Updating the clubhouse lobby has turned Hunting Creek Country Club in Prospect, Ky. into a showcase-worthy destination.
Lobbies are sometimes short-changed in property-wide redesigns at the expense of larger-impact spaces such as new bars or dining venues. But as a common area of the club that sees a lot of foot traffic and serves as a primary pass-through, lobbies are literally where new member prospects get their first impressions of a club—and where existing members form lasting ones.
And for Hunting Creek Country Club in Prospect, Ky., recreating this space has given new life to a previously outdated clubhouse, and helped to energize an active membership while also creating new interest among prospective ones.
Last year, Hunting Creek worked with the Louisville, Ky.-based interior design firm Hubbuch & Company to create an entry way in a more contemporary design that better reflects the club’s brand. According to Membership Director Lisa Ann Harris, the new space “increases functionality with an inviting feeling for members as well as guests, while maintaining an updated and eye-pleasing aesthetic.”
The updated space, which retained its original 932-sq. ft. layout, was unveiled to members in the summer of 2020 to wide acclaim, despite some construction challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Room to Relax
To better position the lobby as a place in which to socialize before or after dining, management concentrated on establishing an inviting layout. Harris describes the lobby’s vibe as “a lounge atmosphere that is comfortable yet chic.” The previous design seated up to five people on one couch and two end chairs; an additional couch now brings the head count up to eight guests, while maintaining an intimate setting.
Also helping to set the scene for a relaxed environment, designers opted for lobby décor in soft, warm neutrals with blue accents. High ceilings with stained wood beam board draw the eye upward, as do a mix of downlights and lamp lighting for added ambiance. Custom area-rug carpeting offers an element of coziness underfoot, bolstered by the lobby’s original fireplace, which did not undergo any changes.
While the lobby serves as a central destination for members and guests, it also bridges the gap between other areas of the clubhouse, including the Fireside Room, golf simulator room and the hallway to the grill room. The open design enables easy access to the outdoor patio, so guests can move comfortably from one spot to another.
Meeting the COVID Challenge
During the course of Hunting Creek’s clubhouse renovation, construction came to an abrupt halt at the onset of COVID-19, creating its own set of headaches for the design and renovation team. “The delayed opening caused the project to go over budget and our anticipated post-opening operations budget to be pushed back,” explains Harris of the original April 1 scheduled opening.
An extra $200,000 was tacked on to the $4.5 million budget (which included a new Olympic-sized pool). Fortunately, the team got back on track three weeks later, and the project wrapped in June.
Since its opening, Hunting Creek has put special practices in place to maintain social distancing. Lobby furniture has been positioned six feet apart, and a sanitizer station is now set up at the main entrance. Masks are required and extras are available for any members who may have forgotten to bring their own.
To further minimize the risk of contact spreading, table magazines have been removed from the lobby, and the club newsletter is now available electronically as a mobile app and on Hunting Creek’s website. “This area is cleaned and sanitized between each group that sits, socializes or eats in this location,” says Harris, adding that the housecleaning staff wipes down doors and door handles hourly.
As club culture adapts to changes necessitated by the pandemic, Hunting Creek is prepared to provide a welcoming environment for seasoned and future guests. “The lobby is now a more comfortable place to sit and discuss membership options with potential new members, and to begin and end club tours and serve as a hub of member activity,” says Harris.
“In less than one year, we have transformed our clubhouse structure from a tired and dated facility to a showcase,” she adds. “And in less than two years we have transitioned our entire club, from one in decline to one on the move.”
HUNTING CREEK COUNTRY CLUB
Project: Lobby redesign as part of larger clubhouse and facility renovation/expansion
Interior design/architect: Hubbuch & Company, Louisville, Ky.
Contractor: Sullivan Cozart, Louisville, Ky.
Lighting: Custom made by Hubbuch & Company
Furnishings: Fairchild Chair Company