before and afterDIY

Before & After: An Industrial Space Becomes A Warm, Welcoming Studio

by Maxwell Tielman



For creative types, a blank canvas can be both liberating and terrifying. While there is endless possibility that accompanies the empty page, the unexposed film, the uncut stone—the task of filling such voids is a formidable one, riddled with uncertainty, insecurity and self-doubt. If Jeff Downie and Katie Downie, the husband/wife duo behind Downie Photography, encountered any of these things when converting an empty warehouse into a photo studio, it certainly isn’t evident. While most people might shudder at the thought of taking on such a large-scale endeavor, the couple brushed aside their friends’ skepticism, tackling the project with stylish aplomb. The end result is a warm, effortlessly inviting home-away-from-home that works harmoniously with the space’s industrial roots. Check out all of the photos plus Jeff’s design notes after the jump! —Max

Photographs by Emily Metzger of Downie Photography. Styling by Melissa McClelland and Kelley Shaffer. Space designed by Linda Fowler. Contracting by Randy Rigutto.


“Recently my wife and I decided to take a leap of faith with our photography business,” Jeff says. “After months of scouting possible spaces, a warehouse in need of major renovations caught our eye. Others were skeptical when we moved from a shared 1,500 space to a 5,000 sq ft warehouse loft. We could see the potential. Repurposed and reclaimed drove our transformation. Our goal was to provide a bright, inviting studio for our clients, friends and family. I hope this space inspires other young artists that with hard work and a positive attitude you can create a dream space.”

ba_photostudio_1 ba_photostudio_2 ba_photostudio_3 ba_photostudio_4 ba_photostudio_5 ba_photostudio_6


The “recycled” ethos carries through most of the furnishings in Jeff and Emily’s studio. Most of the items, including the old barn wood, cabinets, bathroom vanity and rolling desk were salvaged from friends and family. The butcher block island and rolling coffee table were purchased from architectural salvage. The stools, spindle end table and lamp shades were trash-picked and cleaned.

ba_photostudio_7 ba_photostudio_8 ba_photostudio_9 ba_photostudio_10


ba_photostudio_11 ba_photostudio_12 ba_photostudio_13


ba_photostudio_14 ba_photostudio_15 ba_photostudio_16 ba_photostudio_17 ba_photostudio_18 ba_photostudio_19 ba_photostudio_20 ba_photostudio_21 ba_photostudio_22 ba_photostudio_23 ba_photostudio_24 ba_photostudio_26 ba_photostudio_27


Suggested For You