The Pridwin Renovator: Glenn Gissler

May 27th, 2011

We are very honored to host our first guest blogger, interior designer and architect Glenn Gissler, who explains here beautifully in his own words his inspiration and vision for the Pridwin Hotel:

It is increasingly rare to find owner-operated businesses of any sort in this day and age. This only makes the fact that the Petry Family has owned and operated the Pridwin Hotel for nearly 50 years all the more remarkable and heartwarming for me.

As a long time guest to the Pridwin Hotel it has been a pleasure to work with the Petry Family who care so deeply about Shelter Island, and the unique spirit and legacy of the Pridwin Hotel experience. It has also been a rewarding challenge to develop strategic plans to maintain and enhance the unique character and history of the hotel, while looking to meet the expectations for modern day Guests of the Pridwin Beach Hotel and Cottages.

We began our improvements last season by making the Lobby more gracious and inviting for guests by treating it more like a spacious and inviting Living Room . We added upholstered furniture and lamp light throughout, as well as a games table that was used extensively throughout the season by young, and not so young. It was wonderful to see the improvements to the space be so naturally embraced and used by Pridwin Guests.

Pridwin Hotel lobby

For the 2011 Summer season, we peeled back some of layers of decorative surfaces added over the last century, by revealing and showcasing some of the the original architectural character of the original 1928 building. The single most dramatic example of this work is the restoration of the hotels main stair hall. At some point in time dark wood paneling had been applied to the stairs to cover the original walls and stair spindles . We removed the paneling , restored the spindles, and painted the entire Stair Hall white creating a glorious stream of light that floods down the stairwell into the Lobby.

This season’s most ambitious improvement is the replacement of the carpet and flooring in nearly all of the public areas of the hotel. The new flooring has a more sophisticated appearance with a palette that keys off the many colors of the water . The Pridwin now looks more historic yet refreshed and revitalized.

Pridwin Hotel Lobby by the fireplace

It has been a fascinating to research the history of Shelter Island and the role that resorts have played in its development. We have gathered a vast amount of printed historical information about both Shelter Island and the Pridwin Hotel. Over the course of this season, we will be framing and installed this vintage postcards , maps, and other printed matter throughout the hallways and common areas, that will help to tell the history of Shelter Island as a resort destination for more than a century.

Significant effort have been put into having the results of our design at the Pridwin Hotel appear appropriate and natural – as if they have “always been this way”. We are already planning the improvements for 2012 and the years beyond to further improve the Guest experience into the future! Long terms Guests will hopefully find that the spirit is intact while improved, and new Guests will wonder why they have never been here before!

I am very pleased to be involved in ensuring and enhancing the longevity of this unique resort hotel and hope to see you all this summer at the Pridwin Hotel enjoying the cool breezes and incredible sunsets from the Pridwin Hotel deck, or hanging out in the Lobby. I am likely to be the guy working on the jigsaw puzzle in the corner.

–Glenn Gissler


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