ST. THOMAS — When you visualize a storage space, you tend to think of the basics, galvanized walls and ceiling, cement floor, bare box.
When you walk into the new Battu Studio at Prime Storage, you’ll see proof that interior designer Linea Ogiste can transform any space, even a storage unit, into a chic, comfortable and stylish space.
Originally from Dominica, Ogiste worked for Louis Vuitton at Yacht Haven Grande for 12 years, where she honed her visual merchandising skills, helping open multiple stores in the United States, Mexico and South America.
Ogiste has always been creative, a born artist who loves style and creating things. She adopted painting in Saint-Thomas and began to dabble in interior design.
One day, she asked her boss if she could style her apartment while she was off the island working out.
“When she came back she was blown away and told me I should do this for a living. It made me take it all more seriously,” Ogiste said.
“I started taking on more projects to build my portfolio and it became a thing. It was a lot of word of mouth and I kept doing it. I never marketed myself so a lot of people didn’t even know I was an interior designer because I was more focused on my painting.
When the Louis Vuitton store in Saint-Thomas decided to close, it was time to make some decisions.
If she could source six interior design projects, she thought interior design could support her. She found her six projects, left the local Louis Vuitton store before it actually closed, and never stopped working.
“For me, it wasn’t even a question of money. It was pretty much what I like to do. The goal is customer satisfaction,” she said. “My husband David is my cheerleader. He believes in me and supports my work. He’s my business partner and we work well together because we go along with how we live our lives and our lifestyles.
“We love beautiful things and beautiful spaces. Our environment is clean, not cluttered. It’s not about material things, it’s just about having the necessary things you need to make you happy. That’s why my logo is “live better to feel better”.
The more art she created, the more space she needed, and Ogiste decided to make a business out of it, combining her art with her gift for interior design.
At Battu Studio, Ogiste offers his art, interior design services for homes, businesses, Airbnbs and other spaces, and consulting services to help clients develop their own projects. She also creates one-of-a-kind epoxy resin countertops.
Building the studio was significant due to setbacks from COVID-19 and being pregnant herself during this time.
The split-level space had a lot of potential, but it took eight months to complete, insulate the walls and create a space away from the storage area it was originally built for, with taste and care to create an overall comfortable atmosphere of simple sophistication. .
The studio opened a little over two weeks ago.
“I really wanted a place where I could present my art in a more sophisticated way. I didn’t want to throw my art into a space where it would get lost, so it’s a space that’s perfect for showcasing my own art and skills,” Ogiste said.
“The construction was quite expensive, but it was worth it. I knew we had to go this route because interior design is a sophisticated type of service. We have a space where they can come and do some lifestyle shopping, nothing heavy, but I didn’t really want to call it a store, because it’s my work space. That’s why I call it a studio. The reason I left a blank space was so I could work, lay down my canvas and paint or pour epoxy.
For Ogiste, it’s about discovering what the client needs, refining the aesthetics and finding the right pieces for each project. She curates globally and locally on a treasure hunt to find the perfect components.
As for the name, Battu Studio is a nod to her grandfather of Caribbean origin, who nicknamed her Linea Battu. She never found out what it meant, but adopted the nickname after his death.
He was a fisherman and farmer who was also skilled in craftsmanship and creating woven items. The Battu Studio logo is simplistic to represent the simple yet rich life she had growing up, and the curlicue is actually a stylized machete symbolizing her grandfather.
“We took the opportunity and we’re here and I think that’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s here to raise the bar and also to build a culture where we take pride in our spaces, and I think that’s inspiring, even with the students. A lot of them might be in design, but they didn’t know it could be a career for them.
Battu Studio is located at Prime Storage in building F.
Call 340-201-3688 or visit battustudio.com for more information.