Guesthouse: 9 Design Ideas to Steal from a Shoppable Boutique Hotel in Baltimore

Three years ago, Shawn Chopra and Anne Morgan opened Good Neighbor, a Baltimore cafe and retail space that celebrates local artisans. “Baltimore has an amazing group of creatives, designers, and woodworkers,” Shawn says. “We really wanted to find a home to showcase their products, make it interactive, and immerse people into their furniture, books, and ceramics in the disguise of a coffee shop.”

Guesthouse, the new boutique hotel in the two floors above Good Neighbor, is an extension of this mission. A stay in one of the seven suites gives guests the opportunity to live with the products that Shawn curates—and buy them, too. Nearly every object in the lobby, bedrooms, and bathrooms is shopable. “All those items are for discovery,” says Shawn. “People can really test everything out.”

In addition to highlighting Baltimore’s creative community, Guesthouse also features Scandinavian brands that aren’t often found in Maryland and honors Shawn and Anne’s Indian and Egyptian heritages. These close-by and far-flung influences mingle to create a contemporary minimalist aesthetic that’s infused with warmth and personality.

Here, nine design ideas to steal:

Photography by Justin Timothy Temple.

1. Design with nostalgia in mind.

the standout feature of the lobby is the sculptural reception desk, which was i 14
Above: The standout feature of the lobby is the sculptural reception desk, which was informed by Shawn and Anne’s nostalgia for their favorite places. “We are obviously super inspired by everything that’s happening in Egypt, but also by the pyramids,” explains Shawn. “We designed the lobby bar to create this crisscross pyramid effect using a Baltimore native brick in the color of sand. It also reminds us of breeze blocks in my grandmother’s house in India. So we took a big moment in the space and mixed all three of our worlds.”

2. Install a statement sink.

another striking lobby element? the long concrete sink by lukeworks that&a 15
Above: Another striking lobby element? The long concrete sink by LukeWorks that’s available for guests to use while trying the Le Labo body care and fragrance products. Shawn chose concrete as a nod to his hometown of Chandigarh, India, which was famously designed in Brutalist style by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.

the sink is the main attraction in the powder room, too. its intricate basin is 16
Above: The sink is the main attraction in the powder room, too. Its intricate basin is modeled after stepwells in India.

3. Swap white oak for Douglas fir.

instead of popular white oak, shawn opted for douglas fir floors throughout gue 17
Above: Instead of popular white oak, Shawn opted for Douglas fir floors throughout Guesthouse. “We carry Danish brands, and Douglas fir is really big in Denmark,” he says. “It is also native to Maryland and has been reclaimed from a lot of Baltimore row homes. We work with a local company called Brick + Board that restores flooring. They had tons of Douglas fir because white oak is super in right now. Using this reclaimed wood that still has some nail holes in it brings character to the building. We did a gentle whitewash on it to modernize it a bit.”