Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Floyd Writer's Room

The following was originally published in The Floyd Press newspaper on 3/29/07 as "Hotel rooms to showcase aspects of Floyd's talent."

It’s official. The first item for the Floyd Writer's Room, one of the themed guest rooms planned for the Hotel Floyd, has been purchased. It’s an antique writing desk with lots of interesting drawers, slots for letters, and a hinged work space that opens and closes.

After our Scrabble game at the café last week, Kathleen Ingoldsby and I walked over to the hotel building site, located downtown and just behind the Old Jacksonville Cemetery. There, we met with Katherine Chantal, who took a break from her job at the Harvest Moon to join us. We, all members of the Floyd Writer’s Circle, hoped to see the location and size of the actual room. Because of the unfinished construction, we soon discovered that wouldn’t be possible, unless we wanted to climb up one of the long metal ladders. So, we headed over to the nearest antique dealer and picked out the desk.

The Hotel Floyd, contracted by Jack Wall and Kamala Bauers, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2007. Jack and Kamala are the directors of Wall Residences, an agency based in Floyd that provides foster care options for adults with developmental disabilities.

Besides the Local Writers Room, other themed rooms planned for the hotel include: The Crooked Road Room, The Blue Ridge Parkway Room, The Country Store Room, The Jacksonville Center Room, Floyd Fest Room, Harvest Moon Room, Winter Sun Room, Jeanie O’Neill Room, Malawi Room, Bell Gallery Room, Old Church Gallery Room, Floyd Figures Drawing Room, and the Chateau Morrisette Bridal Suite. All the rooms are being designed to showcase Floyd talent. Everything from what will hang on the walls to the furniture, most of which will be locally made, will highlight what our county and region have to offer. With environmental sustainability in mind, the hotel is being built using green technology. Eco-solutions, a small business that sells environmentally friendly building supplies in the Copper Hill part of Floyd County, will be providing much of the construction materials.

When Jack contacted me in February, inviting me to get involved in the themed room project, I immediately had ideas. “It should look like a study, done in warm earth tones. We’ll need bookcases, a desk, an old typewriter and Scrabble board displayed,” I told him as I jotted down the beginnings of a list. Soon after our conversation, I spoke with other members of the Floyd Writer’s Circle, contacted a couple of other local writers, and a small brainstorming group was formed.

With the input of others, my list of ideas grew longer. Kathleen, archivist for the Floyd Historical Society, envisioned a collection of books by Floydians and about Floyd that would span the past 100 years. Fred First, author of Slow Road Home suggested the room have audio capability on a computer for guests to hear local writers reading.

Simple, classic, warm, and uncluttered were some of the words we used to convey our vision to Jeanie O’Neill, interior decorator working on the hotel project. Jeanie, artist and owner of “The O’Neill Gallery and Boutique” agreed to hold our first brainstorming session at her house.

By the end of that first meeting, the long list of ideas I had been collecting had shortened, as we divided up tasks among us. Katherine had a tip for fair trade oriental rugs in Buchanan that she agreed to check into. Kathleen would begin looking for books for the bookcase. I would research the purchase of an antique typewriter, and Jeanie offered to bring swatches of paint colors and samples of tiles to our next meeting.

We hope as the creation of Floyd Writer’s Room unfolds other local writers will come forth with ideas and historic resources. Those who have something to share can contact me at

Note: Originally posted on on April 3, 2007.

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