Andi Fraggs talks to Kate Pierson from the B52s and partner Monica Coleman about hotels, equal marriage, Airstreams, and the ‘Love Shack’ video.
(Click images to enlarge)
Ahead of The B-52s performance this Friday at the IndigO2, I chatted with Kate Pierson and her partner Monica Coleman about their award winning hotels in the US. Kate’s Lazy Meadow is located in Mount Tremper, in the Catskill Mountains, and on the West Coast is Kate’s Lazy Desert, located in the High Desert in Landers, CA, near Palm Springs. Included there are six vintage Airstream trailers, designed by artist team Mayberry-Walker. Both offer guests unique experiences in beautiful surroundings.
Here’s what Kate and Monica had to say:
What made you initially decide to open the hotels?
Monica: Initially Kate purchased the hotel as an investment, before we had met. Because interior design is one of her passions, she had a vision of decorating the rooms and opening a hotel – easy, right? Well, purchasing a building constructed in 1952 had so much more work to be done than she expected. The infrastructure had to be completely reworked – water systems – boilers – roofs, electrical systems had to be complete upgraded. That’s where I came into the picture and helped pull that together – it took two years to completely finish.
At Kate’s Lazy Desert guests can choose to stay in your beautifully renovated Airstreams. Can you please tell us more about the airstreams? Is it true that the couple who converted the airstreams for you owned the house in the ‘Love Shack’ video?
Kate: Yes, Phillip Mayberry/Scott Walker, the owners of the house used for the location shoot for the ‘Love Shack’ video, renovated most of the trailers in their unique and colorful style. We wanted each of the trailers to have a theme, so we decided to tap their creative talents to design “Tinkerbell”, an ode to the fairy princess of Neverland; “TIKI”, which is a throwback style of our favorite era, Mid-Century; “LAVA”, which creates the feeling of being inside the lava lamp – and the others: “North to Alaska”, which were designed with the help of artist Michael Lee Scott and “Planet Air”, a spaceship themed trailer created to emulate the pink air that would be found on Planet Claire. They’re all so much fun.
Can you also give us an idea of the detail of design that goes into creating your ranches? Do you feel that it is an important part of the experience for the people who stay at your ranches?
Kate: We feel that our hotels, lodges and airstreams are more of an extension of our home. We like our guests to experience a little bit of our lifestyle and that means picking every item personally in each lodging, from the beds and kitchen cabinets to the artwork and everything in between – Its a very personal experience and often guests will make their own beds before leaving.
Monica, have you always been in this industry? What made you initially want to get into the hotelier business? Was it a mutual passion?
Monica: No, I had zero hotel experience but I did know how to run a business. I had worked in NYC as a commercial photo rep for 10 years and had recently renovated a local building in Woodstock to create a knitting shop- which had become my passion after moving full-time to Woodstock. Kate and I met during this renovation in town and she asked if I would consult on an old hotel she had just purchased nearby. That was it! Our mutual love of creating beautiful spaces was what brought us together – in business and in life.
You are currently celebrating 10 years together as a couple. How has it been maintaining a happy private working relationship and do you have any advice for our readers in how to do this?
Monica: Yes, 10 years on “Labor Day”, how appropriate! Yes we are both worker bees by nature. Kate continues to tour with the band – so for her, it’s a double duty – singing and choosing paint colors on the road. It took a while for us to establish our “system” for making it work. We realized that we had to schedule our “romantic” time into our day – even though we could spend 24/7 together – there is no real separation of “work” and “free time”, like those who have 9-5 jobs. Working is our lifestyle – so yes, the pressures of running two hotels, the band and Kate’s solo career, which has been a focus over the last two years, is quite a bit to juggle. We make “dates” for dinner – or a movie – or make sure we take time to go on a fantastic vacation where we can have time away from the business and focus on the relationship.
Do you plan on opening any more hotels or venues in the future?
Kate: Possibly. You never know – we dreamt of opening a trail of roadside “Kate’s” from Lazy Desert to Lazy meadow …
Can LGBT people currently get married in your states and, if so, do you perform, or are you planning to perform, gay weddings or ceremonies at either of your venues?
Kate: NY just passed same sex marriage, so we’ll have guests attending ceremonies, most definitely.
Monica: We think Kate should get ordained and people can come to Lazy Meadow and get hitched by Kate!
It seems as if there is a very spiritual feel to your hotels. Is this the case and, if so, how does it manifest itself?
Monica: We really put our heart and soul into creating our lodging – and I think this authenticity shows through in the hotels – we’re not a cookie cutter corporate hotel with the same dresser and artwork in every room across the country.
You both must be incredibly busy. What do you both like to do to relax and unwind in your spare time?
Kate: Yes, we are busy busy busy! We enjoy gardening and taking our two German Shepherds – Zeus and Athena – for hikes in the mountains. We love to travel and entertain friends at home…
Monica: Yes, totally swamped! We are GARDEN maniacs. We have a large garden at home and grow our own vegetables – we can and pickle and make jam – I literally have to drag Kate in for dinner from the garden at night.
If you had to choose Monica, which venue is your personal favorite?
Monica: Kate’s Lazy Desert – I love the remote and stillness of the landscape and the beautiful desert flowers.
What is the best things about running ‘Kate’s Lazy Meadow’ and ‘Kate’s Lazy Desert’?
Monica: The best part is SHOPPING! and DECORATING – and of course bringing a unique and interested experience to people all over the world!
The B-52s are currently performing around the UK, including the IndigO2 in London this Friday 16th August.