DIY craft studio trend hits The Village at Castle Pines
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of AR Workshop
What do you get when you cross HGTV with those businesses that pair wine with painting? A new trend.
The Front Range is the latest region to embrace do-it-yourself (DIY) studios that offer ordinary Janes and Joes the opportunity to create their own boutique-quality wooden signs, frames, lazy Susans, canvas pillows, centerpiece boxes and more. The trend is capitalizing on the popularity of home renovation and DIY crafting TV shows and podcasts, and it comes at a time when people are more eager than ever to reconnect with friends.
AR Workshop, a South Carolina-based chain named after friends and founders Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, already has 155 locations nationwide, including two in Colorado and another one opening on Happy Canyon Road in The Village at Castle Pines in about two weeks. They provide the supplies, the space and the cleanup for those who want to test their artistic skill, have a project-centered get-together with friends, stage a team-building event, or just want to try something new.
The studios host hands-on classes, parties, kids’ camps and virtual events for creating custom, personalized home decor – both interior and exterior – from raw materials. Customers choose their project in advance from several options on the company’s website, taking into account their home’s color scheme and decor style, and everything is ready when they walk in, including pre-cut wood. Beer and wine are available for purchase for those of age.
Kelly Tabaka, a married mother of three children under the age of 12 who lives in The Meadows subdivision in Castle Rock, was ecstatic when she drove past a DIY studio that was set to open in downtown Castle Rock, but disappointed when she learned the plans fell through.
Tabaka has experience with interior decorating and teaching art, and she loves woodworking. Realizing the business model melded all of her talents and interests into one, she purchased the franchise license and will open AR Workshop Castle Rock at 862 W. Happy Canyon Road, Suite 105, on April 17.
“You don’t even have to be crafty,” Tabaka said. “We help every step of the way, and you walk away with something you’re proud of and something you’ll want to put in your house.”
The studio is housed in what used to be a showroom for a custom homebuilder, and its reclaimed wood walls, spacious worktables and ornate fireplace set an ambiance that inspires art.
In the summer, AR Workshop plans to have lawn games like giant Jenga and cornhole for date nights. During summer camps, kids can make pillows, tie-dye shirts, textile wall hangings and wooden string art projects, among other activities.
“This is going to be a really fun place where people can come and have moments of joy and happiness,” said Tabaka. (See grand opening ad on page 2 of the E Guide insert).