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SpringHill Suites Ponderay
Ponderay, Idaho
Published on:
March 12, 2024 at 3:36:48 PM
Photo Credit: 
Sally and Brent Patterson
Service Areas:
Amber Slaughter

Ignite Project Features shares the stories of design, home staging and real estate projects, from designers and real estate agents across the world, detailing project origins, insights, and details about projects that you might not learn elsewhere. Project Features is designed to truly highlight the creative genius of designers and agents worldwide.

Small Town, Big Design
Ponderay, Idaho
Published on:
March 12, 2024 at 3:36:48 PM
Thank you for joining us today. Before we dive into your latest project, can you share a little bit about yourself and your company?
My name is Amber Slaughter and I’ve been designing in the hospitality industry for 19 years. I started my own firm, STUDIO a28, in January 2020 - just before the pandemic. I was able to succeed as a solo designer during that time thanks to loyal clients that followed me as I started this new journey. I hired my first employee in 2021, and since then have grown to a team of 6 employees, all of which are extremely talented and care as much about the success of STUDIO a28 as I do.
So, I'm excited to get into the details of your latest project. Can you share a brief background and some context into the context of how this project came to be?
This hotel project was the perfect example of successful client relationships and how the partnership turned into “repeat clients”. This client wanted to expand their hospitality portfolio by adding a ski chalet, resort-style hotel within driving distance of their headquarters. The hotel is perfectly located in the sweetest Northern Idaho town of Ponderay and nestled at the base of Schweitzer Ski Mountain, Lake Pend Oreille and a short distance from the quaint Downtown Sand Point.
So, each project has its, let's call it its "challenge". What aspect of this design was a challenge from the onset?
The location of this property is at the base of Schweitzer Mountain, a local hot spot for skiing, and the winter months are definitely this property’s busy season. With that in mind, we had a bit of a design struggle at times when it came to developing a design that felt like a “ski chalet” and in the winter months really immersed the guest in a wintertime oasis, but we also wanted to make sure it didn’t feel odd or “theme-y” during the summer and off-season months.
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Now that we know the challenge. What was your vision for the project?
The client had a vision of a Scandinavian-inspired ski chalet, and our vision was to marry that initial concept with local flare to really tell the story of this charming Idaho town. We wanted guests staying at this hotel to feel the heart and soul of Northern Idaho and the beauty of Schweitzer Mountains seasons all year long.
So, now you have the scope and vision. Walk us through your team of vendors, reps and specialists you leveraged to make this a reality?
We utilized a variety of amazing vendors developing custom furniture and lighting, custom Axminster carpet, textural and accent wallcoverings, wood-look and patterned floor and wall tiles, a gorgeous cylindrical fireplace, bespoke millwork and most of all our adorable 4-foot tall brass bear mount that the clients have lovingly dubbed “Paige the Bear"!
So, each project has one or two aspects that really excite us as a designer. What were a couple features that you were excited to bring to life?
The incredible wave-like millwork throughout, and of course Paige the Bear! She has instantly became the most memorable design element of the hotel and fulfilled our “Instagrammable” hot spot vision that will no-doubt be a conversation starter.
Having the right team in place when things go wrong is vital. Can you share a specific issue that came up during the project? And how did you and your team solve it?
Lead times of custom furniture and carpet that is produced overseas was definitely an issue that our team faced. Our Procurement Agent team on this project was incredible and used their magic to negotiate shipping and timelines with vendors and continually collaborate with the General Contractor. We pride ourselves on working with the best of the best in our industry and it really can make or break a project.
After Images
Now, not every project goes as planned. What design hurdle did you and your team encounter,? And how'd you overcome it?
During the height of our design process, our team faced consistent challenges with external forces trying to hinder our design and alter our concept in ways that did not suit the client or the elevated end-product that we all desired. Our end goal is always to exceed our client’s expectations, and in the end our team did just that. STUDIO a28 stood in defense of our client and was able to mitigate what could have been heated situations, allowing the design to prosper. Throughout this process, we were also commended by the client as well as the Brand for our ability to execute an inspiring design.
This has been a blast sitting with you. If our readers wanted to work with you and your company, where can they learn more? And what would be their next steps?
We have a website,, and we are also active on Instagram and Facebook and love interacting with our followers there. As far as starting a project with our team, you can contact us at and we will get back to you with any questions we have, and then finally a timeline and proposal! We are always looking for that next big challenge and exiting new designs to get our hands on. We like to think of ourselves as story-tellers, so let us tell the story of your next project!
It has been such an honor to sit with you today. I look forward to sharing more of your projects with our readers.
Thank you for your time today! I look forward to sharing more of our exciting projects with you in the near future.

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