Carleton Varney Decorated Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel, Masco Cottage

It's been snowing here again for the past two days. And, I'm thinking about summer, again.

Most of my childhood, in mid-June, just about when the lilacs were starting to bloom, we would pack up the family car and head to Mackinac Island, Michigan.

For many, Mackinac Island is synonymous with The Grand Hotel, which is decorated by the interior design legend Carleton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper.

A quick Mackinac primer for those of you not familiar: The only way to the island is via boat or air.

No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island. 

Transportation choices: Horse...
Joe Braun Photography

...Pedaling or walking, as demonstrated by the actress Emma Roberts, photographed on Mackinac for the November issue of Marie Claire by Guy Aroch.

The streets are perfectly picturesque. 

The houses on the island...ya, I've just been dreaming about spending the summer in one of these since 4th grade.  Instead of garages, many have a carriage house and stable in the back. 

The Grand Hotel opened in 1887. It has the world's longest front porch complete with the perfect blue ceiling, a swimming pool named after Esther Williams who shot the 1947 movie "This Time for Keeps" at the hotel and a dress code.  And if you are interested in just taking a peek at the grounds or lobby and aren't a guest, you have to fork over a little cash for the privilege. 

Carleton Varney first began work on the interiors in 1976. His work with the owners, Dan and Amelia Musser also includes four of their personal residences. That's client/designer relationship for the record books!

The guest rooms and public spaces are perfect examples of Mr. Varney's signature use of colors, floral patterns and contrast. 

No two of the guest rooms are alike. 

Entrance to the Grand Ballroom
Joe Braun Photography

A bar with a view...The Cupola Bar 

Just one of the places to dine within the hotel. 

Isn't it all so pretty?