Sunset view of the Mackinaw Bridge from Grand Hotel’s famous porch, Mackinaw Island Michigan.

This past October I had the opportunity to visit Mackinaw Island and stay at Grand Hotel for a wine seminar with some friends. In addition, I had the privilege of listening to a lecture and meeting Carlton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc. He was hired along with architect Richard Bos by Dan and Amelia Musser, owners of Grand Hotel, in 1976 to begin to give the 90-year-old landmark a facelift.


Some highlights around Grand Hotel include the dinning room, entrance floor inset, main lobby, and the chandelier in “the room with a view, ” two story Cupola Lounge.

Carlton Varney, known for his use of vibrant color and bold pattern used in contrast with organic prints, spoke with great conviction of the importance of including color throughout space in support of the human condition. And Grand Hotel, along with many other auspicious hotels that he has influenced which people seek time away to relax, is an inspiring example.


Kurt Anderson our CFO, Carlton Varney and me

But these buildings – are places different of those the likes of Arketype associates work in on a day-to-day basis. For starters we’re not sporting demitasse after lunch or ballroom dancing in our conference rooms, although at times…hey why not?


Painting around the beautifully framed stained glass windows takes time and much needed equipment to reach the second floor ceiling from the main hall floor.

Vikki Baumler-Perkins, who has recently joined Arketype as a account planner and project management, writes this about the place in which she works:

“I’m looking forward to the color injected into the new building and its rich history associated with the Green Bay area.


Off with just the top of the existing hardwood flooring, some of which is over 130 years old. All holes in the flooring in which walls were removed were restored with flooring pulled from other parts of the building.

‘What’s important to me is not so much about my personal space as it is the entire atmosphere; creative, historic, lively, colorful and unrestrained. I’ve always thought our current space was cool, but the new space will definitely build upon those feelings and perceptions even more.

“Note: My mantra at the last place I worked was borrowed from the Las Vegas ads with Penn & Teller – Freedom from Beige.”


Outside freshly stripped and stained doors await their new reclaimed stained glass windows.

Well far from beige, though I don’t believe Carlton Varney will drive Jim and I to build a place that delivers a baroque-like atmosphere, his experience will help us build upon Vikki’s mantra. After all we are a design and communication business and we need a certain amount of neutral ground to create unique and individual brand communications for our diverse client base.

jimbrian.jpg floorcutaway2.jpg

Jim speaks with Brian in the paint department…behind them shows the open floor on the top floor looking down to the main level bringing both venues together, connecting stained glass windows in the original 1873 church.


Installation of the long awaited windows on the east wall of the building.

In the end we will build a place that nurtures and promotes depth, a place that fosters creativity.

Paul Meinke

Look what else we’ve been up to at:


~ by Paul James on December 28, 2006.

2 Responses to “Colour!”

  1. LOVE THE PICTURES! Cupola, Cupola!!

  2. Ahhh….Visual pleasures. It is my desire to go to The Grand Hotel
    Sept. 7-9 to meet Mr. Varney and witness his work firsthand.
    I love his philosophy on the importance of” including color throughout space in support of the human condition.” Stellar!
    Sarah Christina

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