A Stylish Retreat

“Soft and yummy, that’s what I wanted.”

Is Kim Hubbard, owner of Asheville’s K2 Studio, referring to her latest cooking experiment — a warm baguette or savory Hollandaise, perhaps? Nope, it’s her elegant attic guest suite, tucked away and quite refreshed, thank you, since its days as a soulless storage space.

Hubbard, whose services and products project a sophisticated but decidedly unfussy design sensibility, explains, “It was just right for storage, but that’s about it.” She winces as she remembers the challenges inherent to the project, but is all smiles as she gazes at the “after,” a serene space that features an impossibly cushy bed, a bath area that puts Miraval to shame, and a thoughtful blend of cultural influences. Her primary goal? Comfort. “Guests should feel pampered, so I made it spa-like by using materials, images, and architectural features inspired by nature. I also employed simple finishes, luxe fabrics, and neutral colors to convey a sense of calm.”

With the help of craftsman Danny Schwalje, Hubbard got to work. She launches into an explanation of her initial monumental tasks as if she was buttering toast: “We did the un-glam stuff first. We blew out the space for HVAC and plumbing. Then we laid the floors diagonally for more visual interest; they look like wood but are really ceramic tile. We also did wall coatings, sandblasting and applying brick-fronted treatments; it was messy and labor-intensive for sure.” The completion of this phase paved the way for the fun part — defining the space’s identity.

Hubbard took the old adage about first impressions to heart. The room’s entrance is a harbinger for wonderful things to come; its highlight is a pair of extravagantly oversized pillows covered in creamy faux feathers. They’re supremely welcoming, and soften the nook’s sharp architectural angle. The pillows are skillfully paired with a dramatic floor lamp of an Asian figure in white porcelain.

The remaining space is open, and sleeping, lounging, and bathing areas coexist easily.

The graceful iron bed’s footboard, containing a centrally placed Gothic quatrefoil, serves as the underpinning for scrumptious bedding: plump down pillows covered in cable knit “sweater” pillowcases, a fluffy quilted duvet, and a throw pillow accented with sequins. A graceful coverlet with a crocheted detail seals the dreamy deal. The comfort vibe’s enhanced as the bed sits atop a cowhide placed over a jute rug — all in all, a perfect spot for gazing at a starry night sky through the four large windows opposite the bed.

The space is enveloped by trees, a stunning skyscape, and an ever-changing cast of creatures, from birds to bears. It doesn’t hurt that downtown Asheville’s visible also. To drink all this in, Hubbard incorporated a large, horizontally situated rectangular window above the sink, which picturesquely frames the beauty just beyond it. “If you’re in bed, you can see nature’s tranquility and power, no matter which direction you look toward,” she says.

Hubbard’s aesthetic reveals a visual body of knowledge that incorporates historic periods, cultural signposts, and an innate graphic design orientation. An intricately carved wooden stool from Cameroon exemplifies Hubbard’s frequent use of ethnic artifacts. “I love African tribal art,” she says. Other world touches include a reproduction Barcelona stool topped in buttery leather and a most interesting accessory — a champagne-toned camel saddle. “I pick pieces I love, and am proud that most everything’s from K2. I encourage people to go with their instincts; don’t lean on ‘the rules,’ because they don’t take into account your unique aesthetic or a space’s individuality,” she advises.

The suite reads neutral, but countless comforting cappuccinos, subtle grays and toasty creams exemplify this tonal family’s true variety. The room’s richness comes not only from beautifully constructed vignettes, but from warm woods and varied textures — impossibly soft sheets, a wooly flokati rug, and a stunning Chinese end table with mother-of-pearl inlay. The bathroom vanity is piled high with white, plush towels. The open shower area beckons with its oversized showerhead and sea of cocoa, cream, and white 2-by-2-inch tiles, while the brushed fixtures lend a Euro-sophistication.

Hubbard concludes the tour with one last design challenge that morphed into success. “I really wanted this white glass beaded chandelier in here, but knew the mounting surface was uneven and funky. We figured it out and I’m so glad it’s here; I knew it would add a lot.”

As if on cue, large, billowy snowflakes fill the vistas beyond the windows, wispily confirming Hubbard’s spot-on design instincts and challenging any guest who’d even think to leave.

K2 Studio is located at 59 College St, Asheville. Call 828-250-0500 or visitwww.homeredefined.com for more information.