Monday, May 13, 2013


Modernism and nature form a dramatic alliance in the design and concept of the new Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz.

San Francisco interior designer David Oldroyd, a principal with ODADA (Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates) gives the hotel décor a brilliant new spin.

Come with me for a private visit. And read on. At the end of the story are comprehensive design sources of David’s paints, resources, artists, materials, catalogs he used, and other useful, practical and inspiring information. 

Santa Cruz, California, admired for its year-round surfer culture and creative academic population, has always been a beloved beach town. But it’s also in the heart of historic redwood country, with the Pacific Ocean framed by noble stands of ancient redwood forest.

The new Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz cleverly and superbly highlights and identifies both the laid-back surfer ethos and the grandeur of handsome sequoias.

In its airy, light-filled architecture and the artful new décor David Oldroyd has accomplished a clear identity for the new property, as well as practical and functional interiors, all with certain budget restrictions. 

David Oldroyd

The hotel is located a five-minute stroll from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, and the rollercoaster and dizzying rides are visible from top-floor accommodations.

Oldroyd, acclaimed for the rigorous simplicity and elegance of his work (always with a dash of wit and surprise), embraced the strict geometry of the architecture. He worked closely with his associate, Lawton Eng on the hotel project. 

The decision was made to juxtapose the pure lines of the buildings with the raw beauty of redwood trees and weathered wood. Thus Hotel Paradox.

The hotel, gleaming with fresh white paint, looks new but in fact it’s a deft and artful renovation and remodel of a sixties property. 

The first sign of Oldroyd’s bold nature-meets-modernism concept is dramatically visible to an arriving guest at reception.

The front desk is a large-scale twenty-five-foot long reclaimed naturally weathered eucalyptus tree. Smooth and silken to the touch, the tree looms as a powerful presence and a welcome totem.

“I found the tree on the outdoor lot of Evan Shiveley, a Northern California tree specialist who repurposes extraordinary fallen trees he collects all over the state,” noted Oldroyd.

Shively’s a noted chef and an artist, really, and a favorite of leading designers and architects. The eucalyptus trunk was left in its natural state. Workstations and electronics are concealed artfully without altering the tree. 

‘The bones and the architecture are a fantastic example of the classic international modern style, and we’ve honored that and enhanced it,” said Oldroyd, a partner with Orlando Diaz-Azcuy for three decades.

The hotel consists of a five-story guest accommodation building (one of the tallest in Santa Cruz) and an adjoining single-story structure with the reception area, a gallery, conference rooms, and Solaire, the restaurant/bar and lounge.

“We started by stripping both structures of all dated architectural detail, and refreshing every square inch,” the designer said. “We painted everything crisp white to give a feeling of tranquility and freshness.” 

Accommodation includes two-bedroom suites on the top floor that juxtapose an airy modernist mood with headboards crafted from reclaimed winter-weathered fence posts from Colorado. Art is by San Francisco talent, Ronnie Genotti.

Side tables in guestrooms were handcrafted of sawn reclaimed redwood. 

Most dramatically, a large conference room in the center of the main building has panoramic walls of hyper-realistic photographs of redwood trees, and art includes close-up photographs of lichen, pine needles and leaves on the forest floor.

Oldroyd’s fun side is expressed with a series of white resin squirrels (found on the Internet) that ‘scamper’ across the walls and ceilings leading to guest rooms. 

The long natural cypress plank bookcase on the wall near the restaurant is filled with random books covered mysteriously with white paper. 

“I wanted to express the idea of ‘paradox’,” said Oldroyd. “Guests are intrigued to take books from the shelves not knowing the title or the subject.”

Expect to be surprised. This hotel is a wonderful paradox. 

Solaire specializes in locally sourced seasonal produce and artisanal cuisine. Recently on the menu: Eighteen-hour Short Ribs with sweet corn ‘polenta’, and fried Coke Farms greens with shallots, fresh herbs and Grana Padana. 

David Oldroyd, ODADA, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Associates, San Francisco, and
ODADA, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates
201 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 415.362.4500


All photography used with express permission of the design and the copyright holders:

Matthew Millman (415) 577-3200

Rien van Rijthoven (415) 810-0973

Phillip Harvey (415) 861-2091 

David Oldroyd’s approach:

1. Make the budget work.

2. Buy the best quality possible.

3. Custom design for a custom result.

4. Rely on Pottery Barn, West Elm for a great look for a great price.

5. Work closely with artists to add creativity and delight for guests. 

David Oldroyd's design sources:

Hotel Paradox, ODADA, Santa Cruz, California

Hotel Exterior:
Paint, Benjamin Moore & Co, 800.635.5147 

Entry Corridor:
Painting, Ronnie Genotti 415.203.9412

Custom Chairs, Murphy Designs, 510.693.1868

Side Table, Evan Shiveley 415.663.9126

Floor Tile, Graniti Fiandre, through EuroWest 703.823.2418

Wallcovering, Lanark, Tri-kes, 800.200.8120, 


Custom Stools and Tables, Elements Contract Furniture, 609.924.5091, 

Marble Bar Top, Fox Marble, 415.671.1149, 

Floor Tile, Graniti Fiandre, through EuroWest, 703.823.2418, 

Ceiling Mural, Astek Wallcovering, 818.901.9876, 

Guest Rooms:
Paint, Benjamin Moore.

