before & after: design studio makeover

This Before & After from Andrea of RE:Style Studio in Toronto is an example of my dream space: a big, open, completely bare-bones warehouse with nothing but potential. As much as I want a space like this to play around with, I can imagine the task is also quite daunting. Having to deal with plumbing, lighting, heating and decorating such an enormous space is no small feat, but Andrea has done an amazing job. The white-wash treatment floods this formerly grim space with light, and the stark black accents make for an extremely elegant interior. Great job, Andrea! — 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.)

Read more about Andrea’s design studio renovations after the jump!

Time: 2 months

Cost: The cost was just under $40,000, which was spectacular considering the size and height of ceilings, etc. It included all new light fixtures, the kitchen, storage room, floor and all the paint and wall repair.

Basic Steps: I wanted a homey feeling in an industrial space. I’m a designer, so even my workspace needed to be glamorous, no matter how dirty it would get during workshops. I was sick of working in cramped basements and reno spaces. I looked for glossy surfaces that would be easy to care for, as well as a blank canvas to allow my furniture to stand out. I then looked to the kitchen to be a dazzler. I introduced some elements, such as chalkboard paint, that would ground the space with black but also play double duty for workshops and message boards. I let the structure of the space carry the industrial nature and then played with furniture and accessories to add the glam.

My advice is to start with a floor plan and divide an open space into zones. See which elements have to stay industrial and where you can introduce elements such as chandeliers and giant mirrors. Also, in an open space such as a studio, you have to be aware of flow, so be true to one concept instead of having various design elements all over the place. — Andrea

  1. What an amazing job and on the budget! Really great job!

  2. I’m loving the stark whites and blacks – what a perfect background for creativity. Simplicity makes the details stand out! Maybe one day I’ll have a work room like this!!

  3. Wave Avenue says:

    love the simple design and elements. giving lots of points to that beautiful lavatory+cabinet inside the toilet and that dainty lamp. wow!

  4. Katie says:

    I like the completely neutral juxtaposition between the white and the black. Midtones would have been nice, it is definitely a space that emphasizes what is being made in it instead of what stays with it. Gained a homey feel, great kitchen, and adorable bath!

    The touches are great too: zebra rug, chandelier in the bathroom, abstract art in the last photo – fantastic!

  5. I am always so impressed with before and afters but this one is amazing and in such a short space of time, very creative, clever use of lighting – I am amazed how dark this space once was!

  6. sarah says:

    can you tell us more about those tables? Did you put them together yourself? What are the sources?

  7. al says:

    credit to your painter of the great painting in the last photo?

  8. Andrea says:

    Thanks so much everyone!! This space was really a labor of love. The tables are Ikea bases and interior hollow core doors! I needed something big and wide.
    I painted the canvas to inject my logo colours somewhere in the apace. Just some fun and kinetic brush strokes, and voila!

  9. Love the crisp palette. So clean and fresh.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    Oh, I wish I had a studio like this!!! Absolutely beautiful!

  11. diana says:

    andrea, love the space! so excited to see it on design sponge :)

  12. WOW!! what a transformation!!

  13. alissa says:

    How does one work in such a glaring white space? Where’s the color?????

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      Sometimes your eyes need a break when you work in a creative field and are surrounded by pattern and color all day. Not everyone has the same way of working ;)


  14. Parth says:

    I guess work space should be more neutral, specially a design studio but considering the fact that you have so much of stuff to showcase I loved what you did. The blacks are exemplifying. Glamorous it is for sure.

  15. Kate says:

    This really is a fantastic reno – studio envy!!

  16. Miss B. says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous ‘after’

  17. Rita Marsh says:

    This is a awesome space! A small thing I noticed, and it only stood out because of the author stated: “you have to be aware of flow”, was the location of the dishwasher. I usually have to rinse things before I place them in the dishwasher. I can’t imagine rinsing, then walking a piece down past the stove to load it into the dishwasher only to walk back for another. This space is beautiful!

  18. Andrea says:

    Rita, you’re right about the dishwasher. That was one element that I had to compromise due to the nature of the building. It would have been an extensive floor dig and complete re-working of the plumbing to have it in a proper line as intended.

  19. That black and white couch just made me smile… also love the retro lamp redo

  20. B! says:

    Love love love love love it! I am unfamiliar with interior hollow core doors. How do you fix (?) the hole where the knob would be or are they available without?

  21. B! says:

    Anyone? Bueller?

  22. I love the studio! Where is the phone from the last image from?


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