Carefully selected (and sometimes custom-designed) indoor furniture can not only enhance a clubhouse’s aesthetic value, but also increase member usage.
As club properties constantly brainstorm new ways to keep members on-site through innovative programming, perhaps the simplest method to “get them in seats” is by installing comfortable, attractive furniture.
|SUMMING IT UP
• A mix of neutral and bright colors in furniture, carpeting and wall art helps to create a balanced look in any room.
• Bold accents and statement pieces draw the eye and can be used to help guide guests through a space.
• Keeping members involved throughout the design process, and organizing “sit tests” to try out new furniture, can help to ensure that the purchases meet member needs.
Neutral spaces like lobbies, dining areas and card rooms provide clubs with the opportunity to get creative and make a statement, using an endless combination of colors, textures and finishes that are pleasing to the eye. Some properties are even commissioning custom-designed pieces that can help to tell a story about the club’s unique past, present and future, and speak to its place within the community.
With a relatively young membership demographic (the average age is 48), Tartan Fields Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, was able to push the boundaries of its interior design when the new owners renovated in December 2013.
“The exterior of the clubhouse is a very traditional, Scottish-style country club,” says Britney Shafley, Director of Catering & Special Events. “When you walk into the club, it’s modern, trendy and on point, but also timeless.”
“Each room is imprinted with its own unique personality, without losing continuity of the design and flow, through the colors, wall art, and the patterns in the chairs and carpet,” adds General Manager Joe Flynn.
“In our area, there have been renovations done at competitive clubs, but nothing to this extent,” Flynn continues. “The design team had full reign to design however they wanted, and they wanted it to be bold. Every piece makes you want to look at it, and really catches your eye.”
The club’s updated foyer features gold carpet with a bold brown pattern, plush gold ottomans, and a soft blue couch custom-designed to the contour of the wall. “Ninety percent of the furniture was custom-built from all over the world, so you won’t find the same pieces anywhere else,” says Flynn.
A dark-wood concierge desk, staffed during the day and evening so guests can quickly be given direction upon entering, is positioned opposite the couch, adding to the inviting atmosphere.
The bar area (a converted pro shop) features a curved-back bar with striking, layered horizontal wood panels behind it. Many different styles of chairs, including wraparound, pub-style chairs, leather seating at the bar, and standard wooden chairs with a snake pattern, add to the room’s appeal.
“The colors are warm and inviting and work together,” says Shafley. “The blues and mustard yellow in the carpet and chairs intertwine with the dark leather in dining areas, so it’s neutral, but with pops of color that draw the eye.”
The club also created multiple dining areas, effectively doubling its seating capacity. The first section is visible from the lobby and includes large yellow booths that kids find especially appealing (see photo, above), along with chandeliers made of hand-hooked crystal that Flynn says resemble “shower hooks,” custom wall coverings, colorful houndstooth carpeting, and plenty of four-top tables throughout. The focal point is a circular banquette at the center of the room.
“If you look at the pieces on their own, you might not know what to do with them,” says Shafley. “I was so impressed that all of the elements and textures and patterns, which are all so bold and unique on their own, actually work really well together.”
A wine lounge is sandwiched between the bar and family dining area. The center of the room features a farm-style, communal table that seats eight. The table is made of rustic wood with a tiered base, “so it looks like three different sections stacked on top of each other,” Flynn explains. Suede seats are placed around the table, while wine coolers are at both ends of the lounge. Along the wall, three mohair swivel chairs and cocktail tables are arranged near a blue, high-back banquette that extends to the ceiling. A decorative partition is suspended from the ceiling above the main table for unique mood lighting.
“It’s a great place for people to start or finish their evening,” Flynn says. “They can grab a glass of wine, have an appetizer, then get a table at the restaurant, and maybe end up back at the wine lounge or at the bar.”
To complete the impression of an entirely different space, Flynn says, everything in the clubhouse is brand new, from the tabletops down to the salt and pepper shakers. “The transformation really gave it an unexpected edge in an otherwise traditional market here in Dublin,” he says.
Knocking Down Barriers
When Troon took over management of Alpine Country Club in Cranston, R.I., in 2014, the club was a traditional New England property, with social spaces for men and women divided by a wall. Alpine CC hadn’t been updated since 1992, so the club sought to differentiate itself in the market with a $750,000 renovation.
“In other parts of the country, we ‘sell’ memberships and amenities more to women, but that wasn’t really the case here,” says General Manager Jeff Beier, PGA. “The Board knew we needed to change, so we literally knocked down the wall of barrier between the men’s and women’s grill and turned the card room into Pub Amici, with a sports entertainment center that is both a golf simulator and a big-screen TV for watching games, Netflix, and playing Pandora.”
The renovation began in February of this year and wrapped up in May. Beier describes the resulting look as “contemporary, country club New England,” with rich, hearty colors carried throughout.
