Before & After: A Lounge that Inspires Community

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All of our interior design projects are near and dear to my heart, but this one is more than that — it’s personal. Gateway Community Church in South Riding, VA is my church!

The project itself was little more than a plot of land and an eight-year-long prayer until 2016, when we finally began construction. The design then became my labor of love for the community.
 

Design Backstory for Gateway Community Church in South Riding, VA

No matter what kind of space we’re designing, we always take into consideration how people will interact with it. Whether you’re looking to inspire productivity, relaxation, or family time, the design should support and encourage those interactions.

In Gateway Community Church’s case, we wanted to create a space that would bring people together, stimulate conversation, and strengthen our close-knit bonds.  

(How powerful is it that design can do that?! I get so passionate about it!)

  Construction begins on Gateway Community Church

Construction begins on Gateway Community Church

Once the construction was underway, we began to refine and finalize the interior design. Today, I'm showing you Phase I, which includes the 1st and 2nd floor lounges.

OUR INTERIOR DESIGN GOALS

  • Avoid the stereotypical “church-y” vibe

  • Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, as if coming into someone’s home

  • Embrace the sophisticated taste of the community (because who doesn’t love a little wow?)

  • Design the space to withstand 7 days of use per week (for preschool, Scouts, Book Club, etc.)

  • Accommodate all our families with little ones

You’re going to love how these came together…
 

1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

  Before: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

Before: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

We love the dry stacked stone wall, and Lord knows the community will need a fireplace to huddle around during our cold Virginia winters! Here’s how we designed the space:

  • Light beige pillows mimic the hues in the stone and bring the wall into the room

  • A beautiful wooden table echoes the space’s warmth and character

  • Touches of silver elevate classiness and sophistication

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Fireplace Seating


1st Floor Lounge, Nook

  Before: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

Before: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

  After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

After: 1st Floor Lounge, Nook

In this little nook, we envisioned community members chatting away in cozy chairs and feeling right at home. Here’s what we did to make the space as warm, intimate, and inviting as possible!

  • Artfully displayed gallery of community photos feel heartwarmingly personal

  • Variation of stylish seating options keep the space engaging and enticing

  • Woven baskets and wooden elements (chairs, desk) add a hand-crafted and natural look

  • Velvet, soft chairs, and pillows amp up the coziness factor

The space is open and modern and comfortable and welcoming and warm. It’s as near perfect as I could have imagined.
— Ed Allen, Lead Pastor

2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

Our goal in both lounges was to create a space that looks sophisticated, feels intimate, and inspires people to connect… but we didn’t want the two lounges to look identical. Here’s how we created a second unique space that's cohesive with the first.

  Before: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

Before: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Right Balcony View

Why it works:

  • Close seating placement and easily movable chairs encourage interaction

  • Variation in seating options and textile patterns keeps the space feeling naturally social (by contrast, uniformity would feel staged)

  • Scattered plants introduce a freshness and liveliness to the atmosphere


2nd Floor Lounge, Left Balcony View

  Before: 2nd Floor Lounge, Left Balcony View

Before: 2nd Floor Lounge, Left Balcony View

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Left Balcony View

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Left Balcony View

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Both Balconies

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Both Balconies

  After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Both Balconies

After: 2nd Floor Lounge, Both Balconies

Here, we added a few more touches that were intended to inspire conversation and interaction:

  • Hexagonal tables are functional, sleek, and subtly evoke the idea of a hive (another community!)

  • Wave patterned carpet creates movement throughout the room… and inspires it, too

  • Small accents of wood and warm browns keep the space feeling organic and alive

  Phase 1, complete!

Phase 1, complete!

Though every space we design brings me personal joy, I feel especially grateful for this one, which allowed me to give back in such a powerful way. I couldn't agree more with Lead Pastor Ed Allen and his joy at seeing how the community has embraced the space...

It thrills my heart to see people occupying all kinds of neat, comfortable little nooks and crannies throughout the week and through our weekend services. THANK YOU, MARIA!
— Ed Allen, Lead Pastor

We hope to bring more function and beauty to the next phases of this project, which will include the gym/worship area (yes, they are one and the same!), the church's staff offices, and the children’s area. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more updates to come!


What kind of experience do you want your space to inspire? Maria Causey Interior Design can bring it to life! For more information or a proposal for your next project, contact us today.