Custom Casework, Elements Contract Furniture, 609.924.5091,

Custom Lighting, Borden Lighting, 510.357.0171,

Lamp, Arteriors Contract, 972.488.9800

Carpeting, Bigelow, The Mohawk Group,

Guest Suites:
Paint, Benjamin Moore.

Custom Casework, Elements Contract Furniture, 609.924.5091,

Lamp, Arteriors Contract, 972.488.9800

Carpeting, Bigelow, The Mohawk Group,

Sofa, Crate & Barrel, 800.967.6696,

Side Tables, Evan Shivley, 415.669.9126

Artwork, Angela Cameron Fine Art, 866.741.2278,

Solaire Restaurant: 
Paint, Benjamin Moore.

Hostess Stand, Evan Shiveley, 415.663.9126

Twig Art, Paul Schnick, 310.743.5416, 

Custom Stools and Tables, Element Contract Furniture, 310.743.5416,

Carpeting, Bigelow, The Mohawk Group,

Ceiling Mural, Astek Wallcovering, 818.901.9876,

Reception Area:
Paint, Benjamin Moore, 800.635.5147,

Reception Desk, Evan Shivley, 415.669.9126

Custom Chairs, Marco Fine Furniture, 415.669.9126

Artwork, Lawton Eng, 510.543.7326

Glass Wall, Pulp Studios, 310.815.4999

Floor Tile, Graniti Friandre, EuroWest, 703.823.2418,

Hotel Entry:
Paint, Benjamin Moore &Co, 800.635.5147,

Concrete Work, Hogan and Pinckney, 831.345.6383

Bookcase, Casagrande woodworks, 805.226.2040, 

Sectional, Grigsby Furniture Direct, 855.238.4987. 

Pottery, AW Pottery, 510.533.3900, 

Chaises Longues and Umbrellas, Tropitone, Elite Ideas in Contract Furniture, 

Side Tables, Evan Shiveley, 415.669.9126 


Karena said...

Natural Elegance Diane, wonderful hotel, that front desk of a tree trunk so unique!

Art by Karena

Vicky E. Dodson said...

What a truly unique hotel and dining room. The decor is breath taking. I've been in the hotel business and I talk about this property to everyone I see. When I take friends there for lunch the are beyond impressed. Thank you to the designers who think outside the box!

cindy said...

This place is absolutely breathtaking. No detail was left to chance. Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

Daniel Hale said...

Reception desk seems reason enough to check in!

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

I saw half-a-dozen breath-takingly stylish, witty ideas in the first glance, and when I went back and poured over the photos I saw more and more. A tour-de-force, with none of the works showing.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

I love your comments.
David Oldroyd is a longtime friend of mine, and I've been writing about him for ages.
He's a partner with Orlando Diaz-Azcuy--and has been incredibly fortunate to study at the 'University of Orlando' for three decades almost.
David is perhaps the most disciplined designer I know. And yet...there is a lyricism and romanticism in this hotel that everyone sees and feels.
David gives credit also to his client and the hotel. you said, Tricia and Daniel and Cindy and Karen--there are great elegant ideas there. Plus of course, David opened his resource books.
Did you see that he selected some pieces (for budget) from West Elm! Great.

Stay in touch...lots of great stories in the works, DIANE

Anonymous said...

One of the many beauties of your writing (in your books; and in your blog!) is you beautifully "OPEN"


It is so unusual! This place is as different as could be possible to "my house"!

and yet, your descriptions and beautiful writing about the nuances of both are completely satisfying; and rewarding!

I guess that is why they call it "BRILLIANCE"!!!

That is what your writing is!! In any venue!



ps. I think I may still be your "greatest admirer"! That was in the beginning!
Thank you for not changing my description! I could assume the "Presidency of your fan club"!!


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Penny-

You are now the Honorary President of my fan club (such a great group...I love them all)...
I'm do honored!

Yes...aeons ago...almost four years ago, when I launched the blog, with Brian Dittmar then and now the art director, you were my biggest fan.

I am your biggest fan (and that's a crowded group...definitely). I stand in awe of your charm, your grace, (your lovely husband...)..and your enthusiasm and cheerful demeanor. All precious.

much love DIANE

Anonymous said...

GOSH!! That is all I can think to say!

I love being among "BRILLIANCE"; and I have been lucky indeed! You are one, Tony Duquette was so near to my heart...(HUtton and Ruthie had to write me to STOP sending letters of condolence after he died! )

I love soaking up the kind of "open mind" you have!

Lucky me! And lucky we are to be subscribers!



faye said...

such an awesome place!:D

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for listing and linking to where some of the materials for this excellent project have come from. As an architect, this type of information is invaluable, and I have already specified 3 of these companies on projects I am currently working on here in Chicago.