Main Street Hospitality Group and Karen Hunt, a Pittsfield
architect and David Tierney’s sister, designed the hotel, clearly having fun as they pulled from the region’s styles. Meeting rooms have a
clean-lined, Shaker simplicity (the historic Hancock Shaker Village
is in Pittsfield), and a sliding “barn door” separates the private dining
room from the bar in the first-floor restaurant.
They also knew when to leave something be, as they did in the
second-floor reception room, where a collection of crystal chandeliers
original to the building remains in place.
Sometimes, the smallest detail required major sleuthing. Hunt
tracked down the pattern of the pressed-tin ceiling, which hadn’t been
made in 100 years, to a company in Southern California. Then she found
another company on New York’s Long Island to actually produce it.
There were challenges, says David Tierney, noting that the floors
of the two buildings were at different heights, so elevations had to be
adjusted. The design also had to accommodate 21st-century must-
haves such as air conditioning and the accessibility requirements of
the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The many wood columns, never a problem in an old department
store, required creative workarounds in a new hotel — in one guest
room, a column actually serves as a bedpost. In fact, the buildings’
imperfections and quirkiness became an asset ensuring that no two guest rooms are alike. Nancy Fitzpatrick decorated the rooms with a mix of old and new, putting together Victorian armoires with a vintage-looking
“radio” that’s actually an iPod dock and hanging a Colo-nial-style print over a desk with a midcentury modern lamp. “There’s
a gentle irony in the juxtaposition,” says Eustis.
Hotel on North is not the quintessential country inn the other
Main Street properties represent, but like them, it does have a real
sense of place, one that reflects the industrial city itself. “The other
night in the bar, we had the mayor of Pittsfield, [former Boston Pops
conductor and composer] John Williams, and three Hells Angels,”
Eustis says. “Now that’s Pittsfield!”
the old buildings’ wood floors, high ceilings, and decorative, dentil-style
moulding lend a sense of elegance to the guest rooms (above left and right).
Each is decorated differently, with a playful mix of furnishings from various
eras that pays tribute to the past without being stuck there.