In the Golden Triangle, artists paint the rooms of a future hotel in The Acoma House
Just one block from the Denver Museum of Art campus, a gleaming purple brick building at 1114 Acoma St. is taken over by some of Denver’s prominent muralists.
The historic Golden Triangle building operated as a communal guesthouse for years before Christina and Mike Eisenstein bought it about two years ago. The couple own and operate a few other Airbnb and residential properties, but they knew they wanted this one to give guests some sort of themed experience. Then they met local artist Pat Milbery, who suggested they incorporate the work of local artists.
The resulting project is The Acoma House, a boutique hotel that offers guests the opportunity to stay in a room designed by their favorite artist.
While hotel rooms can often seem fleeting, corporate, and even sterile, rooms at The Acoma House are designed to be incredibly stylish. Each of the 24 units is designed by a well-known local muralist including Chris Haven, Grow Love, “JUST” Giovannie, Lindee Zimmer, Danielle SeeWalker, Alex Pangburn, Romelle, Moe Gram, Koko Bayer and Marissa Napoletano. Customers will be able to book the room that suits them best through booking sites like Airbnb, Expedia and VRBO.
“I hope their experience is something more personal than a hotel, because it’s like stepping into an artist’s space,” said Christina Eisenstein, co-owner of Acoma House. “I just think the building is really fun. This is what I hope people feel when they come here. It’s just fun, whimsical, and different.
Artists were urged to make their “Airbnb Appropriate” murals – no profanity and no violence. Other than that, they have complete freedom to paint whatever they want on the walls, ceiling, floors and even AC units in their room. Meanwhile, Eisenstein is working on the design of the space, selecting furniture, tiles, and lighting to complement each artist’s distinct style and color palette. Each room will also have a QR code displayed on their doorstep that links to the artist’s website or Instagram.
For his Acoma House room, the artist Johnny Draco wanted to create a fluid and welcoming environment.
“One of the things I first thought about was to create something abstract, so that it could be interpreted by anyone who lives here,” he said.
With any large-scale mural, artists must navigate the properties and configurations of the space. Draco noticed that the bathroom in his unit was bathed in yellow light coming from the skylight, so he incorporated that color into the design, painting the walls so that the room was cast in a reddish glow.
Marissa Napoletano wanted a cohesive vibe in her unit, with each room inside fostering a slightly different vibe. The bathroom is dynamic, the bedroom is warm and comfortable, and the living room is airy and breathable.
“The big idea was immersion. I mean, I’ve never seen anyone live with my art, ”she said. “It’s such an honor, but it’s also a lot of pressure. You really want someone to like it because they are going to live there. For a mural, you have the option of moving away. If you live in an Airbnb, you have to really make people feel comfortable. But also, I want to give them a little glimpse of my brain.
The new hotel will add a splash of color to the rapidly evolving Golden Triangle district this year.
The area has recently been a center of growth and development initiatives in the city, as luxury buildings and skyscrapers appear. Over the summer, Denver City Council passed new neighborhood rezoning measures intended to create a denser, taller urban environment, and to allow more pedestrian streets and more affordable housing, which increasingly rare in the highly sought after area.
Eisenstein said the Acoma House building, which was originally built in 1902, was previously a guesthouse owned by the same people who own 11th Avenue Hostel on Broadway. It offered subsidized housing, which made it one of the last buildings in the Golden Triangle to do so. Eisenstein said when they entered space it was full of furniture and items that former residents had left behind, including several living turtles, which Eisenstein had to bring to the Human Society.
Eisenstein said they also need to reconfigure the space a bit. For example, it came with shared bathrooms, which they have since removed. And when they started construction, they found skeletons of birds and bats in the walls.
From now on, the artists are refining their murals and the Maison Acoma team is gradually installing the furniture and lighting in each room. But there are a few more things the Eisensteins need to do before House Acoma can open to the public. They will need to obtain their accommodation permit and a certificate of occupancy.
The Eisensteins are hoping that guests can book their stay at The Acoma House as early as December 2021. Until then, here’s a look inside.