I had the great pleasure recently of working with a friend to refresh a yoga studio of which she is now the proud owner. It was an uplifting experience to help her start fresh and make her vision for a calm and welcoming studio a reality.
We wanted to create a space that was warm and calming, with natural elements that reflect the spiritual aspect of yoga. We started with a design board to nail down a look that was natural, rustic, industrial, clean, light, bright, and warm.
My friend wanted to encourage conversation and community by having an inviting seating area that offered open bench seating, comfy relaxing plus straight-backed support (this is a yoga studio, after all!). And she wanted some sparkle with a large focal lighting piece that hung in the seating area.
We had a very tiny budget and tight time frame to get this job done. So we reused whatever we could (coffee table, comfy chair, donated local artwork) and kept elements as is that would have been too expensive to change (trim and doors, flooring). We had a plan, recruited an army of very helpful volunteers, and closed the studio for one day to get it all done.
We reversed the retail area and the sitting area on the floor plan so that staff working at the reception desk could more easily join in conversation with students hanging around on the benches and chairs. The L-bench was custom made by my brother and I, as was the beam chandelier light. The wood from both of these pieces, as well as the old window frame hanging on the wall, came from a century-old mechanics' garage that was demolished just down the street from the studio. It's so interesting to salvage a bit of the past from the area and put it to modern use!
Stump stools provide both extra seating (for free!) and a place to sit water bottles and tea cups.
Natural birch branches and greenery were added to the front display windows to encourage passers-by to take a peek.
We did some painting to supplant the cold blue that was on the walls. Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray was the perfect warm neutral griege. Check out this post for tips on how to choose the right grey or greige.
To update the reception desk we clad the front with salvaged barn boards and replaced the dated pendants with two new simple industrial-look replacements that complemented the beam light but didn't interfere with it. (This is a great tip for any space, including kitchens, with multiple lighting areas- have one focal light and keep the others simple).
The women's locker room didn't offer privacy when the door was opened, so we moved around a large cubby shelf unit and clad the back of it with more barn boards so that you can no longer see into the space.
We continued the rustic aesthetic by framing the mirrors with barn board. This was an easy DIY project - we simply used glue and finish nails to tack the strips of boards to the wall around the outside of the mirror.
The before and after is quite dramatic, especially given the small budget and limited time spent on this project.
This job was a blast - and my brother and I, my friend and her tribe had a wonderful day installing these elements. She was thrilled, as was I. Plus now I have a good spot to practice yoga! If you're in Fredericton, New Brunswick - go check it out - both the space and the classes!
Want to do a refresh in your space but don't know where to begin? Choose a light, fresh paint colour - its, inexpensive and will make such a dramatic difference. You can download my free workbook below to help in choosing a serene natural colour for a calming space.
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