The Hotel Lafayette has lots of beautiful and in some cases, rare wood throughout. The Dutch Grill, for example was originally built with Flemish oak walls. Large expanses of the walls in the ballroom foyer and former auto club, which were painted many times over, have now been stripped, hand finished and returned to their original beauty. The coatrooms, built with solid mahogany, are coming back, and the doors that greeted people to the ballrooms have been stripped of a rainbow of colors from Pepto- Bismal pink, to green, to white, and will once again welcome amazed guests to this palace.
If you have ever done any kind of refinishing, you know what a time consuming, painstaking task this is. Well imagine hand refinishing several dozen doors, and feet and feet of wall space. All of this done by hand just as you would with the one door at your home. This is typical of the work being done at the Lafayette Hotel. Much of the work that is being done is a slow, meticulous process, done by an army of craftsmen and women. Each detail has been researched, redone and will be ready for the May 1 opening.
The architects, Carmina, Wood & Morris, have spent hours crawling above ceilings, under floor spaces and through every nook and cranny of this building to unearth the Lafayette’s secrets. They have done paint tests to determine what the original color schemes may have been, and all of their work and knowledge has been shared with the many craftspeople who take that information and with their skills recreate Bethune’s legacy.
This is an exciting place to work. You can feel the pride and satisfaction everyone has for being part of this historic revival. For Buffalo, this is the largest, privately financed project in our history. For the world, beginning May 1, 2012, this is a chance to step into one of the top 15 hotels of 1904.