The Pridwin Re-imagined by Designer Glenn Gissler

June 23rd, 2010

A glimpse of the newly-designed Pridwin lobby by Glenn Gissler

A glimpse of the newly-designed Pridwin lobby by Glenn Gissler

A long-time summer guest of the Pridwin Hotel, interior designer Glenn Gissler ( has devised a Master Plan to update the Pridwin, its common spaces, rooms and cottages, which will be implemented in the coming years.

Trained as an architect, Glenn has far reaching interests in 20th century art, fashion, literature, sociology, architectural and social history, and a general interest in objects as cultural artifacts. Practiced as an interior designer, he combines architectural concepts with thoughtful applications of lighting, fabric and furnishings.

Glenn has been included in numerous lists of top designers including House Beautiful, New York Magazine, Elements of Living, and New York Home. Residences that Gissler designed for Caroline Hirsch – Caroline’s Comedy Club – have been seen in Town & Country, House& Garden, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, the cover of Bathrooms by Chris Madden. In 1995 a dramatic New York City residence appeared on the cover of Interior Design, which was also featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His own residence was featured in ELLE Décor.

We took a moment to do a little Q&A with Glenn about his vision and designs for the Pridwin Hotel.
Pridwin:Because Shelter Island is in an increasing tug-of-war between the North Fork and South Fork, everyone will want to know which side you are pulling for. Do you see the Pridwin as more a North Fork or a Hamptons locale

GG:I do not see Shelter Island as either leaning North or South, but rather as it’s own special place. It remains “sheltered” as it were from the realities and sur-realities of both the North and South Forks of Long Island. One has to slow down to find the subtle wonders and joys of Shelter Island. And I love The Pridwin Beach Hotel and Cottages for providing such a wonderful setting to enjoy such a distinctive locale. I really see all of Shelter Island, and The Pridwin Hotel in particular, as very special places. They are protected from the world: a place where time seems to have stood still.

P:As a designer, what do you feel are the unique opportunities of working on a property like the Pridwin?

GG:I have been a guest at The Pridwin Hotel for many years, and as an Interior Designer I have long fantasized about how I would polish this gem to a low lustre taking advantage of its rich history and unique qualities. I am thrilled to begin to develop and realize some of those ideas!
There is so much to work with at The Pridwin – the setting , the buildings, the landscape and a history that dates back to 1924 when the main building was first built. The Pridwin Hotel is one of the only remaining seasonal summer-only hotels of this era on Shelter Island with a setting beyond compare. It is the goal of the planned improvements to respect the history and architecture of The Pridwin while enhancing the enjoyment of its Guests.

P:As a guest, what do you think is special about the Pridwin Hotel?

GG:Beyond the incredible setting, and the diverse options of things to do on and off the property I would say the lack of pretense. I grew up in the Midwest and find the simplicity of Shelter Island and The Pridwin Hotel deeply appealing.

P:You are beginning this season with an update of the Pridwin lobby. What is your vision for this “makeover”?

GG:I am approaching the lobby space more as a Living Room in a large house, than a public space in a hotel, and hope to achieve an appearance that it looks like it has always been this way.

I will be reusing the wicker furniture that came with the hotel when the Petry’s purchased The Pridwin Hotel 48 years ago. We will be adding some fully upholstered furniture, lots of comfy pillows, wooden ceiling fans and lamp lighting.

Starting this year the beauty of Shelter Island, the history of the hotel and specifically of the Petry Family’s nearly fifty years owning and running of The Pridwin Hotel will be celebrated through the use of historical photographs, and hotel ephemera. You have many guests who have been coming to The Pridwin for many years and I would welcome photographs from their photo archives too. After all it is a shared legacy, and many families have been guests for years and think of The Pridwin Hotel as part of their family’s history.

In the Dining Room I am adding mirrors on the wall opposite the water view to increase the experience of the ‘million dollar view’ for all guests in the room. I think that it will make an enormous difference morning, noon and night!


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