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July 17, 2012

In 1985, the Sprague Electric Mill in North Adams, Massachusetts, closed down. Like many similar western Massachusetts towns supporting heavy industry, North Adams relied on its factories to provide the jobs and sense of community that are at the core of a thriving city. While cultural attractions in nearby Williamstown and Great Barrington had kept the youth and creative classes hovering in the area, the town itself was in danger of falling off the map.

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  Located on the site of renovated mill worker’s quarters, Porches still retains its aura of down-to-earth livability even as it houses some of the world’s most impressive artists. Consisting of six multi-hued 1890’s Victorian row houses, its two connecting porches give the illusion of one extremely long vacation cabin.Designed by Nancy Fitzpatrick (the mastermind behind the newly revamped Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts) and her design team, Porches is situated directly in heart of the Berkshires, 2.5 hours from Boston and 3.5 hours from New York City.

    Located on the site of renovated mill worker’s quarters, Porches still retains its aura of down-to-earth livability even as it houses some of the world’s most impressive artists. Consisting of six multi-hued 1890’s Victorian row houses, its two connecting porches give the illusion of one extremely long vacation cabin.Designed by Nancy Fitzpatrick (the mastermind behind the newly revamped Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts) and her design team, Porches is situated directly in heart of the Berkshires, 2.5 hours from Boston and 3.5 hours from New York City.

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  Lined with antique rocking chairs, the space has a laid-back summer camp quality that seems to extend through the seasons.

    Lined with antique rocking chairs, the space has a laid-back summer camp quality that seems to extend through the seasons.

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  Porches Inn has 26 distinctive guest rooms, each averaging 300 square feet, including 18 regular and three extended-stay suites. Each suite includes a kitchenette and washer/dryer, five suites feature a loft, and eight guest rooms offer private outdoor porches.

    Porches Inn has 26 distinctive guest rooms, each averaging 300 square feet, including 18 regular and three extended-stay suites. Each suite includes a kitchenette and washer/dryer, five suites feature a loft, and eight guest rooms offer private outdoor porches.

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  With four primary color schemes featured, headboard walls are painted terra cotta, pale blueberry, celery green, and sage green to complement wooden floors painted olive green, red, pumpkin and buttercup.As part of her creative process Fitzpatrick conceptualized the design for each room by first establishing its color combination, and then matched vintage and modern pieces to accentuate the hues.

    With four primary color schemes featured, headboard walls are painted terra cotta, pale blueberry, celery green, and sage green to complement wooden floors painted olive green, red, pumpkin and buttercup.As part of her creative process Fitzpatrick conceptualized the design for each room by first establishing its color combination, and then matched vintage and modern pieces to accentuate the hues.

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  As part of an overall design aesthetic, patterned-wool area rugs decorate the floors, while an extensive collection of mid-century lamps, etched glass mirrors, and vintage vinyl upholstered furniture accent deep taupe–colored contemporary pieces.

    As part of an overall design aesthetic, patterned-wool area rugs decorate the floors, while an extensive collection of mid-century lamps, etched glass mirrors, and vintage vinyl upholstered furniture accent deep taupe–colored contemporary pieces.

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  Painted bureaus and bedside tables made in Vermont mix with an eclectic assortment of vintage furniture. Though it varies room to room, artwork is predominately paint-by-number style from the 1950s and 1960s.

    Painted bureaus and bedside tables made in Vermont mix with an eclectic assortment of vintage furniture. Though it varies room to room, artwork is predominately paint-by-number style from the 1950s and 1960s.

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  Giving an extra dose of country home comfort, window treatments of natural linen panels are placed in each of the rooms. Featuring grommets and wire in lieu of rod pockets, all window treatments were designed by Fitzpatrick and manufactured by Country Curtains, the catalogue company her parents started.

    Giving an extra dose of country home comfort, window treatments of natural linen panels are placed in each of the rooms. Featuring grommets and wire in lieu of rod pockets, all window treatments were designed by Fitzpatrick and manufactured by Country Curtains, the catalogue company her parents started.

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  As part of Porches unique aesthetic, local company Crispina Ffrench Bedspreads was recruited to furnish each of the rooms’ distinctive tonal patchwork linens and bedding. For those looking to recreate any of the Porches looks on their own, room furnishings are available to purchase through a retail list created by the inn.

    As part of Porches unique aesthetic, local company Crispina Ffrench Bedspreads was recruited to furnish each of the rooms’ distinctive tonal patchwork linens and bedding. For those looking to recreate any of the Porches looks on their own, room furnishings are available to purchase through a retail list created by the inn.

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  For a unique Agatha Christie touch, many rooms come complete with a vault, safely tucked behind a vintage picture or wall hanging.

    For a unique Agatha Christie touch, many rooms come complete with a vault, safely tucked behind a vintage picture or wall hanging.

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  Like many of the decorative items at Porches, lamps are often sourced via eBay and local flea markets. Moon Shine Lamps and Shades Out of Spring Branch, Texas, designed many of the shades.

    Like many of the decorative items at Porches, lamps are often sourced via eBay and local flea markets. Moon Shine Lamps and Shades Out of Spring Branch, Texas, designed many of the shades.

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  For a luxe evening soak, larger bathrooms (measuring 75-100 square feet) feature either Jacuzzi-style or claw-foot bathtubs with separate showers. The bathrooms also boast slate floors and distinctive touches like frosted glass and mirror frames salvaged from the building’s original window frames. Bathrobes and towels hang from metal wall pegs reminiscent of 19th-century Shaker design.

