This month’s Highlights showcases a dramatic interior renovation on a Southern college campus. A tired stage and old theater was begging for a new look and repurposing. It was quickly apparent many students needed additional space to work remotely during the peak of COVID-19. As a result, we transformed this forgotten room into a virtual learning lounge.
The facelift began with challenging existing conditions such as screws poking out of the carpet, wood paneling on two walls, track lighting, and stained ceiling tiles. Starting at the top of the room, light fixtures were all updated to modern-day recessed lighting. In addition, ceiling tiles were replaced. Paint and brick wallpaper (an economical alternative to real brick) created the industrial look the client wanted to achieve. New hard-surface flooring and additional outlets created not only form but function. To help the windowless room breathe, we cut a 6-foot hole into the solid brick walls to accommodate a new window and we also installed glass storefront doors.
Once the fixed assets were fully updated, we sourced furniture that was both highly durable and in keeping with the industrial design. To continue building on a warm gray palette, we brought in cognac and charcoal leather and worn wood tabletops. Green was chosen as the pop of color to prevent the space from becoming too serious, especially given that it was designed to primarily be utilized by students. This pop of color was expanded subtly through the integration of plants throughout the space and additional decor. These softer elements allowed the room to continue to both industrial and inviting.
Finally, we created three beautiful art pieces to anchor the space. By incorporating a beautiful image of a plant from the campus greenhouse and floating framed canvas of other areas of campus, we were able to tie the newly renovated space back into the rest of the college and give it a sense of place and congruity. The resulting space gives students a welcoming spot to feel comfortable working on their laptops as well as the versatility needed for hosting events for faculty, staff and prospective students. To see more of this transformation, click here.
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