Arts and Crafts Inspires Grand Expression

The Grand Californian, Part Two


Sometimes you know right away that a space is special. That’s how it is with the Great Hall at The Grand Californian Hotel. It begins when you enter through a kaleidoscope in art glass, this spectacular portal fashioned after the Gamble House Doors.


An awesome example of a structure inspired by the California Arts and Crafts movement, Disneyland’s Grand Californian was designed by the late Peter Dominick with interior design architecture by Richard Brayton and the late Marty Dorf. The building pays homage to the work of Arts and Crafts architects and designers such as:


A few steps past the entryway, you’re in the voluminous Great Hall. Stand still, look up and breathe slowly to take it all in. A living room on a grand scale, the architects used the inspiration of a redwood forest when designing the space.

The massive pillars go from dark to light in color as they rise to meet a pale green ceiling that mimics the forest canopy. A crisscross of giant wooden chandeliers serves as the twigs, accented by red art-glass berries. Even the Tiffany-style table lamps, which cast a warm glow on the over scale Mission couches, symbolize the flowers and insects of the forest floor.


The mosaic floor is a large-scale pattern of poppies and pomegranate blossoms; the marble and slate flow effortlessly into the giant “living room” area rug crafted in the same pattern.


When you visit the hotel, be sure to enjoy a warm beverage or story time by the fire in the massive hearth space. Near the hearth is this charming children’s lounge, replete with mini Mission-style rockers.


The lobby’s arresting chandeliers top a soaring arched-tree-trunk structure modeled after A. Page Brown and Bernard Maybeck’s Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco.

It is refreshing to see and learn about the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into some buildings today. There is so much to feed the eyes at The Grand Californian; I have only touched on one space here. More about the hotel’s artisan program in a later post.

What do you think of this space? Share your thoughts with a comment.

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