Do you have a passion and dream of making a living out of it?
Do you also dream about having a dedicated space where you could practice your passion and make it tangible and real?
This is what my client Mara had in mind. Coming from a pharmaceutical background, she discovered the benefits of practising Pilates and started training as a Pilates instructor in the prestigious CovaTech®Pilates® in Milan.
When she arrived in Brussels a few years ago, she started giving group and private classes. However, her dream was to find a new home that could host a dedicated space to create her own Pilates Studio.
Mara and her husband called me when they had found a house with a semi-underground space that could be transformed into a Studio, and we started the journey of both creating a home for the couple and making Mara’s dream come true. Now her Studio is up and running, and often fully booked!
A renovation can be emotionally and physically exhausting, and it’s so important to choose the right people to work with.
I am blessed with great clients, and working with Mara and her husband was such a pleasure that, as often happens, I missed them once the work was over!
Recently, I invited Mara for lunch to see her again and interview her about her story.
Mara is such a kind and beautiful person, and I really loved working with her. Let’s hear what she has to say about the project…
What was your starting point?
I wanted to create a new job for myself that would be of service to other people. I wanted to share my knowledge and skills and help people feel better. I also wanted to have more flexibility with my time while doing something I love. Teaching Pilates in my own Studio seemed to be the best option to achieve all of this.
My husband and I decided that our next new house had to have a separate space to create my Studio.
We were looking for a space of at least 30-40 m2, ideally with a separate entrance. We saw several houses before finding “the one.”
What were you hoping to achieve?
I wanted to feel independent, free to manage my own time, happy working in my own space, and confident that I was really helping my clients.
Of course, I also wanted to be able to find and attract the right kind of people for my practice: people who would be available during my working hours and pleasant to work with.
I also wanted to create a space that would feel welcoming and relaxing. A space that would make my clients breathe and let go as soon as they stepped into the room.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge was having the courage to create a new career for myself while being almost 40 years old. I wanted my passion to become a real profession—a serious job with discipline and dedication, and not just an expensive hobby!
All of this while being in a new country, having to study and train in a language that wasn’t my own.
What were the best moments of the renovation?
When I saw the space being emptied and free of the previous owner ‘stuff’, that was the first time I was able to perceive its potential.
Then, when the floor was laid down, the walls were painted, and the space really started taking shape. When the lights were added I perceived the atmosphere for the first time, and really liked it.
When the machines finally arrived, I felt so proud of the studio I had created.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of how my work positively affects my clients. At the end of each session they tell me how they feel ‘taller’, stronger, and simply better and more aware of their body.
I am also proud of the space I created, which contributes to making my classes more enjoyable and pleasant.
Any ‘crazy’ decisions you made?
I think the craziest decision was to start afresh at my age and move towards a career as a Pilates instructor. However, I always thought that it would have been even crazier to remain in a job I didn’t enjoy, so I am so happy to have had the courage to change and the determination to achieve my dream.
Francesca understood my idea and translated it into the perfect space for me: simple but functional, small but big enough to host the machines I wanted, professional but cosy at the same time. She’s also passionate about female entrepreneurship and we connected on this front as well.
Would you have done anything differently?
What’s the best advice you received?
Francesca’s suggestion about the lights. I didn’t want any ceiling lights: they are annoying when performing the exercises lying down. But I also couldn’t think of anything else but simple wall lights.
Francesca suggested a very long profile running along one wall and projecting the light onto the ceiling.
I really struggled to imagine the effect and look of this idea. She brought a sample, but still it was hard to picture the whole thing. In the end, I trusted her and am so happy and thankful that I did.
This line of light is something you don’t expect, and yet it feels just right; it creates the perfect light and unifies the space.
What do your clients say?
I often observe them when they step into the room for the first time, as they look around and notice the beautiful space. They also often enquire about the design team who created the space.
Describe your new interior in a sentence
A magical space where you can re-connect with your body, gaining full awareness
If you’re planning a renovation, check our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org