A before-and-after of a wellness lounge for employees, therapists and volunteers of a Chicago non-profit addiction and recovery center.
We are thrilled to be able to share with you the reveal of Above & Beyond’s Wellness Retreat! We introduced this ‘Give Back’ makeover on Instagram (catch up on the highlight) and in this blog post. Above & Beyond is a one of a kind Chicago non-profit addiction and recovery center, and our friend Nithin was recently appointed their Chief Wellness Officer.
It began over a friend dinner conversation at our home, in which Nithin shared that the director was hoping to turn Nithin’s office into a retreat for the hardworking employees and volunteers of A&B to relax. As the Chief Wellness Officer, Nithin’s office made the most sense for the space, as his role includes components of human resources and ensuring the well-being of others at the organization.
We offered to help guide him through product picks, but as the conversation progressed, we realized that with the help of our Yellow Brick Home community (see below!), we could be hands on and gift them the room they’re envisioning – a collaborative lounge for therapists, employees and volunteers to debrief, breathe and have a moment of mindfulness in the midst of their busy day. After meeting with the director, it became clear to us that we wanted nothing more than to make magic for a non-profit that works tirelessly for others.
We couldn’t have done it without the help of our YBH volunteers! These girls worked hard, we laughed hard, and we found new friends in the process.
Left to right: Katie, Jenny, Kim, Rachel
A&B’s wishes included everything from ambient lighting to blackout curtains, a place to be able to close their eyes, a spot to grab a hot cup of coffee, and conversational seating for leaning on each other through difficult situations. We promised them this and more – including pleasing sounds, soft textures and scents to soothe. We were given a modest budget, but we also tapped into the help of our longtime partners at Article to stretch the budget farther than any of us could have hoped for!
Before, the room was painted a true green with a wall of (mostly unused) closets. Several desks, multiple chairs and an assortment of filing cabinet lined the perimeter of the room.
Shall we play a game of ‘Spot the Differences’? (I’m kidding.) Not a single surface was left untouched from floor to ceiling, but removing the wall of closets gave us an additional 25 sq. ft. of space to design the room as we wished! Walls, ceiling, all millwork and the door were painted Providence Blue by Benjamin Moore. When I say this color is a chameleon, I really, really mean it! In perfect lighting, it reads as the smoky blue/gray you see here. On a bright blue-sky day, the color becomes more vibrant, sometimes leaning a touch of green, too.
Once the closets were removed, we found a lovely surprise – a junction box that was completely hidden! Now, this pretty pendant illuminates an otherwise dim corner.
Let’s take a tour around the room’s different ‘stations, starting with Nithin’s dedicated desk area. We opted for a sit-to-stand desk, completely motorized. Were were enamored with the quality of this standing desk! With a push of a button, it smoothly lifts or lowers. We paired it with this chair, added a rattan lamp, a box of tissue, and outfitted Nithin with all new pens and a small plant as his office buddy.
To offer privacy, we added this frosted film to his door and installed a new door knob with keypad. Floor to ceiling curtains help with sound control, and one big IKEA PAX wardrobe hides away files, clothing (often provided for those seeking employment and going on job interviews), and several empty baskets, too!
Credenza + Coffee
We had some challenges on this wall, but in the end, we’re really happy with how it turned out! The credenza, coffee station and Frame TV offer a LOT of function for Zoom calls, ambient music, energy fuel and additional lighting.
The week of install, it became very apparent that the credenza we initially ordered wasn’t going to make it in time. We found this one with the most perfect dimensions in the eleventh hour, and it was delivered overnight! We organized the inside to include soft throw blankets, eye masks, compostable coffee pods, as well as additional office supplies.
To make it truly one stop, we added these cute coffee mugs (complete with adorable brass stir spoons!), a Sonos that can play from your phone or television, and the Frame TV offers calming art while also doubling as a Zoom screen. The stunning Rama lamp from Article makes a big statement while also grounding that side of the room.
We discussed with Nithin the possibility of seating all around the room, and this is where Article really came through for us! First, let’s remember where we began.
The ceilings in this room are 10′ tall, and any vertical interest was really underutilized. We wanted to highlight the ceiling height with a uniform paint color (Benjamin Moore’s Providence Blue) and a stack of really wide ‘floating’ shelves.
We designed the entire room around the Cigar sectional from Article. This is the sectional in Rawhide Brown with an additional loveseat, which perfectly lines the room from wall to cabinet! We already know and love Article for their high quality furniture, so it was an easy decision to choose the most prominent pieces in the room from them. Article is able to offer exceptional pricing without sacrificing style and durability, and it’s the reason we remain lifelong fans of the brand!
Article kindly donated the sectional, loveseat, ottoman, and several accessories (including most of the pillows you see here). The cigar style sofa is deep and low, providing ultimate comfort for lounging, sleeping or conversation. I can assure you that despite having a low back, it’s extremely comfortable, as agreed upon by everyone who tested it out. My favorite part of the sofa is that it requires zero zhushing, meaning the cushions will always look neat and tidy. We know that in a busy office, the last thing they need to worry about it fluffing the cushions!
