Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Catherine Berardi, Director of Design, Design & Construction
Catherine has been working in the design and hotel business for almost 20 years now. She thinks back to her first day at her first design job and jokes about how big her hair was back then! When she looks back, she says it amazes her how much she’s learned, and amazes her even more about how much more there is to learn. Catherine claims that design is always evolving which tends to keep things interesting and never boring.
SBHR: In your role you are interacting with suppliers, artists, other SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts associates and more. What values assist you with these interactions?
CB: Engagement – I find the hotel business fascinating, so I am interested in all aspects of it; everything from understanding how a hotel operates and makes money, to understanding both building design and construction, and the associated costs.
There are dependencies and interplay between each of these areas and the better I understand them all helps me to contribute to the success of the project.
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about your role?
CB: Integrity – Meeting operations & brand requirements, budgets, schedules, all while making sure the design is unique and eye-catching, all contribute to the success of a project. There are some competing priorities in satisfying the stakeholders – finding the right balance brings integrity to the project.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
CB: Performance – I work with a variety of groups internally and externally. Trust and respect is the key to bringing people together in the spirit of teamwork. The collaboration of the project team really does contribute to a successful design and project.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
CB: This is a tough one, I would have to say it’s a tie between Growth and Quality. Planning and designing hotels is pretty exciting. No matter how great our final design is, I always strive to make the next one even better. I like to keep my expectations high and set our last project as a benchmark for the next one.
SBHR: What helps you decide on the design to be used in a new or renovation of an existing hotel?
CB: It’s a collaborative effort. The SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts senior team and consultant team review the project, location, and anticipated guest profile. We then brainstorm on what makes sense from a conceptual level and continue to reference back to this original idea to ensure the integrity of design stays intact through design development.
SBHR: What type of design do you have in your own home? Do you have any tips to share on the new trends in design?
CB: Our house is a +100 year old farmhouse that we renovated. We kept the charm and vintage of the house and have designed it to suit our lifestyle. Big open floor plan that is great for hosting small and big groups. The furnishings are classic and neutrals and respect the era of the house design.
I suggest that basic design/architecture should be timeless and classic – these will be long term holds, usually. Accessories and smaller elements can be trendy so that you can change them out every few years.