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



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.”

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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.

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  1. Very well done, I’d love to come over for some tea and chatting :)

  2. Jessica S. says:

    Mmm… So industrial and cozy. This is giving me loft-envy.

  3. that’s my bud!! congrats, friend! –b.

  4. Ashley Johnson says:

    Can I live in your studio please? It’s amazing!

  5. Julie says:

    OMFG! Gorgeous!

  6. Laura says:

    Jeff!! Everything you do is beautiful, and a true reflection of the incredible people you and your wife are. Amazing!

  7. Laura says:

    Jeff, everything you create is beautiful and a true reflection of the incredible people you and your wife are. Amazing!

  8. Candi says:

    Simply beautiful!

  9. Louise Holmes says:

    I could there ! fabulous !

  10. Stefanie says:

    I want to live there too…. what a wonderful and inspiring studio!

  11. alexis says:

    Hard work paid off! Beautiful!

  12. Mariana says:

    There is always something very interesting about before and after pieces specially of spaces. This renovation was incredible! Kudos!

  13. Love it!! Love that it’s in Cleveland too!

  14. Jessica says:

    This space is so unbelievably cool! I love the feel of the space… and that the industrial aesthetic was embraced. I seriously cannot get enough of this loft. :)

  15. kurumsal seo says:

    Jeff, everything you create is beautiful and a true reflection of the incredible people you and your wife are. Amazing!

  16. style scout says:

    Great work, great space, great people, great city, great times ahead!

  17. Cuero&Mør says:

    Amazing job guys!! Love the space, the light….and what means for them the renovation of that space. To see this project inspired us a lot because we have something like this in mind…we hope to find the right moment to make it soon!! And congratulations again!! ;)

  18. Paula Oblen says:

    I’m in awe of this space…My dream space.

  19. Sarah says:

    Wow, lovely. Large spaces like that are intimidating to decorate in my opinion – you pulled this off very nicely!

  20. Jeff Downie says:

    Hi All – Thanks so much for the wonderful comments! A special thanks goes to Randy Rigutto and Linda Fowler for their amazing talents on this project.

  21. This is exactly how I imagine my one day home to feel like. It’s magnificent.

  22. Gina Schumer says:

    Love it, love it, love it – so simple and inspiring! The perfect space to spur creativity – all the best!

  23. Vanessa says:

    You live in a piece of art! I really love the flag against the brick wall.

  24. Caroline says:


  25. Monnaie says:

    Nice interior furnishing!


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