Project Case Study – Stone Terrace Bed & Breakfast

The Stone Terrace Bed & Breakfast is located in Evanston, Illinois a few blocks from Northwestern University overlooking Lake Michigan. Conceptually, the luxury B&B is meant to be an alternative to the standard hotels in Evanston and be a unique lodging alternative for the many academic, political, cultural and other visitors to the University.

Blending modern technology with vintage charm

Design Challenge:

The renovation of the late 19th century mansion into a specialty B&B presented a unique design challenge: restore the original beauty of the old home,

but pamper guests with modern conveniences.  The systems had to be simple enough to be used by the B&B staff and the many guests that stay in the boutique hotel. It had to have aesthetics typically reserved for high-end residential projects, but still function for many users like a commercial project.


Design Solution:

Invisible ceiling speakers provide ambient music while preserving the aesthetics of the ornamental plaster ceiling.

While much of the property appears vintage, the technology is anything but. In public areas, this included employing technologies such as invisible speakers in high-finish plaster ceilings.

Lighting controls look like an early 20th century fixture with engraved brass plates.  But, they are actually inputs that communicate with a centralized lighting control system.

Each guest suite includes an invisible Seura television/ mirror system in the bath.  Guests can relax in the high-end media room, and choose from a large collection of movies on the Kaleidescape system. The terrace provides a place to unwind and listen to music on the landscape music system.

Additional Technical Challenges:

User interface allows staff to ability to address issues without having to enter a guestroom, turn on the music in select rooms or througout the building and a number of other functions.

Creating intuitive interfaces with different levels of user permission also proved a challenge.

Within guest rooms, controls are very simple.  Bedroom and bath TVs use simple cable company-provided remote controls.  Each room also has a simple, half-page laminated user guide provided by Mills.

The user interface design allows for reliable use of the system by guests, but gives staff the ability to quickly and easily change the mood or address any issues.  In most of the public spaces, the lighting system runs on a pre-defined program based on time of day and daylight.  However, motion sensors can override the system for safety. For example, if a guest leaves their room in the middle of the night, the hallway and stair lights illuminate.  See the motion sensors in action here: Occupancy Sensor Lighting
Staff can carry out a number of functions via strategially placed touchscreens. For example, staff can turn on music in select rooms or throughout the building.  If a guest is having trouble with a cable box in their room, staff can reboot the system remotely.





For more photos, please visit our portfolio page