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September 15, 2016

Design Reveal

As we celebrate the first year anniversary of our local YMCA, I am reminded of the extraordinary importance of community. A place to come together, young and old, of many faiths and ethnic backgrounds, and stages in our lives and celebrate. The simple act of taking care and valuing ourselves and others. Cheers to belonging.

Most of the time, when you walk into an office building, store or fitness center, you don't consider the thought process behind the design. Sometimes there perhaps wasn't much thought given. However, other times there is much time, devotion and research put into a building design. This is certainly the case for the brand new, Exeter Area YMCA, set to open later this week, on September 11th, 2015.

There is a dizzying amount of information regarding the importance of linking planned space and the brain, especially in health care settings. I was so lucky to work with a staff that took interest in the importance of neuroscience and were willing to begin to implement some of what that research tells us into the design footprint for the new Exeter Area YMCA. I don't know another YMCA in the country that has gone to the lengths that we have to embrace these concepts.

Because of their grounding effect and link to the earth, we have carefully weaved the five earth elements throughout the design.


From the moment you walk into the space you are greeted with warm and earthy tones that help members feel safe, secure and welcomed. The earthy browns and camel tones in the stained concrete invoke the earth element. Sure underfoot and grounding.

As you move to the reception desk you are welcomed by green reed-like veneer panels and one of the most intriguing and exciting products I have had the chance to work with in a long time! JM Lifestyles created the transaction desk for the front lobby. In it's turmeric and stone colored hues, it is a composite of concrete and recycled material that has been painstakingly poured into wood form molds. The result is a smooth, textural invitation that belies the eye. In every way, it looks and feels like wood, yet it is a durable, sustainable material. It also holds body heat, so it stays warm to the touch providing a comfortable tactile experience. We think people will probably hang out a little bit longer than usual, just to absorb the essence and maybe linger in conversation a bit longer as well.



As you turn around you are welcomed by the awesome and majestic waterfall recognition wall. This two story sculpture tells the story of many dedicated hands and connects water and wood in a way that could not be found more perfectly in nature.

The recycled wave panels, designed by 3Form, spill into an imaginative wading pool of blue concrete and are anchored by the comforting and layered wood so generously donated by Northland Forest Products in Kingston, NH.


Wood is known for it's calming and centering properties. It helps to lower blood pressure and relax the pre-frontal cortex. You will notice that this and many other species of wood grace the entire facility from the teen center to the meeting rooms and even in the yoga studio. It's beauty and resiliency is purposefully echoed throughout.

A meandering tributary will take you past earthen color tones that are repeated throughout the building to bring a sense of unity and feeling of nature.


One can follow the river to the far end of the building to our fourth earth element, fire. Primitive and life sustaining, this fireplace is flanked by earthen stone, donated by G & N Flooring and is meant to invoke the feeling of warmth and safety. It requests a conversation, and old friendship continued or a new one just begun. Sit and stay a spell.


Lastly, air. This one is always tricky as it is not easy to grasp on to. You can wiggle your toes in the earth, caress wood, splash through water and receive warmth from a fire, but ether well...that's up for interpretation! However, I feel that it's the air we breath collectively, through bettering our bodies with exercise and bettering our minds with friendship and conversation. It's the energy we receive and give as we move through this space. This space accounts for all the elements, event the most important; the human element.

For our team at Mandeville Canyon Designs, we were honored to work with such a talented and dedicated group of people who kept their minds and hearts open to the idea of something different. Something that celebrates both the art and science of good design, but most of all, celebrates the most perfect design...people!

For more information on how to become a member at the new Exeter Area YMCA, please click here!

* Mandeville Canyon Designs is exclusive distributor of this product in the Seacoast area!

Transformations Worth Sharing

Clients who have experienced the transformative power of healthy interior design

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design. Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it. We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Jim P.

Renee is an absolutely wonderful designer. Very talented and easy to work with! She will transform your room or outdoor space into exactly what you want, only better!

Karen S.

Talented, creative, dedicated, great communicator. Renee is such a special person.

Marla W.

We have worked with Renee Carman at this company for almost 2 years. Renee is professional, personable, and a pleasure to know. She is very helpful and will go the extra mile to please her clients. Renee has excellent expertise and knowledge of interior design. We have a beautiful home and highly recommend her.

Lisa W.

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design.  Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it.  We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Kate S.

Renee was a pleasure to work with and has great vision. We were doing a total rehab of a recently purchased property and she was able to look at a gutted out '50s cottage and turn it into a beautiful mid-century modern home. She understood our budget and timeline and was good about narrowing all our options down to just a few choices. This expedited the process, made it less difficult and more enjoyable. Once the rehab is done, we look forward to working with her again and finish the rest of the rooms.

Bill H.

Renee at Mandeville Canyon Interior Design was simply wonderful to work with. She was able to understand what we were looking for in terms of color, function and design from the moment we first spoke. She's easy to work with, goes above and beyond and delivers an outstanding design.

I highly recommend Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design. I don't think I will attempt to decorate another room in my house without the help of Renee!

Pam O.

Love working with Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design ! I had the opportunity to collaborate on a large scale design project recently and the results were fantastic! Creative, resourceful and one of kind design ideas made this design opportunity with Renee "one of a kind" Have a large or small project? You won't be disappointed!!

Mary S.

Renee not only has an amazingly creative eye, she also directed a massive renovation for us this past year that included the challenges of operating during the pandemic. She put together a team that had an incredible work ethic and brought the project in on-time and on-budget. She's a great listener. When we threw ideas at her, she was never dismissive; quite the contrary, she made them better. Her patience, attention to detail combined with her whacky sense of humor meant we were all able to smile while producing a home that we love. A great talent and a great lady.

Ann R.

Rene is amazing!  Great customer care and wonderful attention to detail.

Holly M.