It's been just over two months since Summertown Studio opened (May 11, 2019) their doors to the public in Somerton Park, but it has quickly proven its worth in our community to be a one-of-a-kind variety studio space that can cater to a range of demographics in one location. Nestled along a fairly busy Paringa Avenue, owners Sharni Honor and Sarah Bradford (from Porch Sessions) have transformed this warehouse / shed space to one that offers a versatile hub, by combining the joys of a cafe, a retail space, an events area, a co-working space, and also have future plans to include a cellar door. There is a rustic, carefully aged, and thoroughly homey feel to the studio, through its hanging plants, its vintage elements, and its minimalist yet organized chaos-aesthetic that add to its unique character.
Sarah Bradford, Sharni Honor, and Craig (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
Stationed outside the studio is Port Elliot's beloved De Groot Coffee Co., which is well-known and popular for their prime quality coffee and has fed into my chai addiction effortlessly with every subsequent visit. While they offer their delicious drinks in takeaway cups, you are welcome to bring your own mugs and/or cups or purchase from the earthy selection of utensils that are cleverly placed by the side of their trailer for the modest price of $4. Couple it with a gooey and melt-in-your-mouth Portuguese custard tart courtesy Saudade and you've got yourself a killer combination of sweets and caffeinated treats to fuel you up for the rest of the day.
Chai, coffee, and Portugese tarts (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
While the Studio might be located a short drive away from the Bay, the décor is saturated with tropical and beachy vibes through their bamboo chairs, brightly painted surfboards, and sugarcane stem instalments that are peppered throughout the industrial style establishment. If you're lucky, you might stumble upon some fresh fruit (free mandarins, anyone?), milk, and even freshly-baked bread from Market 33 at a competitive price within the shop.
Delve deeper into the Studio and you'll find a open area lounge that is adorned with comfy cushions, colorful ottomans, whitewashed walls with murals splashed across some, and inviting swings that will resonate heavily with a relaxed communal congregation site, where friends and family in small / large groups can come together for catch-ups, celebrations, events, and more. It offers customers the ability to have a more intimate area to catch up, whilst being away from the hustle and bustle of the busy street happenings. Over the last couple of times that I've visited, I've always opted for this space, because it's got a homey and calming feel to it, not to mention the fresh air allows for the time to recharge and refresh oneself mentally and emotionally.
The co-working space is fully equipped with desks, chairs, and even bookshelves for you to curate your own workspace, which is brought to fresh life with the abundance of greenery and natural light seeping through. If you see yourself getting a consistent use out of their co-working space, you can also rent out the studio desks long-term on a semi-permanent basis or take advantage of their aptly named 'spicy desks' at $15 per day.
Question: What could possibly make this Studio space even better?
Answer: A resident dog of course - and one who goes by the name Craig!
This beautiful blue heeler-kelpie-cross walks around the precinct, making sure that everything is in order and everyone is nice and calm...and maybe even squeeze in some (read: a lot of) belly rubs and cuddles with the customers, who always have big smiles on their faces with his appearance. He's the ever-so-friendly dog who lures me back week after week and complements the great coffee and sweet treats available from the De Groot coffee van. Over the last (many) visits, it's pretty apparent that he loves to play around with humans and furbabies alike, so if you have a dog who loves to socialize, definitely bring them along!
Summertown Studio's Craig (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
There are also future plans for McLaren Vale's Hither and Yon to open a cellar door, so if coffee doesn't tickle your fancy, maybe a combination of quality wine and live music (particularly during the warmer seasons) might be the way to go.
Branding themselves to be "a collective of creative niceness", Summertown Studio boasts of a character that is reminiscent of all the wonderful things in the world that are encompassed under one glorious and diverse space that can attract a wide spectrum of audiences. By bringing together a space that can offer their customers with a bit of socialization, a bit of downtime, a bit of retail therapy, and a bit of flexibility to wander and explore - all in one warehouse-reformed creative series - Summertown Studio allows for their customers to feel like they are in a blissful state of happiness that is injected through their spring / summer elements that make this space stand out in its truest and most humble of forms.