May 18, 2012
And they all just shook their heads...
Washington School House
So our fabulous designers, Paul & Shannon Wehsener of Paul Allen Design, recently sat down with us over lunch in La Jolla, California, to share several of their stories about where they found all the wonderful antiques, art and silver that compose the WSH collections. Let’s just say that lunch was filled with a lot of laughter, a lot of wide-eyed gasps and several very interesting tales. And there wasn’t even wine being served. (Strange, I know.)

Anyway, these two have enough stories to fill a book. And we just might do that. Until then, we want to share a few of their favorites here.

One particular story features a prominent piece in the hotel. It’s oft photographed, oft discussed and oft swung from. No, not really. Unless Paul and Shannon have some more – slightly steamier – stories they’d like to share with us. Anyway, we’re talking about the VERY large antler chandelier – lacquered in white and layered with crystals – that you’ll find hanging in the living room, magnified by the equally breathtaking 10-foot tall antique mirror from a French opera house (another great story).

The antlers once belonged to an elk. The crystals were most likely of a different provenance. And the white lacquer was the brilliant idea of Paul who knew exactly what he would do to those antlers the minute he saw them hanging in a store on Park City’s Main Street.

But let’s go back a bit. Paul and Shannon, known for their superior and refined sense of style and uncanny ability to discover the spaces waiting to be within a space, had been asked to fly out to look at a small, historical school house in Park City that was destined to be the epitome of the luxury boutique hotel. Before even setting foot into the school house, the couple visited Southwest Indian Traders not far from the hotel in the center of Park City and there Paul saw them, 6-ft elk antlers just screaming to be bathed in lacquer and adorned with dozens of tear drop crystals. Alas, Paul did not yet have a need for his glorious vision and left the antlers hanging on Main Street. Naked, unclaimed, alone.

Fast forward a year or so and Paul and Shannon, now officially the designers of Washington School House (of course) remembered his beloved antlers and headed down the street, wishing what he didn’t dare think possible – that the antlers were still there, waiting to find their true calling.

Happily, his wish was answered. The antlers had patiently waited for his return and Paul’s brilliant vision was to become a reality. Months later, after the painstaking process of perfecting the lacquer’s gleam and the precise placement of each individual crystal, Paul proudly unpacked his design opus.

He gathered the hotel’s contractors ‘round, delighted to share his creation. The contractors, he knew, were local fellows. Utah’s finest men of craft, lovers of the outdoors, hunters all. Paul knew they would appreciate a fine set of antlers.

And so, with baited breath, he stepped back as they all leaned in to see the glorious white-lacquered, crystal-bedecked masterpiece.

One look… and they all just shook their heads.

That’s okay. We think you’ll feel differently.