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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Find Design Inspiration in Louisville

New curated and custom furniture shops have cropped up alongside traditional antiques dealers, making this Kentucky city a design-hound destination.


1. Where to Stay

A guest room at the art-focused 21C Museum Hotel.  

Go retro at the Inn at Woodhaven (from $125), whose eight rooms pull off the Victorian look without feeling staid. Most of the architectural features are original from the 1835 construction—en-suite fireplaces, thick wooden floors, beveled moldings, and even some of the paint varnishes—but the third-floor attic suite features the most modern look thanks to its exposed-brick walls. Help yourself to bourbon from the honor bar in the evening, and start the day with a two-course breakfast of organic fruit, cage-free eggs, and Cheddar-garlic toast.

Drink up the décor at GraleHaus (1034 Bardstown Rd., 502-459-9939; from $125), opening in December behind the courtyard of beloved beer bar (and repurposed church) Holy Grale. Occupying the upper floors of a century-old home, Louisville’s first design-focused bed and breakfast features three rooms furnished with a mix of new and old items, many from the eclectic shop SCOUT, and two rooms come with claw-foot tubs from the British bath company Victoria + Albert. A handpicked selection of beers will be available for in-room purchase, while the first floor will house a public café, overseen by chef Andy Meyers.

Glean inspiration from the impressive art displayed throughout the 21C Museum Hotel (from $229), where basement gallery spaces, guest rooms, and even the elevator waiting areas are all venues for showcasing 21st-century works. Rooms in this former warehouse feature exposed brick walls, silver mint-julep cups, and Malin + Goetz bath products, but for a one-of-a-kind experience book Asleep in the Cyclone (from $339), a site-specific installation that doubles as a hotel room constructed from repurposed barn wood and custom textiles by New York artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe.

Published on Oct 31, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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