Editor’s Note: The Horton Hotel in Downtown Boone is hosting a ceremonial groundbreaking from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23 at 611 West King St. Refreshments and snacks will be served. For more information about the event, call 828-202-4262.
By Jesse Wood
The design and renovation of the historic H.W. Horton Building into a “hip,” three-story boutique hotel with a rooftop deck is underway in downtown Boone.
Fulton and Denise Lovin recently closed on the 9,000 square-foot-building on King Street that used to house Art Walk. On Monday afternoon, the Lovins invited High Country Press inside to learn more about the project.
The lower level will feature a cocktail lounge, reception area and a couple hotel rooms. An elevator will access the other floors. In all, The Horton Hotel will have 14 rooms. The project is about a year away from completion.
Denise used adjectives like hip, cozy, warm and intimate to describe the cocktail lounge and the boutique-style hotel.
“The look is more sophisticated,” Denise said of the project, “… and for people looking to be downtown, with access to everything, it’s something unique and different from the commercial hotel experience.”
The rooftop deck will feature an amazing view of Howard’s Knob and surrounding landscapes. With a fire pit and plenty of urban landscaping, the rooftop deck will provide a space for events that can accommodate about 50 people.
Denise said the roof space could be ideal for sunrise yoga, chef “takeovers” and other interesting ideas. While a restaurant isn’t planned, some kind of food element is in the works and, of course, a full liquor, wine and beer menu will be available.
Fulton said that an 8-foot-by-8-foot picture of H.W. Horton, who built the building decades ago, will be placed on one of the walls near the entrance. The picture, which is attached, features H.W. Horton sitting on a horse in military garb during Boone’s centennial celebration in 1949.
“Everything is kind of spinning off this [picture] as far color tones and minimalism,” Fulton said.
Fulton and Denise stressed the word “local” when talking about the project, whether it has to do with incorporating the local history into the design and theme of the building or hiring local firms and individuals to assist on the project.
For example, Frederick Coffey, described as a “bar motif expert” by Fulton; Parick Beville, principal at IONCON, an engineering consulting firm; Teresa Buckwalter, co-founder & principal at Destination By Design, a planning and design firm; Beth Jacquot, graphic designer at Destination By Design; Mathew Paul Pavelchak of Pavelchak Architecture; architect Jason Miller; and Jeanne Mercer-Ballard, an interior designer, were among some of the folks involved in the project that were present for a private charrette on Monday afternoon.
This boutique hotel will complement Lovins’ other properties, especially the couple’s 100-acre farm in Trade, Tenn., which has become a popular wedding destination in the High Country. They also own several vacation rentals, including in downtown Boone and Blowing Rock – not to mention student-housing rentals.
“After being here for 40 years, I finally found a project that I’m very passionate about and think will be a great fit for downtown Boone, especially with the [historic Appalachian Theatre being restored],” Fulton said. “We are trying to coordinate both projects for a quote unquote change in downtown Boone.”
Fulton noted that a formal ground breaking for the boutique hotel will take place on Feb. 23 – at which point the Lovins will make a “fairly sizable donation” to the theatre-restoration project. The public is invited.
For more information, follow progress at The Horton Hotel Facebook page.