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An Old Classroom Transformed into a Versatile Creative Studio

by Sofia Tuovinen

An Old Classroom Transformed into a Versatile Creative Space | Design*Droits-Humains
Ariel is known for her colorful and eclectic style, which she shares on her blog, , and . As a freelance content creator for other brands, and the Parties and Entertaining contributor for , Ariel fills her weeks with creative projects that brighten even the dullest of days. We recently shared Ariel’s cleverly DIYed military base home and before that a Before and After of her bedroom. Needless to say, we share Ariel’s love for color and decorating on a budget! Today we’re visiting Ariel one more time, as she gives us a tour of her new creative studio, a rental space that she shares with her friend Kassidy, a .

Ariel and Kassidy both live on CFB Gagetown, a Canadian military base outside of Fredericton, NB. As they both work in the creative field, sharing a studio space together felt like a natural option, and also a more cost-effective choice overall. The creative pair were originally looking for a space closer to the base but to their surprise, most rentals were out of their budget. A month into the hunt, they finally found , a holistic community center that rents out classrooms of an old schoolhouse to various small businesses and start-ups. “The community here at The Ville is definitely eclectic. There are social impact start-ups, a Mexican food restaurant, a daycare, a karate studio, a dance studio across from us, two maker spaces […], a music studio, communal gardens, and so much more,” Ariel shares.

The main part of the school was built back in 1926 and features tin-pressed moldings and ceilings. The studio, which Ariel and Kassidy named , is located in a newer add-on — what it lacks in historical character, it makes up for in size. The space was also a blank canvas (or rather, a brown and yellow one!), which allowed Ariel and Kassidy to freely put their own mark on it. To keep their studio adaptable for various projects and end uses, the pair agreed to paint the walls white. “One of the reasons I wanted a space was to have a more neutral set-up that would be easier to use as a backdrop for branded content on other channels. My home looks like my home, but this studio is bright and light, so it’s easier to dress it up or down,” Ariel says. After a couple months of painting, organizing and decorating, Ariel now works from Blush & Brass Studios during weekdays, while Kassidy can be found working away in the evenings and on weekends. The arrangement is ideal, as both Ariel and Kassidy can use their shared space as they choose.

As a small business owner, taking the leap and renting a studio was a huge step for Ariel, as it created overhead expenses she didn’t have before. “I am most thankful to have found a space I can afford,” she says. “I feel like I’m here to get [things] done. I come here to be productive, power through assignments, and [be] creative.”Now that I’ve done it, I feel like I can do anything!” —

Photography by  /

Image above: The first thing you see when peeping through the window in the door is the living area, centrally located in the middle of the studio. Ariel and Kassidy wanted their creative space to be a blank slate, but still welcoming and representative of both of them. To achieve an aesthetic they both agreed on, the duo created a joint Pinterest board — “we were relatively in agreement from the jump,” Ariel explains.  She and Kassidy also decided to use DIY partitions, bookshelves, and rugs to delineate the large space and create purposeful flow.

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Ariel was fortunate to receive several pieces of furniture from brands she works with, which helped out a lot when she and Kassidy first moved in. “The oval pedestal tulip table is a stunning piece. Flanked by the vintage and still functional GE fridge, we’ve got some interesting mid-century modern vibes going [on],” she shares.

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The studio used to be a classroom. When Ariel and Kassidy signed the lease, there was a giant inset coat rack for kids running along one of the walls. The pair painted the area white and added industrial shelving, which quickly filled up with Ariel’s props and crafting materials. To avoid the area feeling cluttered, Ariel added IKEA curtain panels that neatly cover the storage space.

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The boot rack isn’t necessarily glamorous, but essential in a space that is mostly white. Instead of hiding it, Ariel hung a light low enough to make the boot rack a fun statement rather than a boring necessity!

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“Our desks back up against a giant chalkboard that runs the length of the back wall. Neither of us will shoot against this space, so we figured it was great to put our desks there,” Ariel explains.

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Ariel got some in-desk power units to help her manage all the cords and cables around her desk. “That made a world of difference,” she says. “The desks themselves are an I did, and they bring a lot of warmth to the space.”

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Next to Ariel’s desk stands a shelf that she updated by painting stripes on the inside.

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Kassidy’s desk was placed on the other end of the chalkboard. “She’s on the go a lot, so she doesn’t keep her essentials here like I do. Regardless, we wanted symmetry for the space, so we doubled up everything,” Ariel says.

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In the central living area, Ariel wanted more separation from the desk area at the back — she playfully hung art on the regency style shelves to achieve a comfortable space with a bit more privacy. “Our space is colorful, feminine, and has way too many throw pillows,” she adds.

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“If you remember my home tour, you’ll know that I love weird accessories that sometimes ere on the kitschy side. This kitty cat is the perfect example,” Ariel describes the decor in the living area. 

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The kitchen nook is tucked away in the back corner of the studio, but thanks to its bold colors and beautifully styled shelves, this area often steals the show.

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Creating a beautiful contrast between bold green and subtle pink was Ariel’s aim in the kitchen. “Being able to display my food and entertaining props makes this part of the studio feel like home,” she says. “It’s the kitchen I can’t have in our tiny rental.”

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Kitchen items and colorful props fill the open shelves of the studio’s kitchen.

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Renting a studio for her has been a big and empowering step for Ariel. “My favorite memory so far is a tie between completing our first day of work in here as my husband, Kassidy and I painted one of the walls back in November, […] and the first Friday after a full week of work here. As I turned to close the door and head home, the sun was shining through the big windows, most of our stuff was in the space, and I could feel the possibilities ahead of me — totally sappy, but true,” she shares.

SOURCE LIST

Entryway
Neon light – Homesense

Living Room
Couch – HomeSense Canada
Pink pillows – IKEA
Velvet pillow – Homesense
Throw blanket + sheepskin – HomeSense Canada
Coffee table –
Footstool – HomeSense Canada
Prints – Jenny’s Print Shop,  &
Bookshelves – HomeSense Canada
Green bust – HomeSense Canada
Plaid rug – HomeSense Canada

Kitchen
Cupboard paint –
Wall paint – Belle Mia MQ3-5 Behr Marquee
Shelves – DIYed using materials from Home Depot in the closet section
Pendants –
All accessories – HomeSense Canada

Office
Desks –
Desk Lamps from
Desk Chairs –

Dining room
Marble + Tulip base table – HomeSense
Chairs –
Fridge – Vintage GE fridge with blue interior
Side Table –
Gold candlestick holders – Homesense

Studio storage
Industrial shelving –
Curtains –  (8 pairs)

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