Synergistic Studio

The River Sunnyside pairs tranquility with aesthetic for an all-purpose yogic experience.

Photo by Jimena Peck.

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It’s a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and social health factors. However, we can’t forget the importance of environment. When you go somewhere that’s serene and beautiful—and welcomes you with open arms—you can’t help but feel calm and stress-free, which aids in your overall wellness.

The River Sunnyside’s owner Danielle Barbeau says escaping the daily grind allows you to better focus on centering your mind and body. She knew this sentiment would be pertinent when creating her new yoga space, so she decided to enlist close friend and yoga aficionado, Jamie Nusser of J Designs to help.

The Look and Feel

Bringing the outdoors in was a big part of the design. “Everything was done with intention. We wanted to transport you into a more mindful, calm space,” says Barbeau. “That’s why there are big elements on the walls with mantras to draw you in as soon as you step inside. The space is also very functional and features natural elements such as trees, a river, and cool lighting which helps with the overall synergy.”

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Nusser says it was a natural fit for her to design. “I looked at this project from the perspective of a person who practices yoga but with my designer hat on, too,” she explains. “I approached our latest project with genuine love and respect for the space. I wanted to make sure it had a welcoming feel and community lobby area—and of course I understood the need for balance between design innovation and natural design elements and colors.”

Photo by Jimena Peck.

“We want people to come in and wonder where they are; Am I in a boutique? Am I in a spa? Or, am I walking by the river? It’s a very serene atmosphere and offers a sense of community and experiential vibe.”—Danielle Barbeau

Community Connection

The two friends decided to include a calming grey couch in the “living space” for students to hang out and drink coffee or tea. “Creating a sense of community was essential,” says Nusser. “Personal connection is very impactful to one’s overall wellbeing.” Besides choosing the colors, Nusser had a hand in the architecture, which includes showers and large bathrooms so you don’t feel cramped; and she worked with the builder, engineer, and sound technician. Barbeau is happy with the result.

“My dream was an indoor/ outdoor oasis with hot, sweaty rooms [for hot yoga], 14-foot garage doors, and a lot of open air, but interestingly, the individual rooms melt away once you’re there. The beautifully decorated walls with inspirational words become the focus—along with the trees, sun, and breeze. Plus, you can see downtown Denver. We absolutely love it.”