Among the key team members at The Manor integral in the planning and implementation of our multi-million dollar renovation project is Keri Knowles. As a business with over 65 years of history being owned and operated by a single family, Keri has earned her way into a position that carries with it a great deal of demands, expectations and a long tradition of accomplishment.
After managing a successful series of projects including bringing a nightlife and entertainment program to The Dome, The Manor’s after-hours bar and lounge, Keri switched her focus to begin stepping forward to extend her unique perspective to the planning and conceptualization phase of an entirely new era of change and evolution at The Manor.
Over the decades since its beginnings, The Manor has regularly undergone expansions and updates to meet the needs of new generations of guests. This latest renovation project was in many aspects more demanding, intricate, and complex than any before.
Through Keri’s involvement, she was able to leverage and apply her specific talents that would prove invaluable to the success of the complex demands of the renovations for which functionality and aesthetics were mutually vital.
A number of these abilities included the creative, collaborative, and project management skills developed in her international academic work at the notable Aalto University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture based in Helsinki Finland, one of the renowned design capitals of the world. She also brought to bear experience from her earlier studies at the University of the Arts, one of the United States’ oldest institutions dedicated solely to the arts–a focus that would prove invaluable when attempting to merge the classical aesthetics of The Manor with a mission to introduce modern amenities.
As granddaughter of The Manor’s founders, Keri has benefitted from a lifetime of experience having seen the business operate first-hand. Earning a “life experience” business degree from a well-revered name in the restaurant and hospitality business–her own grandfather.
Even the experiences that could not have seemed valuable at the time would prove themselves useful when considering improvements and working out problematic changes within the framework of a historic building–Walking the halls and exploring the back rooms of The Manor from childhood lends a true sense of every crack and crevice of the place. This not only provided a deeply ingrained mental map of the structure, but also engendered a greater understanding and appreciation for the building and the myriad aspects of its functionality.
Having traveled the globe absorbing the best of art and architecture, she is well-versed and well-suited to introduce the best the world has to offer, applying and reinterpreting that cache of experience at The Manor–a concept that doesn’t stray far from those early days when her grandparents took inspiration for the look and feel of the elements that earned The Manor its initial broad appeal, gained from their own travels so many decades ago.
Though she has influenced many aspects of the design in the renewed spaces at The Manor, even going as far as custom designing furnishings from her own sketches when a space required a unique focal piece, her value to the renovations run far deeper. As a project manager, Keri oversaw all aspects of the coordination, scheduling and execution of tasks for all contractors and tradesmen whose combined work was needed to accomplish the wide-scale changes. From negotiating with vendors, ordering and securing the delivery of everything from sconces to seating, and so much more, she ensured that every detail was administered.
Anyone who meets Keri, especially in the midst of her seeing a project through, will undoubtedly come to believe that it is a business that is fully in her heart and mind as much as it is in her blood. Her grandfather, Harry Knowles, who had over six decades packed with business accomplishments under his belt, expressed his great pride in her being part of the business and being able to collaborate with her throughout the renovation process. But as he would’ve told you, it is a business that requires endless dedication, sacrifice and hard work. Commitment is vital to success. Even his frequent refrain to his children and grandchildren had consistently been “If you don’t love it, don’t do it.” Keri is doing it. And doing it successfully. That perhaps, more than anything, speaks volumes about her commitment and the achievements she has made through the renovation process and beyond.
The future vanguard of the business, grounded in tradition, but fed by a new enthusiasm and progressive outlook of another generation, savvy to the best of today’s hospitality, culture, and design are already hard at work preparing for the continued legacy and success of The Manor, to bring even greater experiences to our guests.
Operating within the business, Keri has become a catalyst for change, bridging the gaps between the formula that has made The Manor so successful and the elements necessary to ensure its continued growth and appeal. Exhibited throughout the renovation project in particular, she established herself as an intermediary between the disparate needs of the business. Taking into account the pragmatic requirements of the engineers and the more aesthetic-oriented requests of the design team to develop solutions that achieve to the best results for customer experience. She has help to advance a unified design and foster a more fluid work process, enabling a swifter completion of demanding renovation schedule.
Keri, along with the rest of the design team, researched far and wide to gather inspiration, discover unique products, and source materials appropriate to each aspect of the project. From showrooms to stone mills, from furniture fabricators to fabric suppliers, her days were often filled with swatches, samples, and sell sheets. Whether selecting materials or overseeing production, her hands-on style helped to keep the often unwieldy process on-track and under control. From keeping a sharp eye on the budgeting and expenses of the project to dedicating hours with the designers, architects and engineers, sifting through point-by-point each decisions, change, and implementation, she worked to maintain a clear line of communication and project coordination.
While too humble to seek acknowledgement and always striving to sharpen her understanding of the diverse elements of her craft, it is clear that she exhibits the business acumen of her grandparents, while introducing her own nuanced approach to business operation and management. Keri is taking the best of the Knowles family’s successes and applying her own collaborative philosophy to help advance the business in both aesthetics and approach.