Former salon space transformed into stylish Pilates studio and health bar

You can get a drink at the bar of the latest business to open downtown – but it won’t be competing for custom with the Harbour View Hotel next door.

That’s because Lifted, which opened its doors last weekend in the old Mousey Brown hair salon premises in Bow St, is a reformer Pilates studio and health bar where you can enjoy a chia pod and smoothie rather than a bowl of fries and a beer.

For Raglan-raised Raph Henderson and partner Eden Pollock – both back home in New Zealand after seven years in Perth – the venture is something of a dream-turned-reality.

The couple were looking forward to a celebratory bottle of bubbly when the Chronicle called by at closing time on Saturday.

It’s been a hectic two months since committing to the lease, says Raph, an electrician.
The 28 year olds asked Raph’s parents, Wanda Barker and Ross Henderson, to recce the premises for its suitability before signing up and returning from Perth.
Eden knew exactly what she wanted as she’s a Pilates instructor who’s worked for “multiple different studios”.

The pair say they’ve invested ”big-time” in six spring-based reformers, the Pilates apparatus for resistance training which can be wheeled aside to make way for floor exercises on mats.

Pilates is globally the preferred method of exercise for pregnancy and injury rehabilitation,  Eden says, and a lot different to yoga except for the fact that both can be done on a mat.
Invented by Joseph Pilates, the discipline is “more of a postural exercise, strengthening (the body) from top to toe”, she explains.
A floor-to-ceiling mirror covers an entire wall of the small studio, while a barre – like a ballet barre – is used for strengthening techniques other than those done on the reformers and mats.

A barre fitness class is on offer as part of the Lifted programme, Eden says, with special classes for pregnancy, mums-and-bubs and men coming soon.
Eden’s also eyeing classes for seniors, while the studio’s available too for casual walk-ins wanting to improve their general fitness.   

Raph reckons he will be helping out in the studio, although maybe in the background. “I do pilates but not like Eden,” he laughs. “I’m not the most flexible sort.”
He also expects to be busy as a sparkie and to continue to pursue a long-held passion for drum & bass gigs. “Raph was a favourite New Zealand DJ over there (in Perth),” Eden confides.

The couple say they’ve had great feedback and the first weekend’s classes were all  booked out.

“We want it (the studio) to benefit Raglan, not just ourselves,” says Eden. “It’s a challenge but we’re confident we can do it.”

Edith Symes