before & after: renovated studio space

There’s nothing more exciting than the potential of an empty space, and I love seeing creative entrepreneurs translate their vision into their workshops, offices and studios. This incredible studio was designed with its location in mind, and according to Zak Davis, the creative director for Juliet Zulu, the rustic materials, simple palette and minimalism were an homage to his beloved city of Portland. I love the dark floors and the abundance of natural textures. Plus, you have to admit that a row of shiny white Macs looks pretty stunning against a backdrop of rustic wood and leather. Great job, Zak! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

More images after the jump…

Time: 1 month

Cost: around $16,000

Basic Steps: I wanted an office that inspired great work. The overarching inspiration was a melding of military/industrial, clean design, MCM and DIY. The military canvas wall coverings were something I had never seen, but the thought of a conference room that felt like a field tent seemed awesome. Because the space is pretty small, the layout design was really important to utilize every inch. I wanted to use dark colors but enough light and whites to still make the space feel airy and fresh. Lots of exposed wood helped with that. Spent hours at local antique stores and the Rebuilding Center (tons of amazing reclaimed materials) to find steals. It was about creating many different textures and making each surface tactile. My advice is to start with a clean slate. A simple, bare, manageable space. Use design elements that you love, but make them uniquely yours. Make it cool, but remember that you can’t work in a museum. It has to be functional AND inspiring. — Zak


  1. Lizzie says:

    Loving the ‘rustic chic’ vibe! Wonderful light fixtures.

  2. Shawna says:

    Love the barn door idea!

  3. Bethany says:

    Black floor is fantastic. The little bar area is also a great idea – just a casual space to jot down notes on the fly perhaps?

    I also love those sliding doors.

    We installed them on a project of ours (vet clinic) and found they don’t do a very good job at blocking out sound. I’m curious to know if these individuals used some sort of weather stripping or something to insure that phone conversations etc were private.

  4. Karen says:

    All that talk about the military tent conference room and then no picture of it? That’s mean.

    Also, what is the flooring, please?

  5. Louis says:

    Love it…Even the raw wood looks great. @LIZZIE totaly agree.

  6. Susan says:

    What is the floor treatment? It looks great and I am getting ready to do-over a retail space for my art studio. Well Done!!!

  7. Linda Landig says:

    Love the clean, open airy look of this space.

  8. Me being a computer guy I love the line of computers against the wall. I love when you are working next to someone and you can just turn and talk to them.

  9. Cait Irvine says:

    If you check out their website you can see pictures of the military tent conference room.

  10. Ana says:

    It turned out amazing.

  11. A. Gilchrist says:

    What a delightful surprise to see you here! Really incredible work y’all. You nailed it. Love from Eugene

  12. Nicswife says:

    Ahhh!! I want to be there right now! Looks amazing.

  13. neha says:

    What is that floor, please? I’d like of those too!

  14. Jason Jones says:

    good stuff going on here. and that goat!

  15. Monique says:

    Hello, I find your new design very smart but I don’t like the lack of photos on most of the summary posts . As you can understand, I’m not english speaking and when I open the blog I choose which post I will open with the photos not with the title…
    Please give us the photos backin the summary posts !!!
    Thank you

    1. Amy Azzarito says:

      Hi Monique –
      The gallery images below the post should be back next week. It’s just a little glitch with the new site relaunch. We are working to fix it as soon as possible. :)

  16. Heather says:

    I, too, was wondering about the canvas walls – I eventually found them by going over to their website, but still, there’s a disconnect between the copy and the pics on this site :(

  17. Carl says:

    Um…… Looks great, but seems like we have seen something very similar before. Great spaces.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      those are similar spaces but they’re not exactly the same- i’m not sure if you mean to imply if there was something shady with the similar style but i don’t think there is.


  18. Zak Davis says:

    Susan, Neha,

    The floor is concrete, slightly sanded and then painted with Miller black, concrete stain/paint. A light sanding of the concrete really helps to better take the paint or stain.

  19. Fantastic space! And I’m actually super impressed with budget. 16K for such a large and gorgeous space is quite remarkable :)

  20. Love the sliding doors thinking about adding one to my house too. Awesome renovation!

  21. Dan Martin says:

    Love the chic urban feel. Sometimes less is more and this is a good example of that. Thank You for sharing these before and after pics.

  22. Copper says:

    Is there a polyeurothane on top of the black floor paint?

  23. Kasey says:

    Seriously? I can see a categorical similarity…but in the details, the two spaces are very different. Personally, I dig the above, but the other space doesn’t work for me. Good work Zak – really impressed.

  24. Jo Kin says:

    Cool! Very Dwell!


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.