In 1991, Fresh Beauty co-founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg revolutionized the beauty industry by creating one of the first commercially successful companies to sell products made entirely of natural ingredients. What’s more, the two, who grew up in Russia and Ukraine respectively, eventually sold a majority stake in Fresh to luxury giant LVMH in a lucrative deal in 2000, turning their small Boston-based apothecary into a big one. name of the beauty sector.
Known for their tried-and-true home remedies – they were among the first to use sugar as an exfoliant in their lip and body balms, for example – the duo have always been passionate about their businesses, approaching each new project with a sense of art.
So it wasn’t all that surprising when they opened the Maker last year, a boutique hotel in Hudson that was founded entirely as a respite for creatives. The property is divided into a series of rooms and suites dedicated to the areas of the arts— the writer’s bedroom, the architect’s studio, the artist’s suite. Since opening, it has become a beloved space in Hudson for local creatives and visitors alike, and is home to an impressive collection of vintage design and artwork.
To discuss his love of art, the birth of the hotel’s art and design collection, and how art should live in relation to the space it occupies, we recently talked to Glazman. Read on for the conversation.
Tell me a bit about why you decided to create The Maker, a hotel you envisioned for artists and other creative types in Hudson.
I think a lot of creatives in New York are looking for a place of respite to focus on their work and feel inspired. They are looking for a getaway, and to get here, all it takes is a short train or car ride. Hudson really does function like a small town, but of course it’s a more rural setting, in the best way. You have the Catskills, the river, the rest of Dutchess County to explore. And then in town you have this amazing street, Warren Street, which is probably one of the biggest antique centers on the East Coast.
There are also plenty of creative people who live here full-time, or mostly full-time – artisans, artists, interior designers, writers. It’s a very diverse community, which I love. So the Maker kind of connects the creative communities of New York and Hudson in that sense. They gather here. But also, bringing something like this makes a difference to the local community because of how we engage with the people who live here day to day and from day one. We have worked with many local artists and artisans to restore everything on the property… the building dates back to 1897. It is a Georgian style house. We recycle everything, we reuse as much as we can. We took everything apart and put everything back together. Everything was done with a lot of intention, a lot of art and respect for where we are.
How long did it take to restore the building?
It took us about three years from start to finish. There’s a lot of structural work to do, from the floors down. The building committee consider the property to be Greek Revival, but oddly enough the only real Greek Revival part is the entrance. But I guess they had to identify it as such. The yard is lined with Hudson Valley bricks. Parts had to be rebuilt and we wanted to retain the original design and intent of the structure so we searched all over the East Coast to make sure we found the right ones from the same period to maintain the visual effect and integrity.
The living room was also an interesting project. Initially we wanted it to be a gym and then a bar. But when we stripped it down, we realized it made the most sense as a living room. In the bar there is a fireplace, which has become the focus of my design inspiration in many ways, for much of the property. We were working with someone from an amazing furniture store to fill the room – he worked at Sotheby’s. He restores really valuable furniture. Many elements of the fireplace that he had to carve by hand because we wanted to increase the height.
I know color theory influenced a lot of your decisions as to how you brought the overall design of the property to life. Can you tell me a bit about it?
We have what we call Maker green, which is kind of where it all started. And we worked with local artists and designers to create the color environment from there. I’m obsessed with lighting, for example, so I worked with a local lighting artist named Stephen McKay to do the vintage lights and lamps throughout. We have close to 1,000 lamps on the property. Some things we design ourselves and some are vintage in origin and they come together to create our built environment.
Why is green your base color?
Green is a color of promise. Obviously, it evokes chlorophyll, which gives life to plants. And here it’s more related to the idea of renewal and rebirth, and kind of acts as an incentive to look at life through a much broader lens. It encourages a certain art. Our green is particular…it’s a bit more of a teal green, it has black and blue undertones. But green, orange, they all represent expressions of creativity. So we started to fill the property with artwork after working out the design and color theory. We think it inspires the kind of people who come here, many of whom do creative work.
Can you tell me how you proceeded to acquire the work? Where do you find it and what kind of work were you looking for?
I enjoy all kinds of art. It’s less about being an author and more about what speaks to me, and how it can exist in my spaces, whether at home or here at the Maker. In some cases, I don’t really know much about the artists either. I bought a lot of work at the Serpette flea market in Paris, for example. I remember this guy was selling a painting that was torn in the middle, so we had it restored. He didn’t know who had done it. So I don’t know who it is. But it’s one of my favorite pieces. He’s definitely a Spanish artist, but that’s about all we know… I curate a lot of the art here with my daughter, who is an art student. It’s important to us to have art in every room and the ability for people to engage with art in every space. It’s not about price – we don’t have $100,000 paintings here – but it’s really about a celebration of creating art, which is ultimately what we stand for, and being intentionally eclectic.
That said, we have in our collection works by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, Stanley Bate, Francisco Zuniga-a brilliant Mexican artist whose limited edition prints we also sell in our shop, and they take up much of the space in our Artist’s Studio suite -Robert Flynt, Cecil Beaton, Agnes Martin, Jorge Castillo, Frantz Charlet, Luis Montoya and Leslie Ortiz and April Gornick. We have a bohemian sensibility and I like to celebrate eclecticism in style.
And what influences specifically factored into the design, which complements the art?
I worked to unite mainly three periods of design: the Belle Epoque, and its refinement, its lines, its sensuality; Art Deco, because of the architecture; and mid-century modern because that period was the beginning of the kind of furniture that feels current today, but there was also a lot of engineering feats, because it was really about functionality and a certain comfort, a correction of the proportions. I also love the industry of the 1800s and how that period treated materials like metal and wood. So when I was researching and imagining the design of the property, that was sort of my guiding principles. I’m not a minimalist, I’m a maximalist… with my emotions, with my creative side. It’s not that I like to be surrounded by thinges in itself, but I like to be surrounded by stories. I want to create a place that feels like it’s been here for a while, not that it appeared randomly. Everything must live in harmony.
It seems that each space too is born from an object or a work of art, from an inspiration.
Yeah. That’s part of why it took so long to complete, too. I mean in the library for example, I started with a couch. I was like, “I found the perfect couch, this couch is amazing.” Then I said, “Now we can start designing.” So we designed the whole room around the sofa. Then we brought the couch back. And immediately, I had a physical reaction. I was like, “Get him out of here!” Because space rejected him. The big part of any design…it can’t be learned or planned too much, I don’t think. Frankly, I’ve never really done interior decorating outside of my own home. But I let my instincts guide me, and I feel like a space is telling you what it should be. And for that, the couch didn’t work because it was so overwhelming and nothing should do that. Everything should have an equal sense of cohesion. One thing must be in conversation with another.
without dominating it.
Yeah. And that applies to both the art we acquire and the design. We’ve organized pieces together so that when you look at it, you intuitively understand what’s on the wall together and why.
I’m curious—what did the local community say when you first announced you would be doing this? You’ve expressed your intention to blend into the Hudson artist community, but people aren’t always the most receptive to new stuff, especially from people associated with a big beauty brand like Fresh.
The idea of The Maker was that it’s for everyone, so we wanted to create lots of public spaces for the local community to gather, like at the cafe, the gym or the juice bar. So we want locals to use the property as much as they can, and over 60% of all our furniture has been sourced here as well. We really care about the economic and social impact we have on the community. Some people of course felt reluctant when we moved in, but I would say the majority of locals love it. This coffee is how they start their day. And they come back for lunch and dinner. It has become part of their home.
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