Jupiter NEXT's Women-Led Design

Jupiter NEXT:

Women-Led Design From the Inside Out

March is recognized as the Month of Women. And we don’t know where we’d be without ‘em.  A perfect example is our newest hotel, Jupiter NEXT. NEXT bears the design expertise of many Portland-local women innovators, and we are proud to highlight their magic.  

Megan Millie Design, led by the inimitable Megan Millie herself. Megan approached the interior design of Jupiter NEXT with a focus on “an elemental material palette,” layering concrete, aged metals, and wood details unique to each different spaces. We talked to her about the design inspirations and process behind bringing to life Portland’s newest independently-owned boutique hotel.

JupiterPDX: Where did the concept for Jupiter NEXT’s interior initially start?

With the need to blend two properties – a 60’s vintage motor lodge that was revived into a mod boutique and a newly constructed building across the street – the early design questions were about how to express this unique relationship of each building, and how to create continuity throughout the two buildings. A combination of “old and new” became our framework for developing an interior design narrative as diverse as the expanding property. This concept was explored in several themes throughout the interior with use of aged or “evolved” materials, strong contrasts and deconstructed patterns.

JupiterPDX: What’s the vibe you were going for when designing the interior of Jupiter NEXT?

Millie:  It was important to maintain a relaxed tone. The original Jupiter Hotel is known for its inclusive and community-enhancing personality. At Jupiter NEXT, we continue that welcoming feeling by showing some of the bones of this new building where ever possible, keeping it real, not over-fussed with. We focused on creating approachable down-to-earth gathering spaces that would hopefully feel instantly familiar. We (the owners, architects, and I) talked a lot about creating objects and spaces of interest and involvement for guests and locals alike. Getting drawn into something totally unexpected, like the mirrored overhead soffits above the sidewalk - drawing the eye from across the street perhaps, or as soon as you look up! Perfect to snap a selfie, so many options with that detail. But really, we wanted to encourage passersby to take a peek inside, and wanted folks to know that the exterior of the space was only the beginning.

JupiterPDX: What are some of the main design elements you were working with?

Millie: The interior architecture expresses large expanses of concrete, metal details and lots of glass in the over-sized windows throughout. The interior design selections use these materials and geometry in alternating ways, repeating throughout from public spaces to guest rooms. For example, in the lobby, a custom wood timber check-in desk was a thoughtful material choice for the scale of this piece to balance within the concrete spans, while the custom banquette seating upholstered in distressed leather blends and relate to the concrete tones. Balancing material choices with how each would relate to the space as either an object or a flat finish was very intentional to create harmony. In the guestrooms, built-in casework, Shou Sugi Ban – a Japanese charred wood treatment – is expressed as floating lines in the vanity and desk, creating sculptural contrast in a simple way. This material choice was both in line with our overall narrative to enhance with time as well as connect to the building’s façade, allowing for thoughtful selections that relate to each other.

JupiterPDX: Finally, lots of women are involved in the creation of this space; How did this influence the process and design of the NEXT?

Millie: So many incredible women were involved in the creation of this building --
Works Progress Architecture: Carrie Strickland, principal
Co-Owner, Jupiter NEXT: Kelsey Bunker
Interior Designer: Megan Millie
Designer and Fabricator, metalwork: Laura Sol of Sol Creations
Photocollagist (Headboards): Beth Kerschen
Textiles (Guest Rooms): Jala Smith-Huys of Seek & Swoon
Hey Love (restaurant and bar tenant): Bar Manager: Emily Mistell, Food & Beverage Director: Sophie Thomson

These key women makers and visualizers added a strong “will-do” attitude to challenges that came up in a project this size. We worked together to form quick solutions in some cases and with others, we value-engineered as needed to arrive at a place where our design intent and budget were intact. All these things influenced the process in a positive way, as well as enhanced the finished product. Collaborating with all sorts of artists and local makers was inspiring and led to better results all around.


Join us in honoring the Womxn of Jupiter NEXT at our event “Look. Listen. Learn.” Monday, March 18 from 5:30pm-7:00pm in Jupiter NEXT’s Arium Ballroom. This moderated Q&A will feature Carrie Strickland of Works Progress Architecture, Laura Sol of Laura Sol Creations, and Jala Smith-Huys of Seek & Swoon.