Hollywood Hauntings and Historical Renovations Come Together

AE Design, MOA Architecture, Saunders Heath, Thompson Engineering and Raker Rhodes Engineering Renovate The Caretaker’s Cottage at The Stanley Hotel

The Shining is one of the most widely recognized psychological horror films in the history of Hollywood. The bone-chilling storyline is derived from Stephen King’s bestselling novel based on his own experience at the property. But it was the haunted hotel that inspired the film adaptation that quickly became known as one of the most recognizable buildings of Hollywood: The Stanley Hotel.

While this site may be known best for its inspiration for The Shining and a haunted legacy riddled with anecdotes of paranormal activity, it has long been a historic site and tourist attraction in Estes Park, Colorado.

As The Stanley Hotel was built in 1909, many components of the property have been in need of renovation.To bring the hotel into the 21st Century, AE Design has improved the overall aesthetics while preserving the historical integrity and identity as an iconic and haunted landmark of Hollywood.

Based on AE Design’s strong track record in historical renovation and preservation projects, our team was called upon to join MOA Architecture and The Stanley Hotel in its vision to make necessary lighting updates to The Caretaker’s Cottage -  a building located on the hotel property that has been transformed into the newest tour attraction which will feature a replica of the bathroom featured in The Shining. The vision behind the Cottage’s renovation was to incorporate this property as a rentable lodging space for large groups.

AE Design worked alongside their project partners, MOA Architecture, Saunders Heath, Thompson Engineering and Raker Rhodes Engineering, to ensure a collaborative and cohesive design process for the refurbishment of this site.

The Stanley Hotel caretakers cottageThe Caretaker’s Cottage is an integral part of the Stanley Hotel District, and based on its rich history, the renovation was required to adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for the treatment of historic properties written by the National Park Service and revised in 1990.

Before any renovation work had been done on the property, AE Design conducted thorough research to ensure the light design and fixtures mirrored the authentic history of The Caretaker’s Cottage and match the design style of the time period that the Cottage would have been built. Through inspecting and mapping out these intentional design features such as the lighting fixture style, typical lighting fixture locations and selecting the historic style switches, we were able to incorporate lighting into a part of the Historic Stanley storyline and a part of the regular historic hotel tours.

The Stanley Hotel caretakers cottage fireplace roomThe building is two stories tall and features an original fireplace as a focal point on the main floor, which includes a large kitchen, living room and library, along with an outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. To reflect the foundations of the existing and surrounding spaces, the project was approached with specific designs in mind. For instance, the space was designed with LED bulbs in a vintage style and with a warm color temperature to emulate the incandescent lamp style of the time. The main wood staircase was re-designed to its original, charming character to provide access to both levels and the second floor features three bedrooms, including a primary suite. Lastly, a lighting controls system was provided for the hotel staff to control the lighting as needed from the main hotel reception desk.

Architectural drawings were developed to ensure an authentic return to the historic significance of the caretaker’s cottage preservation.. And to transport visitors back in time , period-correct antiques and memorabilia were highlighted throughout the building. Some antiques were even discovered in spooky, surprising places, as our contractor partners uncovered several children's toys hidden in the walls.

Paying homage to the iconic “horror” of this site, our team prioritized retaining and preserving the historical character of the building to ensure an authentic return to the historic significance of The Caretaker’s Cottage and the lighting captured the famous notion of the property.

Photo credit to The UnfoundDoor