Elisa Shankle designed HealHaus, a wellness space and cafe she co-founded in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, to reflect the warm, inclusive ethos of the brand.
Photos by Seher Sikander
When designer HealHaus, a wellness space and cafe in Clinton Hill, earlier this year, they didn’t set out to cater to one client’s tastes, or even their own. Their goal was a bit loftier: to establish a space that appeals to an entire community—a place where you can, as Elisa explains, “come as you are and experience what healing is to you.” To convey this ethos, she used the medium she knows best: design.and her friend Darian Hall co-founded
“I have always been interested in mindfulness and holistic health, so it was just natural for me to combine my two passions, wellness and design,” she shares. “I felt there was a need for an inclusive and modern wellness space where we could build community.”
HealHaus, instantly identifiable by its cheerful yellow facade, is a place where people of all races, genders, and backgrounds can pop in for a meditation or yoga class, grab a smoothie, and connect with others. To create a studio where inclusivity beckons, she chose a neutral and rustic aesthetic offset with an eclectic twist.
“It was important for the space to feel gender neutral and not intimidating like a lot of wellness spaces are,” Elisa explains. “Many wellness spaces are catered towards women, and by using different deep earthy tones, it maintains neutrality.”
This gender neutrality is further underscored by her decision to leave the walls bare, save for a coat of rust and tan paint—an homage to her home state of North Carolina.
“The woods are always a source of color inspiration for me, and incorporating the North Carolina red clay, rustic tones, and deep, earthy colors are always my go to,” she shares.
In the wellness cafe at the front of the space, she offset these hues with a stone and rustic metal bar, which radiates texture and depth. She also custom designed the benches, screen, and lockers in an ebony-stained wood, adding pops of color with custom cushions for the bench seating. And to add a touch of glam, she wove in brass and gold elements via lighting and mirrors.
Down the hall, in the group programming room where the yoga, mediation, and workshops take place, Elisa extended a warm, nurturing sensibility. She hand-selected orb-like lighting that invites a celestial feel into the space. And to usher in color and texture into the room, she designed meditation cushions in a slew of deep shades, including blue, yellow, and orange.
This studio spills into an outdoor space tucked behind the building, where Elisa dipped into the same earthy palette and installed the same orb-like lighting from the programming room. The resulting area is a calming backdrop for meditation and yoga—practices that had been sorely missed in the surrounding neighborhood.
“The neighborhood is so happy we are there, because we are located where no other yoga studios, and people have been craving something like us to open,” she says. “Because we are a mixed-use space, we have a little something for everyone, and it’s more about finding what fits for you.”
And luckily for wellness lovers and aspirers, HealHaus may be coming to a neighborhood near you. Elisa and her partner hope to open another location in New York City, as well as Los Angeles, and eventually across the country.
“Our hope is to make wellness modern and accessible, and show people that taking care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health is cool,” she shares.
Keep your eyes peeled for that cheerful yellow facade.
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