member.”

Shared amenities on every guest floor at the Kinn Guesthouse Downtown Milwaukee include a chef’s kitchen and living area.

To give every floor at Kinn its own individual identity, MCA selected a different color palette, coordinated furnishings and distinctive decorative pieces for each level. As a nod to the building’s history, the eclectic design scheme includes curated accessories that feel like they were collected over time, Cook explained. The interiors also feature artwork from local Milwaukee artisans to further connect the project to the surrounding city.

“Our design process is informed first and foremost by psychographics—the values, attitudes, interests, lifestyles and aspirations—of those who will ultimately use the spaces, so we considered the variety of guests that would be drawn to the intimate environment of a boutique hotel whether traveling for leisure, business or to attend an event,” added Cook. “One thing that’s been gratifying for our team to see since the property opened to guests has been the number of corporate clients renting out entire floors for meetings. We specifically designed the shared amenities to be flexible for a variety of uses, and now we’re seeing what was primarily envisioned as a private dining area also serving as an impromptu conference room and then transitioning into a place for socialization during cocktail hour.”

Mary Cook Associates designed the interiors of Kinn Guesthouse Downtown Milwaukee to provide an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience that caters to both leisure and business travelers alike.

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