Gotta love the “Massage Garage”
August 19th, 2008
Kristi Templeton’s “Massage Garage” – a one-car garage transformed into her Seattle massage studio
(all photos, courtesy of Kristi)
I love learning about the many creative ways people are transforming their utilitarian sheds into spaces that have a higher and more noble purpose. Every time I hear from a “shedista” or learn about one of these innovative shelters, I think: Too bad we didn’t get it into the book.
But one can always hope for Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways, Volume II. No plans yet, but I’ll keep adding these discoveries to my list.
Here’s a little story about Kristi Templeton, Seattle massage therapist, mom, wife, gardener and world traveler. My family and I had to journey all the way from Seattle to Giverny (Yes, Monet’s garden!) in 2002 to meet Kristi and her daughter Katie, then 10, at the time, the same age as our son, Benjamin. It was a chilly, barely-spring day in April and our family of four kept crossing paths with this mother-and-daughter duo, while touring the garden of our dreams. Ahh, Giverny. The inspiring landscape of a Masterful Impressionist. We’d read about it, seen it depicted on canvasses hung in the world’s greatest museums, peered at photographs in the guidebooks. . . .
And here were two fellow travelers from Seattle, visiting Paris on their spring break like us. We managed to caravan by taxi together, back to the return train to Paris. But we missed our connection and ended up at a tavern near the station. Bruce, Kristi and I enjoyed refreshments; the three kids had a plate piled high with pomme frittes and drank sodas. A connection was made and thoroughly enjoyed. Turns out, I, and everyone else in the Pacific Northwest gardening world, knew of Kristi’s husband Timothy Colman, owner of Good Nature Publishing. Tim is famous for his horticultural, botanical art and natural history posters (I have about seven of them hanging in my office and kitchen!).
This was a “petit monde,” n’est ce pas?
Kristi recently sent me a few photos of her charming studio, where she gives up to five massages a day to a faithful client base. Her former one-car garage is now a simple, cozy, and quiet sanctuary for massage treatments. These are the basic requirements for her “Massage Garage.”
We emailed back and forth for this Q&A:
HOW LONG HAVE YOU PRACTICED MASSAGE?
This is my 25th year of practicing massage. I began in Boulder working with athletes, especially bicycle racers and triathletes.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
My goal is to get someone to realize there is a “balance” to health and that with exercise, food and relaxation and the dear ones around us, we can find a balance for ourselves.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO CONVERT YOUR GARAGE INTO A MASSAGE STUDIO?
I had used the back bedroom (which I had built on) as a massage room, but when I was pregnant with Katie, we realized that room would have to be hers, so we remodeled the garage and Tim used it for a while. I found him a space with a few other people in an office and took over the garage for my own work so I could spend as much time with Katie as possible. I scheduled all my clients close together so I could make the best use of a babysitter.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE WITH PRIOR ENVIRONMENTS WHERE YOU PROVIDED MASSAGE?
It’s by far the best space I’ve ever used for massage, because it’s my design and my space with my photographs on the wall (I have a degree in fine art photography).
WHAT WAS YOUR “MISSION”?
My idea was to make work something I could do from home and be nearby to be a mom, but (I) wanted to make sure my work was “heart-work” that I looked forward to doing every day.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY LIKE?
I usually do two to five massages a day. I have had some of my clients for over 20 years, so eventually a client becomes family to me. I also work at another venue two nights a week and I like this because all of my clients are new to me and I love the 2-mile walk home at the end of the day.
WHAT WERE YOUR “MUST-HAVES” FOR THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR?
For the interior, I just worked with what was already there. I didn’t have enough money to move anything around. My carpenter just made new doors and re-framed the windows. I did all the finish work myself. Over time, I figured out paint colors and shelving and the colors of flannel sheets add some color to the room, too. (For the exterior), I’m considering a little water feature, but last year was the big backyard remodel. Tim and our friend Scott dug out the hole for the patio when I was in Italy, and I put in quite a few plants from Swanson’s (Nursery) at the end of the summer. My biggest concern is quiet, so I am grateful that we live in a pretty quiet neighborhood. (We have our moments with the businesses behind us – a body shop and a barricade company.)
HOW DO YOU RELAX AND RECHARGE?
We have a steam and sauna at work (the night job) that I use. I also walk a lot with the dog.
Thanks, Kristi – your story will inspire other garage-owners to think about a new, creative use for their extra few-hundred-square-feet!