The new boutique hotel in downtown Ocean Springs will have an oyster-shell façade at the entrance as a nod to the city’s history, culture and seafood.
Workers and family of the investors are in the middle of a four-day project to adhere sanitized oyster shells to the walls around the entry to the hotel with a thin mortar, like someone would use to lay tiles.
“It’s like our rocks,” said Dennis Frulla with Round2 Remodeling, which is working on the project. “People who live in Colorado have stone on their houses. We have these oyster shells and they’re cool, indigenous.”
Joe and Jessica Cloyd — part-owners of the mixed-use building on Porter Avenue that will house the boutique hotel, The Roost — have tried this type of shell mosaic around a fireplace in their East Beach home, and Frulla has used the technique for a kitchen backsplash.
The cement-block wall was painted with a moisture barrier and the crew placed the shells like a rough tile.
“It’s like baking; it takes several stages,” said Jessica Cloyd, who worked on the project Wednesday. She said they get the thinned-out mortar to look like sand, scoop as much as needed into the shell and place it on the wall.
The mortar squeezes back out around the shells, giving the project extra texture, she said.
“It’s a very forgiving process,” she said, “if you want to move them around before they dry.”
Once on there, the shells are as permanent as tile, Frulla said.
Joe Cloyd, who said the six-room hotel could be open by late April, said they are covering about 500 square feet of wall with the shells that were sanitized in 55-gallon drums of hydrogen peroxide. The shells came from Crystal Seas Oysters in Pass Christian.
The hotel is the middle part of a $1 million project on Porter Avenue. Other investors in the multi-use project that will have a restaurant and offices are Adam Dial and Ted and Roxanne Condrey, who own The Inn on Washington Avenue.