Renowned leather craftsman Michael Rowland’s creative juices are flowing. He has recently opened Merrickville Guest Suites above his Rowland Leather store in Merrickville, offering a location that visitors can come to for relaxation and comfort while they enjoy the artistic creativity that Merrickville is known for.
“The guest suites, like the leather bags and backpacks I make, are another one of my creations. As with the leatherwork I produce I was involved in every step along the way to bring these suites into the world.”
Rowland’s newest venture reflects the same passion and attention to detail that is found in the line of handbags he produces. He designed the suites and worked with several local trades people and local artists to create a wonderful space for guests to spend a night, a weekend, or a week.
“Rather than the country charm look that is popular here I wanted more of a European feel in the suites. I was wondering what to do about the gloomy staircase leading up to the suites so I went to see painter Joyce Devlin. She said paint it bright yellow like the sun. We picked a combination of yellow and gold paints that I hand rolled onto the walls, adding and taking away the paint to achieve a cloud like texture reminiscent of a Tuscan sunset. Another theme I wanted to bring to the suites is the Rideau River. Devlin has painted a Rideau river mural in the alcove at top of the stairway.
“I have a collection of photos that I have taken of the canal system over the past few years. I printed and framed the best of them and hung them in the guest suites. “ says Rowland.
Guests can watch the village life out of the windows in the front suite that overlook the main street of Merrickville, while the back suite has a deck from which the guests have a scenic view the village’s rooftops.
A sign fashioned by the Village Metalsmiths hangs above the doorway, inviting guests to climb up to the two suites. “We were trying to come up with an image for the sign, maybe something from the river . Then I thought maybe a bed. I remembered that Van Gogh had a bed in one of his paintings. I found a copy and took it to the Village Metalsmiths, they create wonderful hand painted metal signs. They were very excited and went about to create a raised bed on the sign with the colours that Van Gogh had used in his painting. The sign is held up with a medieval hand-wrought bracket made by artisan blacksmith Randy Gill from Almonte.”
“I’ve been buying interesting art books and magazines over the years and have some of these in the suites for the guests to enjoy. Also a collection of DVDs. One guest was happy to find her favorite series, Seinfeld.”