An Atlanta Resimerical Office Space at the Intersection of Industrial and Modern Design

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By Brandi Koloski

Photography by Brittany Wages

When it comes to designing spaces, Giana Shorthouse of Studio Giana doesn't just think outside the box – she flips it, spins it, and transforms it — in this instance, into a dynamic work haven. Nestled among grand Victorian homes, this industrial Cinderella of a space is an unexpected but welcome departure from the norm for a personal injury lawyer. Explore the industrial-inspired residential-turned-commercial space where steel windows meet exposed ceilings, and eccentric showers find their place, creating an unforgettable symphony of style, character, and ingenuity.

A Multidisciplinary Design Virtuoso — Studio Giana

Giana Shorthouse, owner of Studio Giana, navigates seamlessly between the worlds of interior design and styling. Before Studio Giana, she embarked on a seven-year journey into the dynamic realm of styling for advertising photoshoots. While the journey was enriching, Giana found herself looking for a deeper connection within her work. "It wasn't really what I wanted to do," she explains, "Some of the brands I worked with weren't particularly brands that I really connected to." This realization sparked her return to her true passion: interiors. As the owner of Studio Giana, Giana now expertly juggles both styling for interior photoshoots and crafting exquisite spaces for homeowners and small businesses alike.

The Sadie II Outdoor Barstool in our standard Pebble metal finish.

Industrial Character in a Historic Neighborhood

The client, a personal injury lawyer, sought not only a functional environment but also a space that exuded character and charm — a whimsical departure from the client's profession. Nestled in the historic Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta, the loft stood as a contrast to the surrounding Victorian homes, with its cinder block construction and industrial appeal.

The structure, initially a residential space, has undergone a series of transformations over the years. Its colorful history includes notable tenants like actor Zach Galifianakis, who resided during a film project. A subsequent creative agency acquisition retained the existing layout, though it left much to be desired. What was once a stereotypical loft — complete with unusual residential bathrooms, floating drywall walls, and unconventional showers — emerged as an exciting canvas for reinvention.

The client first consulted with a local architect, Anne Sciarrone of Anne Architecture, to establish a high-level plan surrounding the layout and removal of existing walls in the space. The client then approached Studio Giana with an intriguing challenge: to transform an old loft into a vibrant work haven. With their vision set, the renovation commenced as the client, a contractor, and Studio Giana joined forces to reimagine the entire interior, breathing new life into this captivating space.

The Sadie II Outdoor Barstool with Pebble metal finish. The Harper A-Frame Chair with Cement Grey metal finish, a veneer seat shell in a Natural finish and partially upholstered seat in Designtex - Hyde, Harvest.

Crafting Character

Giana's task was clear: to infuse the loft with a balance of light, brightness, and warmth while respecting the client's affinity for industrial aesthetics. The loft's existing features, including steel windows and exposed ceilings, were retained to preserve its unique character. "I wanted to embrace the characteristics that were already there," Giana explains. Yet, the space required a strategic redesign, involving the removal of walls, reconfiguration of meeting areas, and a transformation of residential bathrooms into commercial spaces.

Collaborating closely with the client, Giana selected materials, colors, and furnishings that would create an inviting yet unobtrusive atmosphere. One notable challenge arose when designing a conference room. Inspired by the original factory windows, Giana sourced a steel divider with steel doors to delineate the space. Balancing style and budget, she successfully captured the industrial essence while maintaining functionality.

The Harper A-Frame Chair with Cement Grey metal finish, a veneer seat shell in a Natural finish and partially upholstered seat in Designtex - Hyde, Harvest.

The Supporting Elements

Among the standout features of the space are the furniture pieces that lend a sense of modern elegance. Giana's choice of Grand Rapids Chair's products was deliberate. "Price point, lead time, and the customization options" were key factors in her decision. The Sadie II Outdoor Barstool is a sleek steel creation that effortlessly melds industrial aesthetics with refined minimalism, all wrapped in a harmonious monochromatic palette. Placed in the break room, it perfectly captures Giana's creative vision for the project. Alongside the Sadie II Outdoor Barstool sits the Harper A-Frame Chair, offering a delightful contrast. This mixed-material chair, featuring steel legs and a plywood seat, introduces a touch of warmth to the space. Giana admires the chair's versatility in combining leather, wood, and metal, making it a favorite in the space.

Interior details of the Atlanta office space.
Interior details of the Atlanta office space.

A Harmonious Blend

While discussing the project's success, Giana emphasizes the pivotal role played by the client's trust and open communication. "They were so easygoing and relaxed," she remarks, highlighting the importance of establishing a rapport that allowed for transparent conversations and flexible timelines.

For Giana, this project was an opportunity to showcase her adaptability and creativity. In a world that often expects designers to stick to a signature style, Giana defied expectations. "My personal style is… just white and beige," she admits, yet her ability to infuse color and vibrancy into her projects reveals her versatility as a designer. The project's harmonious blend of industrial and inviting elements reflects Giana's mastery of her craft

Who would have thought that a personal injury lawyer's workspace could be transformed into a dynamic haven that defies convention? Nestled among the historic Victorian homes, this cinder block construction building now holds its own in a symphony of style and character. From a choppy residential loft, this reinvented office space is a delightful whirlwind of surprises. Giana's expertise in strategic renovation has resulted in a successful merging of industrial aesthetics and modern elegance. As we wrap up our conversation, it's clear that Giana's passion for design and her innovative spirit will continue to shape unexpected spaces that inspire and delight.