Cool pad

Ace Hotel, Seattle

Not so long ago, the Ace Hotel was a Christian mission; these days, it plays host to sleekly dressed urbanites with spartan design sensibilities. A pared-down, utilitarian look is the order of the day. "When we put the rooms together, we spent a lot of time thinking about what you really need," says hotel partner Doug Herrick. The results are stark and functional, with innovative built-in furniture and occasional bold splashes of color.

Design: Eric Hentz, Mallet, Seattle (206/767-1875)

Info: Ace Hotel (28 rooms from $65; www.acehotel.com or 206/448-4721)

Take the look home

Contrast a neutral background with controlled color

"Using white as a backdrop makes the space feel simple and clean," says Doug Herrick. "But color warms it up and keeps it from feeling clinical. Against this mostly white backdrop, the red blankets really pop. It still reads as a white space - but a warm and inviting white space."

Shop salvage stores for accessories with character

Throughout the hotel, you'll find items from vintage shops, restaurant supply outlets, and army/navy surplus stores. Not only are these goods durable, but their industrial style also fits the Ace look. Case in point: the 1950s-era army blankets.

Reduce visual clutter

To keep the small rooms as streamlined as possible, the owners and architect devised strategies for storage. "We decided one of the most important needs was a place to quickly stow away your things," says Herrick. Thus, a blank wall became a storage wall, allowing guests to tuck away suitcases and other personal items.

Sources

Bedding: Blankets from Federal Army and Navy Surplus (from $23; www.gr8gear.com or 206/443-1818)

Rocking chair: Eames replica from Modernica ($349; www.modernica.net or 323/933-0383)

Shower curtain: Heavy-duty welding curtain from Central Welding Supply ($90; www.centralwelding.com or 206/766-9353)