Design Centre Stories

A Stellar Stay

While the hospitality and travel sectors have struggled to stay afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic, the interiors industry has conversely boomed as interior designers have been extremely busy working behind the scenes on a raft of new launches. One highly anticipated example is The Star Inn, a striking Grade-II listed 16th-century building in the medieval village of Alfriston in East Sussex.

The inn is the work of mother and daughter duo Olga and Alex Polizzi, and joins Hotel Tresanton and Hotel Endsleigh as part of Olga’s boutique hotel group, which she runs alongside her role as director of design at Rocco Forte Hotels. She took on the project due to her personal connections to the area and the building itself:  “My home is in this part of the world and I’ve always longed for the opportunity to open a hotel in Sussex… we wanted it to be an integral part of the community and provide a welcoming environment for all, from walkers to opera goers,” she says.

When the hotel came on the market in 2019, she quickly took the opportunity to buy it with Alex, and begin extensive renovations, a process that was not without its challenges. The labour of love included, according to the designer, “overhauling every bedroom and ensuring in the process that none of our guests will be dependent on the old redundant single-pipe heating system, which we discovered at times only provided a dribble of hot water to the furthest rooms”.

The pair have installed floor-to-ceiling windows throughout much of the newer 1960s part of the building, and combined some of the smaller bedrooms to form 30 larger guest rooms. Many of the rooms in this wing now have small private patios or juliet balconies (one junior suite has its own terrace) and all have been designed in Polizzi’s classic style. Vibrant splashes of colour and a play of textures take centre stage and each room is an eclectic mix of contemporary furniture and local antiques. Many of the wallcoverings and fabrics are by Madeaux by Richard Smith (available from Tissus d’Hélène), who is based locally, including ‘Surat Stripe’ (pictured top). Julian Chichester supplied furniture and mirrors for the project, including the curvy mid-century-inspired ‘Fontana’ and ‘Pirelli’ mirrors, picking up on the era of the guest wing, as well as the ‘Twig’ side table, ‘Luciano’ desk and ‘Versailles’ bedside.

Julian Chichester, Ground Floor, Centre Dome
Tissus d’Hélène, Fourth Floor, Design Centre East

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