Part of an expansive summer retreat we designed for sophisticated clients in coastal Maine, this 650-square foot yoga and meditation studio was originally conceived as a rustic, barn-like interior, inspired by the rural vernacular architecture of the area.

Then our well-traveled clients took a trip to Japan while we were completing the drawings and returned with a newly discovered passion for the architecture and gardens they had experienced there. Inspired by their enthusiasm, we shifted course to re-envision the space to reflect the spare elegance of 17th century temple and house interiors in Kyoto. The inspiration extends beyond the interior into the exterior and landscape, where a Japanese-inspired fountain cascade is set along the steps up to the site’s upper lawn terrace.

Inside the studio, walls of antique heart pine timbers and wainscoting border panels of thinly upholstered linen and plaster for a clean but warm aesthetic. Sliding doors that hide storage were designed in the Japanese style, and we had the tatami mats custom-made in Japan.

A live-edge bench, carved from a single piece of walnut and inspired by the furniture of George Nakashima, was commissioned specifically for the building’s entry vestibule. The earthy, classically proportioned sensibility of the interior is complemented by Isamu Noguchi’s light sculptures that illuminate the interior during early morning and evening meditation.

The bathroom walls are covered in a delicate Japanese-printed paper, and a unique sink carved from a single piece of stone echoes the cut granite water features in the garden outside that were designed by Mohr & Seredin Landscape Architects.

Simple French doors open from the studio to the lovely garden beyond, allowing for the breeze and the sound of the water cascade to flood the space during yoga sessions, perfectly balancing the composed Japanese aesthetic and relaxed lifestyle of Maine.

To read more about our design and inspiration for the yoga studio, please read the Architectural Digest stories here > and here >

Landscape Design by Mohr & Seredin Landscape Architects
Interior Design by G. P. Schafer Architect
General Contracting by Cold Mountain Builders
All Photographs by Eric Piasecki
Styling by Helen Crowther