The St. Regis Hotel Houston – Astor Ballroom Renovation and Redesign
Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga and Bill Cosby are just a few of the celebrities who frequent the exclusive St. Regis Hotel in Houston. Located in the Galleria-River Oaks district, this five star hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Texas. A highly anticipated 6.5 million dollar renovation was completed April 30th.
Venetian Plaster Artists – Chuck Bick with (The Interior Touch) and Vallie Duncan (Plasters of Italy) were commissioned by the Dallas based architectural and design firm of Forest & Perkins. The submittal mock-up sample was approved in Dallas and sent off to Houston. Subsequently the sample ended up in New York as competitors struggled unsuccessfully to duplicate the finish.
During the application of the dome, a structural issue was observed and quickly resolved by the Venetian plaster team. The entire scope of work was completed seven days ahead of schedule, allowing for other finishing crews to move into place earlier than planned.
Natural Mineral Organic Tints – Restoration quality tints imported from Verona, Italy were used to tint the Italian Plaster. The unique tinting pastes were chosen by the Italian government to restore the famous Brunelleschi Dome and other historical buildings in Italy.
Ballroom Ceilings – Over 1500 square feet of Venetian plaster was applied to the ballroom ceilings. The challenge was translating the small mock-up sample onto a large ceiling. You have to visualize what will transpire from the first coat. Unlike glazing or applying a positive technique, here you are building the layers to accomplish the final look. This was followed with two additional layers of plaster along with a burnish and buff all done by hand. The final touch was the embedded gold mica powders that were hand rubbed into the finish, creating a lustrous antiqued marble ceiling.
“This process was unlike any other Venetian plaster finish in its application,” says Bick. “We have done many projects with embedded micas which are usually a more forgiving application, but this one required the two of us to mirror our hands.” This is nothing new to Duncan and Bick, as everyone has a different hand, few are capable of altering their print to mimic another. The plaster takes on several different looks depending on the lighting and viewing angle.
Chuck Bick and Vallie Duncan are based in the Dallas area and have collaborated for over six years designing and applying decorative surfacing mediums throughout the country. Technically diverse and artistically driven, they continue to exceed the demands in the decorative arts community. “With ninety percent of our clientele being in the residential sector, we bring a to our commercial projects a personal experience in our interpretations both artistically and technically,” says Duncan. “Historically, this medium has much more to offer, as Designers and Architects can sometimes be demanding and ask for the impossible. Our job is to create the visions and we do that with every project.”