Lenox has been synonymous with luxury since it was discovered by the nouveau riche during the latter half of the 19th century. But the face of luxury has changed since the Gilded Age when the wealthy build their enormous summer “cottages” and initiated a social season nonpareil.
Today, the mansions have become too large, too unwieldy, for private ownership and have found new purpose as museums and luxe hotels. Still the town has retained its sense of privilege attracting large numbers of visitors throughout the year, all seeking that special experience.
Providing an important part of that experience is 33 Main, a bed-and-breakfast opened several years ago by home furnishings entrepreneur Annie Selke. Meticulously conceived by Selke, the inn offers eight elegant rooms furnished with the signature products sold through her companies and by partner businesses.
The residence exudes a sense of tranquility that soothes nerves frayed by the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Enthusiastic reviews abound. One guest reported, “… we needed peace, tranquility and pampering. We got all of those and more at 33 Main.”
“I strive to make every day (and hotel night) as uplifting as possible and that means being inspired by what surrounds you,” Selke says on her website. “An exquisitely made bed, a lovely bathroom with plush towels and a comfy robe and a yummy breakfast in a beautiful place go a long way toward having an uplifting day.”
The 33 Main experience begins when guests step through the door. Freshly baked cookies and bottles of water await them in their rooms and a late-afternoon cocktail hour is available in the front parlors. In the morning a full gourmet breakfast is served.
Selke established her boutique hostelry in an 1836 home built by Andrew Thompson. Designed in a Federal style with two chimneys and a gable roof, the house has gone through a number of transformations since its original construction but retains its “good bones” making it an ideal candidate for its 21st-century incarnation.
The guest rooms have all been artfully designed drawing on carefully curated products from Selke’s own line. In creating the rooms’ individual personalities, she and her team developed “mood boards” featuring headboards, bedding, rugs, lamps, furniture and artwork from her own catalogue while almost every wall covering in 33 Main is by Ralph Lauren Home. Beds are topped with handcrafted mattresses by Hästens, a Swedish firm that is the purveyor to the Swedish Royal Court.
The “Hollingsworth” room, for instance, is situated on the first floor and is one of two dog-friendly rooms at the inn. As with every room, Hollingsworth has a unique color palette—in this case clean neutral tones with a high, padded fabric headboard with a canine pattern. The ensuite bath features a shower and is stocked with Farmaesthetics vegan body products—light and clean with a natural smelling fragrance.
The “Aster,” the other dog-friendly room, is also the most palatial, daringly furnished (for a room that accepts animals) with a luxurious palate of off-whites and soothing blues. A puff bedcover crafted of exquisite linen tops the Hästens mattress and there is a soaking tub and separate shower. Selke has said that she loves all the rooms at her inn but is particularly attracted to the Aster because it has a wonderful bath and because she loves the blue paisley fabric used throughout.
Another room, “Sunnyholm,” is aptly named as it faces the sunny south side of the inn. Warm peach-colored walls and a floral padded headboard and curtains add to the sense of a sun-drenched environment while the large ensuite bathroom features a luxurious soaking tub and separate shower fully stocked with her vegan body products.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in all the rooms as well as in all of the Inn’s common areas.
Those smitten by the décor of their rooms will be happy to find the products are available for order from menu cards located in the rooms and from her store located directly across the street.
Rates at the inn range from about $400 a night to more than $600.
Selke is intimately familiar with the Berkshires having grown up in Lenox. From the time she was 14, however, she spent her summers working for fashion-related businesses in New York City. She attended the University of Vermont to study textile science and then the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in merchandizing.
In five short years following school, the fashion dynamo worked for Ferragamo, started the Saks Fifth Avenue training program, moved to Conrad’s as a public relations assistant and copywriter and finally was a manager of product development for a licensing company.
Following a move to California with her then husband, she returned to the Berkshires where she was soon inspired to start her own business, Pine Cone Hill. Brimming with energy, she started creating products for companies such as Garnet Hill, LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. Her home became a production line and she recalls one Christmas when the whole family was involved in sewing and packaging tea-towel bed skirts sold by Garnet Hill.
“They sold like crazy,” she said during an Apartment Therapy interview.
She said her own liability was limited when she developed products sold under other company’s labels. “I loved working for private labels. They had to buy it because it was made for them.”
But the bug of ambition bit again and she soon decided to produce sheets. She approached Garnet Hill with an idea for bed linens and found a vendor in Israel that would produce them. “Wide goods are a totally different animal,” she said. “I was sourcing rather than manufacturing.”
The merchandising world changed and private labels began to produce their products inhouse. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, she decided to focus on sending her own company, Pine Cone Hill, in different directions. And so it began. Selke became a powerhouse in the world of home décor with three firms, Pine Cone Hill (textiles), Dash and Albert (her rugs division named after her dogs) and the newest, Fresh American.
33 Main is located at 33 Main Street in Lenox, Massachusetts; phone: 413-400-3333.