We paired the sectional with the Pica ottoman in Plush Pacific Rust, which has the prettiest wood accent around the bottom. We all gasped when we saw it! We were surprised by how comfortable it is, too. The thick foam padding keeps its shape while giving you a place to rest your legs.
To accentuate the height of the ceilings, we installed two 10′ wide ‘floating’ shelves, and we basically shopped around Above & Beyond to fill it up! We purchased the faux plants and Rachel (Nithin’s wife) dropped off some artwork we could use. The books and small trinkets came from A&B’s in-house library, with the exception of these figure bookends I couldn’t resist!
The shelves are 10′ x 10″ oak boards we bought at Home Depot. We sanded them, applied two coats of Polycrylic (no stain), and then used 5 of these brackets spaced evenly along each shelf. We’ve used these brackets in projects before, and they are VERY sturdy. When styling, I just put items in front of the part of the bracket that’s exposed, making these shelves truly appear to be floating.
On the adjacent wall, we hung this massive mirror, which makes the room appear ten times larger! If you’re on the hunt for a large mirror with zero warping on the glass, this is the one. And we can’t help but get giddy when we see the rattan pendant hanging above. To think, we didn’t even know that junction box existed before!
The Infamous Missing Rug
This rug absolutely needs its own dedication. IYKYK! In all seriousness, we were so sure that this rug went missing the night before the install. We couldn’t find it rolled up anywhere, so Scott and I immediately set out to Home Goods to find something comparable. We left with a 9′ x 12′ blue rug, even though my heart wanted red.
Feeling frustrated, I went down a Facebook Marketplace rabbit hole and found a cream/beige rug with blue accents that I liked a little better. (Still not red, but I liked it better than the Home Goods find.) I drove 2 hours round trip to pick it up from a Chicago suburb, and wouldn’t you know… the day of the install, a volunteer (hi, Rachel!) found the original rug folded up in a big box! We had it all along, and that is the story of how we went from 1 rug to 3 rugs and back to 1 rug. The Home Goods one was returned, and now I need to figure out what to do with the Marketplace find, haha.
I’m over the moon we were able to find the original rug. I knew the brick red would look stunning with the blue/gray walls, and the large size – we have a 9′ x 12′ in the space – completely conceals the wood floors that were damaged over the years.
Sharing the Reveal
The room makeover took two days of painting by our painting team, two days to install, and one day to photograph. Once everything had been documented, we brought Nithin and a few other A&B executives to tour the space. It was overwhelming in the best way, and I was sure to record a few sound bites of the reveal that I’ll share on Instagram. How happy does Nithin look in the finished space?!
A round of applause for our Yellow Brick Home volunteers: Katie, Jenny and Rachel. Those girls CRUSHED it, and we all had the best time working together. We’re honored to have taken you along for the ride, all of which is saved in this Instagram highlight. We are humbled and grateful that we could play the smallest role in an organization that does so much for others.
Get the Look
1. benjamin moore providence blue | 2. checkered blanket, $60 | 3. rattan lamp, $130 | 4. faux plant, $60 | 5. curtain rod, $40 | 6. velvet curtains, $35 | 7. drafting chair, $350 | 8. sit stand desk, $290 | 9. frame tv, $2200 | 10. wall mirror, $510 | 11. black lamp, $160 | 12. layla rug, $360 | 13. floating table, $35 | 14. leather sofa, $3900 | 15. ottoman, $200 | 16. ren pillow, $60 | 17. lucca pillows, $100 | 18. weave basket, $30 | 19. console table, $400 | 20. faux tree (similar), $150 + cement planter
We love a good before and after! See more here, including another Give Back Makeover we completed 1 year ago this month.
What a gorgeous reveal. All the details, the colors, the heart. I’ve been waiting excitedly for this one. You created a glorious space that will bring such peace and life to so many. Thank you for your work and the beautiful outcome!
OMG this reveal is soooo good! Absolutely hit it out of the park with every detail you selected for the space. Bravo!
What a wonderful space! This is what I would want my home office to look like: some workspace and then a huge comfy sectional and coffee! I love an office that has people wanting to come gather together, and I love what you guys were able to do for them!
Thank you! Nithin says he can’t keep folks out of his office because everyone is congregating in the space now, which was the exact intent!
The room looks like it doubled in size! I absolutely love the floating shelves and mirror. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.
Taking out the wall of closets gave us SO much space, and the mirror quite literally highlights that!
You do such beautiful work and with such good intentions and love. You are very authentic in what you do, and that’s why I read your blog. Good job!
Means the world.
Wait what about the ceiling fan?! Love it all!
What an absolutely stunning and welcoming space. Thank you for taking us along!
So so gorgeous, and for such a good cause. Wonderful work!
It’s stunning and obviously so well deserved! Bravo YBH team!
Thank you, Tiffany!
Beautiful space. I love everything about this room. Just ran out and got the paint to paint my spare bedroom/media room. I’ll be getting many of the other items too. Thanks for the inspiration!