The Havana Room

Havana Room beforeHavana Room after

Phoenix Building owner Andrew Simkin wanted to reinvent the grand entry of his historic property in downtown Auburn into an upscale multi-use event space. The area housed an existing business on one side, so a physical partition was needed and just general updating and retooling. The room had gone unused for a long time and needed some TLC, but it had great bones.

Andrew is very skilled and did most of the build out work himself. A new wall was framed in to give both Auburn Document Centre and the Havana Room privacy and separation. Moving forward with paint colors and materials, we had to honor the beautiful variegated marble columns and flooring, thankfully in excellent condition.

For the floor, the carpeted area went bye-bye and Andrew had a stock of ceramic tile that looked like parquet wood that also mimicked flooring installed in other places in the building. He then fit in a small mosaic border to visually transition the edge where the ceramic tile met the marble floor. The space is super tricky, it’s designed on a curve, since it was originally a bank lobby complete with a full metal safe- cleverly repurposed as a guest coat room. The Simkins also redid the restroom, outfitted the catering kitchen and created a cocktail bar & wet sink with a lovely soapstone counter top.

The paint colors we kept light and fresh, using warm creams and browns, and Bess, Andrew’s wife made humungous sheer window curtains to soften the view of the street. The décor theme for the Havana Room symbolizes the Simkin’s travels to Cuba, characterized by the interesting art work, pottery, big lush leafy plants and vibrant textiles & fabrics that liven up the space.

For lighting, upturned wall sconces, ceiling fans and dramatic colored glass chandeliers highlight the room’s architecture and create more drama. The effect is extremely elegant yet warm and welcoming. To book an event at this space, located at 2 South Street, please call 315.252-2481 or visit

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