Hotel on North: Where Local History Meets Personal Passion

| March 27, 2019

Hotel on North facade

by Kelly McCoy

When local residents turn passion into action, amazing things happen. In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, David and Laurie Tierney and their innovative team transformed a neglected pair of 19th century buildings on the National Register of Historic Places into Hotel on North, an icon of the vibrant and creative spirit of The Berkshires region.

Guest room

The Tierneys wanted to help revitalize the town where they grew up by bringing new life to a much-loved landmark. Honoring the buildings’ long heritage as the legendary Besse-Clarke menswear and sporting goods emporium, they preserved and restored many architectural features that give a nod to a bygone era.

“I grew up in Pittsfield,” said project architect Karen Hunt, “and on Thursday nights, North Street was the go-to place. It had a real feeling of community, a feeling of being alive. Working on the Besse-Clarke building was great, because that was the building that people in town remember from their childhoods.”

Guest bathroom

The creative team behind Hotel on North was committed to preserving the “life of the building.” They repurposed many original elements. Every beam that came out of the building was put back in some way. Anything that had character was repurposed. Wood floors, brick walls, tin ceilings, and wood beams were all incorporated into the new design. All new elements were designed and created by local artisans and craftsmen.

Windows are the eyes of the building

Mountain view from guest room of Hotel on North

Architect Karen Hunt and Builder David Tierney used the windows on the front of the building as a unifying element to bring a three-story building together with the adjacent four-story structure in a cohesive statement. “It’s architecture 101,” said Hunt. “The windows are the eyes of the building. They are the connection of outside to inside and inside to out. The windows on the street give a building a rhythm. They give it personality. They had to be right.

“There are several styles of windows in the project,” continued Hunt, “but my favorite are the windows in the North Building. We have soaring 17-foot ceilings there and the windows are almost 9-feet high with a singular elegant divide muntin down the middle.”

The windows were not only an important design element, they were essential to achieving state and federal historic tax credits, which were key to the success of the project. “We chose Marvin windows because they offer the best window we could buy,” said Tierney. “They met our budget and our historic requirements. They really brought the exterior — which is what the National Park Service is really concerned with — back to the way it was supposed to look, matching photos we had of the original buildings from the early 1900s. We were working with a tight timeframe to be open for the Tanglewood performance season when most tourists would be in the area, and it was key to have a window team who would do what they said they would do.”

Co-owner Laurie Tierney adds, “I like to think that our windows are a big, huge architectural feature of the hotel. Every window allows natural light in, but they also frame the view. Whenever you go into a hotel, you go right to the window to see what your view is. I like to think every window at Hotel on North has fun, funky views, from the mountains to a church in the distance to the city itself.”

“We are extremely pleased to have been involved in this exciting project,” said Steve Hoyt, who leads the Marvin Commercial Services Team for A.W. Hastings, the company representing Marvin Windows and Doors in New England and eastern New York. “We have a great continuum of services from the Marvin manufacturing floor in Warroad, Minnesota, through the Hastings architectural reps and local dealers who are onsite to ensure that installation goes smoothly. Historic transformations are in the Marvin DNA, and Hotel on North is a great example of how those collaborations work.”

Kelly McCoy is owner at The McCoy Group in Ogunquit, Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: All, Retail/Hospitality

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