Gateway: Living

Do-it-Yourself farmhouse décor studio coming to Gig Harbor

Patrons work on their crafts at AR Workshop in Pineville, N.C. earlier this year. A Gig Harbor AR Workshop location is set to open in mid-December.
Patrons work on their crafts at AR Workshop in Pineville, N.C. earlier this year. A Gig Harbor AR Workshop location is set to open in mid-December. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

As one of the hottest design trends featured in magazines, pinned to favorite boards and popularized on home makeover shows, “farmhouse style,” has taken over the decorating world.

The trend is recognizable to those who have seen any rustic, minimal, or cozy décor featuring natural colors, textures and wood backed with farmhouse touches like bead board or shiplap, popularized by the HGTV hit show “Fixer Upper.”

Soon, Gig Harbor residents will have a new way to express their farmhouse creativity with the opening of a local AR Workshop in mid-December.

The two women who launched the AR Workshop model, Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, opened a flagship location in Pineville, N.C. earlier this year. They now have licensees opening AR Workshops in 12 cities across the country.

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AR Workshop owners/creators Maureen Anders, left and Adria Ruff, right, at their Pineville, N.C. location earlier this year. Anders and Ruff are two graphic designers who run AR Workshop where they lead groups in making crafts out of wood and canvas. A Gig Harbor AR Workshop location is set to open in mid-December. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

AR Workshop offers hands-on classes to create custom home décor from scratch, said Gig Harbor AR Workshop owner Jasmine Schmidt.

“We’ll have everything from framed and plank wood signs to canvas wall hangings, chalkboard art, pillows and more,” she said.

Participants select from a variety of instructor-led workshops with customizable patterns and templates. As a result, no two projects end up looking alike.

“This approach results in beautiful, unique artworks with consistent, high-end results,” Schmidt said.

Taking a cue from other popular interactive craft parties such as “wine and painting” studios, AR Workshop also offers individuals, couples and groups a unique experience.

The workshop is designed with a warm atmosphere that’s more ‘lounge’ than ‘arts and crafts studio.’

Gig Harbor AR Workshop owner Jasmine Schmidt

“The workshop is designed with a warm atmosphere that’s more ‘lounge’ than ‘arts and crafts studio,’” said Schmidt. “It’s perfect for date night, girls’ night out, birthday parties and team-building activities.”

Currently, the construction dust is still flying on the Gig Harbor project, but AR Workshop’s finished space will include a workshop area, retail space, two paint bars, and a lounge area with snack bar all wrapped in a warm and friendly setting.

“We want you to feel like you’re at your girlfriend’s house, so you can relax and have fun,” Schmidt said.

“Relaxing” doesn’t describe Schmidt’s schedule as she readies to open the first AR Workshop franchise in the state. The busy mother of three already had a passion for crafting and was known for her talent before she decided to take the plunge.

“I was making custom signs for family and friends and started getting a lot of requests,” said Schmidt. “I thought about starting my own paint-and-create parties, but then I found AR Workshop and haven’t looked back since.”

Whether you’re passionate about crafting or new to the fun, AR Workshop offers a foolproof format for success. In addition to the lead instructor, each workshop includes table assistants; access to power tools, designer paints, stains, and stencils; hanging hardware; accessories and more.

“We have everything … you don’t have to be creative to leave with something beautiful,” Schmidt said. “We’ll make all your Pinterest dreams come true.”

Though the venture is still a month away from opening, Gig Harbor residents have already shown strong interest in AR Workshop.

“Every day, I’m getting interest from people who want to have birthday parties or hold corporate events,” she said.

Framed wood signs for adults and canvas projects for youth generate the most interest.

“I think there’s a lot of gratification that comes from doing it yourself,” Anders told The Charlotte Observer in January. “They hang it on the wall and they’re constantly reminded, ‘I really truly made that myself.’ That satisfaction of making it yourself is way better than going out and buying it in the store. It makes people feel good.”

Located at 3208 Tarabochia Street in downtown Gig Harbor, AR Workshop can accommodate up to 36 adults. Workshop prices vary, but the average cost runs about $65 per class. The first class, “Plank Wood Sign, Lazy Susan, or Centerpiece Box” is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Refreshments, including adult beverages from the snack bar, are not included. To learn more or to make class reservations, visit arworkshop.com/gigharbor.

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