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Architects: Slava Balbek, Alyona Tryhub, Liuba Myronchuk, Andrew Taran, Sofiia Hupalovska, Oksana Huz
Project managers: Natasha Kozak, Boris Dorogov
Project area: 1120 sq. m
Project year: 2021
Location: Sonora, California
Photo credits: Andrii Bezug


The 34-room Hotel Lumberjack is located in Sonora, California. The building, which was erected in the 1960s, previously housed the Rodeway Inn, which was opened as an extension of the neighboring Sonora Inn. After a change of ownership and rebranding, the motel was upgraded to a hotel and renamed Hotel Lumberjack.

Our team’s task was to develop a project for the motel’s renovation and redesign. Green Acres Constructions, a local company, was responsible for the construction and installation works.

Sonora is a town of around 5,000 people, founded in 1848 during the Gold Rush. Sonora is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Yosemite National Park and Columbia State Historical Park. Visitors choose this area for its wide selection of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and climbing.

Due to its typical American Old West atmosphere, westerns are often filmed in Sonora. Among others, the streets of Sonora can be spotted in the movie ‘High Noon’ starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

The region of Sierra Nevada is famous for its lumber companies. Given this, the design for the renovated hotel was centered around the concept of a modern lumberjack.

Hotel Lumberjack is like the home of the proverbial lumberjack, while the guests of the hotel are his guests. On the walls of each room, you can spot ‘notes’ from the owner – minimalist sketches of mountains, trees, and lakes. This is a cozy place that encourages you to slow down and enjoy all that Sonora has to offer.


The hotel is located in a two-story building, built with a classic motel configuration. According to the client’s brief, the area of 1,120 sq. m (12,040 sq. ft) had to house 34 rooms. Among other things, two accessible rooms are located on the ground floor and designed according to ADA regulations.

The rooms have a classic layout: a bed (one king-size bed or two single beds), a niche with a workplace where you can comfortably work on a laptop, and a bathroom with sliding barn doors. We also had to provide ample space for a minibar, microwave, and coffee machine.

The design of Lumberjack is simple and functional. There is a lot of wood in the interior, and the colors (white, green, gray, and other natural shades) are in harmony with the landscapes of Sonora. The bathrooms are decorated with elements inspired by local forest animals like deers and bears.

The Ukrainian company Cassone was responsible for the production of all cabinet furniture for the project. Together with our partners, we developed a modular system that made it easy to transport parts from Ukraine and easily assemble them on-site. The rest of the furniture, as well as plumbing and lighting, was selected by our team along with the client from local suppliers.


In addition to the hotel’s design project, we proposed a concept for the outdoor areas of Lumberjack. In addition to parking spaces for guests, we provided comfortable outdoor seating areas with benches and tables, separated from the road by greenery.

The interior redesign was part of a rebranding strategy aimed to turn the former motel into an attractive location for tourists. It was valuable to get the opportunity to transfer our experience working on historic buildings onto the design of Hotel Lumberjack. We are extremely grateful to the client, who entrusted a Ukrainian bureau to work on a project that can breathe new life into the heart of an American town.

Studio Balbek:
Hotel Lumberjack:

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