wait what


The Ruby Hotel


Round Rock, Texas, United States

An 80-year-old love letter ignites a spark that fuels a new story and inspires the design and architecture of a small hotel

A found artifact fueled the imagination of the Page Branding / Graphics team at the beginning of a new project. A letter that began “Dearest Ruby” is the opening scene of a story that became the framework for a charming hotel brand, its visual identity and vibrant messaging in print and social media. From this small fragment, we imagined the letter's recipient and created a fictional narrative around her.

Tied to events and cultural moments of the time, the fictional story of Ruby has a cohesive strength and rich narrative that informed decisions for the architecture and interior design teams and has extended into hotel merchandising. Beginning with an articulated brand promise, exploration of a visual vocabulary follows closely. The benefits of a nimble studio are appreciated when we establish overlapping teams who engage in concurrent work efforts. In this case, we focused on the story, the visual vocabulary, and the messaging simultaneously.


  • Architecture
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Interiors

Using history to build a foundation for a new brand

We developed a backstory about an unconventional young woman named Ruby who pursued her dreams. “Inspired by a changing world and challenged by a generation defined by tradition, Ruby set out to explore. She found her passion while accumulating friends, memories, and her collections.”

© Nick Simonite

“The music of Etta James, Sam Cooke, and Chet Baker provided the soundtrack to the gatherings she curated around the tables she set. In this dappled spot along Brushy Creek, a welcoming place Ruby called home, the delight of mingled surroundings is evidence of a life well lived.”

Constraint breeds creativity

Ruby’s storyline gave the design team the roadmap to identify the music, artifacts, menus, recipes, and art that would fill the spaces and create the experiences her namesake hotel would feature. Working with a limited budget, designers focused on selecting images in the public domain rather than engaging an illustrator for collateral and ephemera to be used in food and beverage operations.

© Nick Simonite
© Nick Simonite
© Casey Dunn Photography

Traces of Ruby

Because Ruby traveled widely over several decades, spontaneity and personal touches were not just allowed but embraced when selecting accessory articles for the guest rooms, cocktail bar, conference area and registration lobby. Playing off the mid-century structure of the architectural and interiors palette, these personal touches reflect the discerning eye of our world traveler.

© Nick Simonite
© Nick Simonite

Elevating experience through design

A well-crafted, thoughtfully developed brand story has the power to elevate the experience of the built environment. An integrated design practice brings together the expertise of multiple disciplines to provide a fertile ecosystem in which these stories will grow. The success of The Ruby Hotel provides us with one example of experiential design at its best.

Drive-up reception lobby of a midcentury modern boutique hotel.
© Casey Dunn Photography

An artful collaboration

Located on the dappled banks of Brushy Creek, the project revived an existing mid-century house and added two new, two-story buildings that contain 39 guest rooms. The original house features a cocktail bar and conference area. Existing native live oak trees and pool area with a new deck provide beautiful views and gracious outdoor gathering spaces.

Dual views: 1) from hotel room balcony overlooking the creek and 2) swimming pool surrounded by oak trees
© Casey Dunn Photography

Branding / Graphics scope:

  • Visual identity
  • Messaging
  • Wordmark
  • Brand guidelines
  • Collateral (print, digital, and hospitality related ephemera)
  • Building signage
  • Site wayfinding
  • Room identification
  • Specialty graphics

Dearest Ruby

Texas Architect Magazine took notice of The Ruby Hotel and shared its story here.



Creating a story to build an experience

“The story of Ruby proved successful because of its universal theme. Researching the details of the timeline and tying her travels to the events of the day enriched the project in every way. Our understanding of, and admiration for, Ruby inspired us to be true to her spirit which may hint at why visitors experience it today on the banks of Brushy Creek.”

Carla Fraser


Related Content