Walls separating the ladies’ grill, men’s grill and card room were removed and replaced with French doors, allowing the space to feel less segmented. One portion of that space is the Alpine Room, for which a selection committee chose a chocolate Masland carpet with a tan pattern, red mahogany tabletops, and tan leather on the chairs to lighten the room’s look. The bar stools, positioned around hightop tables, feature darker brown leather with backs that match the blinds. The chairs around the actual bar have slightly different fabric with a “wild print” that pops, Beier says.
Behind the granite bar, the club installed a wine cooler and redid the cabinetry, adding etched glass with the club’s logo. On the walls, the club replaced gold-framed photos with more contemporary fixtures that Beier says “hint toward Rhode Island-style, near the coast.” On one 15 x 15 wall, the club incorporated 20 picture frames into a photo gallery montage of the last 50 years of club history.
“It’s a nice detail that brings people together,” Beier says. “People in their 30s are enjoying this brand-new contemporary restaurant, while someone who’s 75 can come in and reminisce at the same time,” Beier says.
The second portion of the newly open space, Pub Amici, is similar in style to the Alpine Room, but more relaxed and comfortable, with more open space, more variation in the types of tables used, and soft seating around the large screen.
“Kids can sit in bean bag chairs and watch movies on the big screen—the unit was a great investment and it encompasses the space,” Beier says. “Year to date, we’ve had 69 new members join, so it’s a nice turnaround story.”
For the People
Before Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla., implemented a $10 million renovation that was unveiled in November 2014, the 65,000-sq. ft. clubhouse hadn’t been updated since 2001, and General Manager/COO Kraig Spina describes the previous interior’s look as “tired.”
“For dining alone, we have over 140,000 covers a year, so you could really start to see the wear based on that usage,” Spina explains.
Incorporating members’ opinions, Gleneagles gave a serious facelift to its entry area, as well as the Legends Dining Room, Legends Lounge, Waterfall Room, men’s and ladies’ card and locker rooms, and golf shop. Inspired by the property’s exterior water features, the interior color palette now features blues and taupes with accents of pistachio and copper against crisp, white-painted millwork, creating a space that is “lighter, brighter and younger,” Spina says.
“We have a lot of pastels and more vibrant colors that are consistent across the club,” he adds.
The club worked with an interior designer and made sure that members were able to express their opinions throughout the process. “[The designers] cringed when we first told them we would have 35 people attend the selection of the finishes, but we stayed on track,” Spina reports.
One of the first design accents that guests now notice at the lobby’s far end is a bubble-glass mosaic wall with water sheeting down. Light-green chairs and plum-colored pillows are positioned in front of this feature. Two sets of chairs and large couches flank either side of the room, including a sofa table with a centerpiece and books, on top of accent rugs. The remainder of the room features white tile, and the coffered ceilings were “pushed up as high as we could go,” Spina says.
Positioning the furniture this way gives the space more depth and “wow factor,” he notes, and keeping the remaining furniture sleek, slim and neutral allows the water feature to stand out.
In the Legends Dining Room, Gleneagles opted to remove an outdated stage and open the space. The room now features a large armoire with colored glass, high ceilings and chandeliers that were selected not only for their geometric look, but also for their sound-absorption qualities. Carpet with swirls of gold and blue was installed in the room as well. “Without furniture, the colors of the carpet were really vibrant and initially scary,” Spina notes. “But when they put the chairs on them, the members loved it.”
The tables and chairs are a medium-dark wood, and were modified according to members’ requests, with the arms narrowed and the seats made more shallow than the standard form. Staff also achieve a different look on a daily basis by using placemats during lunch and linens for dinner.
|Keeping Leather Like NewClassic leather furniture is a popular choice for interior designers when creating spaces that require a sophisticated, high-end look. But special consideration should be given to its cleaning and maintenance. The four types of leather commonly used in furniture include:
Generally, leather should be cleaned by simply vacuuming, using a crevice tool attachment, and/or wiping with dry towels to remove dust. Furniture polish, solvents, and chemicals such as bleach or ammonia should not be used. Spills should be wiped up immediately, using as little water as possible and taking care to never soak the leather with water and detergent.
One common problem with leather furniture is the buildup of small scratches over time, which can often be removed by gently buffing the leather with a microfiber cloth. To extend the life of the leather, a professional cleaning should be performed every 18 months.
Source: U.S. Products
In the ladies’ card room, the carpet is lightly patterned, the walls are blue, and the windows are “unencumbered as much as possible” to allow views of the property, Spina notes. White wooden storage space with granite countertops, used for snacks, is situated just below large TVs.
Keeping the members involved in the renovation process, the club held “sit tests” for the new chairs, which are similar to the previous ones, Spina notes, but enhanced with carvings and flower patterns on the backs. Every other chair has matching pillows, which are stored away when not in use. The four-top tables have suede table covers, which Spina describes as “almost like Spanx,” holding tightly to the corners to protect the table while still being soft and pliable.
In contrast, the men’s card room is darker and didn’t change quite as much, Spina says. It features navy blue chairs with plaid backs and longer tables, which the members specifically requested in order to play gin and other card games.
“When you renovate a club, if you don’t get one negative comment, and nothing but praise and accolades and applause, you know you’ve done it right,” says Spina.