We have been busy this month designing, painting, and furnishing our new space at Studios of Porter Mill, where we moved in late December. Although only three doors down from our previous address on Rantoul St. in Beverly, and in a building with a similar history—both are former mill buildings—the internal vibe at Porter Mill could not be more different. The building is home to more than 50 artists and creative businesses, ranging from photographers, to print makers, to sculptors and painters. The first floor is home to a gallery and paint bar. Twice a year the building hosts an open studios, where the public is invited to tour all the building's studios.
Its a fun and creative vibe, and has energized us to create a more colorful space for the studio. The photos above and below show the transformation. The drab ceiling and floors were brightened; the primary white wall became a deep gray that would act as a canvas to display some of our colorful cover designs; a chartreuse accent wall gives the space a bit of techie cool; and the blood orange door adds the final punch—and ties the space to our online branding. Was fun playing interior designer, and gave us a new understanding of the usefulness of Pinterest.
The new studio is up and running during what is traditionally our busiest month of the year. With considerably more space than our previous home, we are still working to create a lounge/conference/hangout area. And next up is a much needed lighting upgrade.
Rantoul St. remains an area in transformation, but one which we still believe has great potential. We love its mix of industrial, transit, & marine history. The city's lack of vision for the street, and the type of development that has been permitted and built recently has been disappointing. Mixed use is not a bargaining chip to allow developers greater profits. Its an important urban development principal. Apartments alone will not transform the street, if there is nothing else for the new residents to do in the area, and no streetscape to encourage pedestrian activity. And the historic structures in the area should be at the core of any revitalization plan.
The mix of creative businesses and residences at Porter Mill, and the creative reuse of an industrial structure should serve as a model for other buildings in the area. We are cautiously optimistic that the new city planners get this better than their predecessors, and are excited to be a part of it.