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Abstract paintings light up the redesigned headquarters of Meyer Jabara Hotels.

In addition to hanging abstract paintings on the walls of this corporate office, designer Elena Starr set up the conference room TV monitor to display art rather than a blank screen. Starr chose the sculptures of figures ascending ladders to represent the father-son executive team of MJ Hotels’ corporate office in Danbury, Connecticut.

A corporate office may not sound like the ideal commission for an interior designer, but when Elena Starr of Safavieh got the chance to reimagine the offices of Meyer Jabara Hotels, an award-winning hospitality company operating in 14 states, she saw it as a plum assignment. Based in Danbury, Connecticut, MJ Hotels, as it’s known for short, is a 45-year-old business with a diverse hotel portfolio that ranges from boutiques to large convention-style settings. The shared vision is to provide exceptional destination experiences, and senior leadership wanted that vision embodied in its workspace. “In other words,” explains Starr, “the office suite needed to exude hospitality. It had to be fresh, inviting and pulsing with positive energy.”

Bold artwork in strong colors creates the feel of a gallery in a seating area outside the president’s office.

Color and artwork played a big role in achieving these results. "I used yellows and blues to make the space happy and bright," says Starr, "and the combination generates a lot of compliments." She hung large, abstract paintings in these colors to create the feeling of a gallery.

Most of the furniture was custom designed and sourced through Safavieh. For example, the marble-topped coffee table in the reception area was custom made in Italy by Stone International, and the conference table, chairs and media cabinet were custom made in Canada by Dinec. After the project was completed, Starr received a phone call from the president, thanking her for the extremely comfortable conference chairs: An eight-hour meeting in these chairs was a breeze!

Bright yellow creates energy and elevates the mood of the headquarters lobby. The coffee table, designed by Elena Starr and sourced through Safavieh, was custom made in Italy by Stone International. Opposite, bold artwork in strong col

Accessories speak to Starr’s attention to detail. Tabletop sculptures of two figures ascending ladders, she says, represent father and son, the second and third generations of management. Together they’re taking the company to a higher level, and this being a hospitality business, they’re doing it, in part, through the power of great design.

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