Flip plan gets well-earned A


“I love it when a plan comes together.” So said John “Hannibal” Smith, the leader of the A-team, made famous by the eponymous movie and television series.

Leslie Woodbury, museum development director for the Boulder City Museum and Historic Association, could have said the same thing Monday as beautifully decorated rooms were unveiled at the Boulder Dam Hotel at the conclusion of its first The Great Hotel Flip room design contest.

After months of planning by Woodbury, the design teams and their sponsors, six hotel rooms were transformed practically overnight — especially in the world of remodeling and renovations. Because the rooms are in constant use, the designers were given only four days to complete the task.

Having done some major remodeling in my own home, I know how difficult a challenge this was. I have learned the hard way that everything takes longer than you expect. And when working with an older property, the challenge is greater because you never know what you are going to find when the outer layers are peeled back.

Good planning was essential.

That sentiment was echoed by the winning designer, Teresa Giroux, who said getting everything staged and ready to go was key to completing the project on time.

That included good measurements.

Priscilla and Bret Runion, who designed a handicapped accessible room, had to be sure larger doors would open properly when new furnishings were put in place.

As is a bit of flexibility.

Jonathan Bollas, who designed the art deco-inspired room that captured the popular vote, had to change a few of his plans because of plumbing and electrical lines hidden behind the walls.

Yet I didn’t hear any complaints.

Neither did Woodbury. She said the flips were labors of love for the designers. It was obvious in the way they gushed over the tiniest of details as they showed off their work.

The stories behind the designs were just as revealing.

Woodbury said Alice Brumage used a childhood experience as the inspiration for her design. According to Woodbury, one day Brumage didn’t feel like going to school so she faked being sick. Although her mother knew her daughter’s illness was feigned, she allowed her to stay home. That happened to be the same day Shirley Temple visited, and the child actress ended up sitting at Brumage’s desk all day.

Brumage learned never to pretend again, and Temple has been a reminder ever since. Much of Brumage’s personal memorabilia found a new home in the room she designed, which pays homage to the actress’ historic visit here as well.

The Runions, who have remodeled about 40 houses as a hobby/business, made sure to include features they look for when going to hotels. And Bret said they project was just one of many that his sponsor, Desert Sun Realty, does each month in the community.

Community involvement was an added benefit of the contest. Many residents who had never visited or stayed at the hotel before happily toured the rooms. For others, it was the first time they supported the historic association and its efforts to preserve its largest asset: the hotel.

For me, I was happy to see my previous time roaming the halls of the Las Vegas Design Center as the home editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal converge with my current position as editor of the Boulder City Review.

It was kinda of like there was some master plan, putting together seemingly unrelated aspects of our lives into something that made sense.

Hannibal would have been proud.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.