    For a luxe evening soak, larger bathrooms (measuring 75-100 square feet) feature either Jacuzzi-style or claw-foot bathtubs with separate showers. The bathrooms also boast slate floors and distinctive touches like frosted glass and mirror frames salvaged from the building’s original window frames. Bathrobes and towels hang from metal wall pegs reminiscent of 19th-century Shaker design.

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  If you get a chance, try to enjoy some of the exquisite complimentary toiletries, the Zero Percent Collection by Gilchrest & Soames.

    If you get a chance, try to enjoy some of the exquisite complimentary toiletries, the Zero Percent Collection by Gilchrest & Soames.

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  A great meeting point for other travelers, the dining hall features a complimentary breakfast buffet and plenty of wholesome sunlight.

    A great meeting point for other travelers, the dining hall features a complimentary breakfast buffet and plenty of wholesome sunlight.

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  If you can’t make it downstairs, complimentary breakfast can be delivered to your suite inside galvanized metal lunch boxes by Comes L. May Fabricators—an homage to the workers who used to inhabit the property.

    If you can’t make it downstairs, complimentary breakfast can be delivered to your suite inside galvanized metal lunch boxes by Comes L. May Fabricators—an homage to the workers who used to inhabit the property.

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  Relax at night (or in the daytime if you’ve have an especially long week) with a cocktail at the in-house Porches bar.

    Relax at night (or in the daytime if you’ve have an especially long week) with a cocktail at the in-house Porches bar.

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  If you feel like hanging around for a little bit before venturing out, meeting rooms and a business "nook" are located on premises.

    If you feel like hanging around for a little bit before venturing out, meeting rooms and a business "nook" are located on premises.

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  Part of an ongoing motif, vintage and thrifted plates are set up throughout the interior of rooms and in several of the hallways.

    Part of an ongoing motif, vintage and thrifted plates are set up throughout the interior of rooms and in several of the hallways.

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  Connecting suites and floors, a series of Victorian hallways and staircases give the interiors a New Orleans-like feel.

    Connecting suites and floors, a series of Victorian hallways and staircases give the interiors a New Orleans-like feel.

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  Here's another view of the hallways.

    Here's another view of the hallways.

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  A 14-by-38-foot outdoor pool and hot tub with heated deck is open year-round, 24 hours a day. A sauna, shower, and changing rooms are also nearby. For those looking for a workout, a separate building houses a 425-square-foot, 24-hour modern fitness center with large plate-glass windows overlooking MASS MoCA.

    A 14-by-38-foot outdoor pool and hot tub with heated deck is open year-round, 24 hours a day. A sauna, shower, and changing rooms are also nearby. For those looking for a workout, a separate building houses a 425-square-foot, 24-hour modern fitness center with large plate-glass windows overlooking MASS MoCA.

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Porhces Inn in North Adams, Massachusetts

The city's proximity to Williams College (who put on a theater festival every summer, among other events) was for many years North Adams’s most immediate saving grace. However, this all changed with the opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in 1999.

Porches Inn in North Adams, Massachusetts

As part of Porches unique aesthetic, local company Crispina Ffrench Bedspreads was recruited to furnish each of the rooms’ distinctive tonal patchwork linens and bedding. For those looking to recreate any of the Porches looks on their own, room furnishings are available to purchase through a retail list created by the inn.

The brainchild of core staff from the Williams College Museum of Art, MASS MoCA is the largest modern art museum in the country, and host to a range of unique large-scale projects bringing about a revitalization of North Adams. The museum, which attracts fresh creative blood every year via interning students, smaller galleries looking for satellite locations, and visiting artists involved in residencies, created a modest wealth of nearby attractions. This burgeoning scene includes restaurants and cafes, affordable studio spaces and artists' lofts, and, most importantly, a second chance for the town.

A small but steady creative class has sprung up in the area, and is buoyed by cheap rents (on a recent trip, a main drag storefront was going for $250 a month), an ever-evolving local arts council, and a newly-energized city college (the MA College of Liberal Arts).

Though not as trendy as neighboring Great Barrington, North Adams has nonetheless become an interesting player in the global design scene, and a world-famous cultural center frequented by thousands of international visitors. Drawing renowned artists like David Byrne and Jenny Holzer, along with increasing numbers of world-wearied arts patrons of New York and Boston, a real demand for culturally savvy and sophisticated accommodations arose. Though local chain motels and collegiate hotels in Williamstown were previously adequate, a growing arts epicenter needed a base location where visiting tastemakers could congregate, relax, and experience the town from a new angle.

Filling this demand came Porches Inn, an “industrial granny chic” boutique hotel. Opened in 2001, it features a mix of eclectic designs with 21st century technological flourishes. Catering to those looking for a mini-vacation with a cosmopolitan touch close to home, Porches provides the perfect getaway for those searching for a respite from the stifling galleries and cramped apartments of a larger northeastern city, without sacrificing taste or personal standards.

Conveniently situated directly across from MASS MoCA, with an unpretentious atmosphere and a laid-back aesthetic, Porches provides those visiting North Adams invaluable luxuries like an on-premise pool, frequent events, a pleasant mix of guests of all ages, and most importantly, a beautiful and comfortable place to spend the night.

Click here to see more images of Porches Inn

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