The Roycroft Inn Restoration

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The Roycroft Inn Restoration

East Aurora, NY
Year Completed
Building Type
48,000 sq. ft.
Margaret L. Wendt Foundation

The center of the Arts & Crafts movement in the United States for the first third of the 20th century, was the Roycroft Campus which was home to hundreds of America’s finest craftspeople and hosted both the famous and ordinary visitors of the day. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the Inn required a complete exterior and interior restoration including all of the primary public spaces, the creation of 29 new guest suites in two buildings that provide contemporary standards of comfort within the unique historic environment. M/E/P systems including fire protection were replaced throughout.

The program called for the creation of a number of flexible dining spaces of varying sizes allowing for multiple events such as weddings, and smaller, private dinners to occur simultaneously with dining for Inn guests. A single kitchen was to serve all venues.

The Inn had undergone numerous alterations following the death of its charismatic founder, Elbert Hubbard. These changes incorporated 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s “contemporary” materials, finishes and lighting. Many original Arts and Crafts built-in artifacts were sold to museums and collectors. A unique aspect of the Roycroft Inn was that virtually all of these artifacts were originally designed and fabricated by the numerous Roycroft Campus artisans including Dard Hunter and Karl Kipp. Chandeliers and art glass windows were crafted by these artisans skilled at metal work. Reproductions needed for the restoration work were made by Western New York artisans using originals loaned by private collectors and museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. An extensive collection of original Stickley and Roycroft furniture was restored under the guidance of HHL and our Interior Design and Furnishings consultants Roche and Co., who were responsible for all furnishings selection.

The design and construction of the Inn paralleled that of the Roycroft Campus. Buildings were constructed as the need arose as the Roycroft Movement gained momentum. In the case of the Inn, six connected buildings were built between 1897 and 1907. Three of the six were remodeled from their short lived purpose as artisan workshops to components of the Inn. In each case, the essential elements of the three, such as exposed wood structure, were retained in the new use and finally celebrated in our restoration work.

Early in the design process, the client, a private foundation, decided that the restoration should be designed as a tax credit project which raised the bar for our restoration work. Part 1, including the plan, was approved, as was Part 2. The client elected not to sell the tax credits so Part 3 approval was not pursued.

Design Goals

Design Solution