SoCal life isn’t always about red carpets and movie premieres. Studio HBA tapped the region’s playful side to add a (citrus) accent to the design of Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Los Angeles/Sherman Oaks.

When life gives you lemons, or even oranges…you take them and use them as a source of design inspiration for a 96-key hotel renovation in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County. At least you do if you are Studio HBA. For Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Los Angeles/Sherman Oaks, the Studio HBA team, along with HBA Procurement, turned to the San Fernando Valley’s history as a hub of citrus production to add a unique twist to their Southern California-and-film inspired rethink of the public areas, guest rooms and suites, and guest room corridors.

“Our design narrative is driven by the San Fernando Valley’s rich history, relaxed indoor/outdoor lifestyle, film industry and, yes, the citrus groves that once blanketed the Valley,” says Alisa Chodos, principal, Studio HBA.

If that sounds like a complex and rather baroque brief for a hotel designed for hip, younger and young-at-heart fans of the effortless Southern California lifestyle, that’s because the list of influences was fed through a visual “translation” into a modern, playful design vernacular. That is especially important because, as the hotel accommodates a diverse intersection of guests across business, leisure and extended stay segments, versatility was a must in every space.

“Throughout the hotel, guests will discover stylized references to the major movie studios located in the Valley during the 1920s, the once thriving citrus industry and the year-round sunshine highlighted in the large dramatic features, accent wallcoverings, artwork and color palette,” continues Chodos.

Upon entry to the lobby, an oversized floor-to-ceiling mural of orange tree branches and oranges sets a bold tone from behind the front desk. A 12-foot preserved orange tree in the middle of the lobby squeezes in a juicy visual reminder of the region’s origins with a hint of Hollywood, larger-than-life swagger. The high ceilings that frame the unconventional centerpiece is a refined patchwork of wood planks and finishes for an haute rendition of citrus crates. Floor lamps resemble klieg lights, art and accessories marry the cinematic and agricultural influences, and flexible seating arrangements cater to large or small groups. Guests can “picnic” under the tree at a communal table designed to evoke the furniture of beloved outdoor meals. For guests seeking a quieter corner and more privacy, intimate seating groups round out the multi-use public space.

“We lowered the lighting in the lounge, located to the right of the lobby, to give the space a more residential feel where guests are less ‘on stage,’” explains Chodos.

The same exuberant, zestful energy from the public spaces extends into the design of the more private areas. Black and white floor tile is a classic but dynamic solution for the guest room elevator lobbies. Custom-printed antique orange grove photos tie the elevator lobby consoles back to the overarching themes of the hotel’s design. Moving into the guest room corridors, oversized nightscapes based on the cinematic feel of the San Fernando Valley locale are printed onto the wallcovering to create a central feature and provide support to another key pillar of the design narrative.

Inside the guest rooms, a sense of place comes from the delightfully sunny colors, vibe and inspirations. Casepiece cubbies and desk chairs bring the bright sunshine indoors. The artwork draws on sweetly remembered nostalgia. Hand-selected vintage postcards are pinned to a cork board, tracking the happy vacations of days long gone but never forgotten. Handmade wire frame sculptures of movie cameras bring a similarly old-school flair. Each room features a small kitchen to allow for extended stay guests to prepare and enjoy meals in their rooms.

Project: Hampton Inn & Suites Sherman Oaks
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Design Studio: HBA
Photo Credits: Sean Moore