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Hospitality powerhouse and entrepreneur, Piper Stremmel, moved from San Francisco back to her hometown of Reno to build her first hotel. After spending many mornings at her former neighborhood coffee shop, Sightglass on 20th, Piper enlisted Studio BBA to be her remote concept-driven design team.

The opportunity to transform this building, built in 1907 as the 14-room Royal Hotel & Bar catering to transients and divorcees, inspired the program for The Jesse: a boutique 6-room hotel, bar and restaurant. The gut-and-redo renovation resulted in a shining independent hotel and bar focused on comfort, approachability, design, and the authentic Nevada experience.

BBA envisioned a Master Plan that reoriented the site; the central courtyard now serves as the main hub of the complex. Guests enter through a new main gate into the brick-paved patio with furnishings inspired by the colors of Reno’s changing seasons. An existing trellis overgrown with lush wisteria vines greets bar-goers, hotel guests and restaurant diners alike. The striking geometry of the brick building against the desert sky inferred the extension of strong architectural forms, reminiscent of Josef Albers’ form and color work, “Homage to the Square.”

The ground floor bar is a refined and playful oasis – directly contrasting the vibrant and weathered surrounding neighborhood. The colorful terrazzo bar, sunny ceramic tile backsplash and subtle beadboard wainscot reinforce our color story and serve as the glowing backdrop to the furnishings, also selected by BBA to honor Nevada-local craft.

Custom plywood beds anchor each unique guest room, accented by modish furnishings and inventive, American-made lighting. Every guest room is also an art gallery, featuring beautiful works from The Stremmel Gallery. Guest bathrooms are dialed-in to provide a calm, luxurious setting.

Across the courtyard lives a new fast-casual Mexican restaurant, Estella Tacos y Mezcal. Built into a standalone structure historically used as a blacksmith and wagon shop, the new use maximizes daylight and uniquely tall ceilings. An intentional departure from the “wild west” aesthetic you might find in developing Reno, the Taco Shop features a subdued palette of neutral tiles in various shapes and orientations. Patrons are received by a surprising pop of egg-yolk-yellow in the newly expressed gable ceiling.

The Jesse is an artful merger of BBA’s project diversity, spanning from single-family homes to food and beverage spaces and commercial office environments. Studio BBA worked closely with the client, contractor, and local structural engineer of record to design the first hotel in their portfolio.

BBA Team

Bonnie Bridges

Anand Sheth


9,000 SF


Group West Construction


Architect of Record: McElhaney Structural Engineers


Nick Sorrento

Asa Gilmore

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