Upstairs Hampstead

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Business, Hampstead, Online Exclusives

Your cool new neighbor upstairs is making room for everyone.

Living in a small community can feel limiting. The quaint charm can chafe once you have been to all of the restaurants and the “been there, done that” refrain hits your lips. Upstairs Hampstead aims to fill some gaps and satisfy the needs of those who are craving something new.

Upstairs Hampstead is understated, which only adds to the appeal. It is located in an easy-to-miss building at 17097 U.S. Highway 17, directly above Pierpan Family Dentistry, with its entrance around back. The mysterious location reinforces the feeling that you are in on a cool secret, like you’re visiting a suburban speakeasy.

Spoiler alert: It is only a big room. So what could possibly make a room special? I guess it’s what you do with that room, who inhabits it, what’s going on in there and the prevailing mood that is enjoyed by those that are in the room when you are. So it is not only the atmosphere that differentiates Upstairs Hampstead, it’s what is happening between the walls and the community that is forming inside the space.

All that is due to the vision and warmth of owner Danielle Coleman, who not only saw unmet needs in the area, but also has the diverse interests and connections to bring unique teachers and concepts to the location.

Danielle Coleman Hampstead Upstiars

Coleman grew up outside of Philadelphia and visited southeastern North Carolina’s beaches for decades before finally settling here with her family in 2020. She established Upstairs Hampstead in May of 2023, having discovered the space when it was Hampstead Yoga.

When Hampstead Yoga closed, Coleman stepped in.

“I just knew that this space was magic and I wanted to preserve it,” she says. “I didn’t want it to become an office.”

She was not sure what to do with it initially.

“When I heard they were closing, I didn’t think, I just reacted, and called Dr. Pierpan’s office to see if I could rent it with no idea of what was coming,” Coleman says. “She asked what I wanted to do with the space and it was as if somebody else was speaking through me — it all developed in the conversation. The ideas just started pouring out of me.”

One of the great things about an empty, multi-purpose room is that it’s a blank canvas.

While one person opens the door and sees nothing, a person like Coleman sees anything. You’re mostly restricted by your imagination, and she has that in abundance.

Her mother provided an early inspiration and that fed into the way she entertains as an adult. Coleman recalls, “Growing up, I lived in an environment where my mom invited people into her home to just share new experiences. That was very normal in my life. So once I had my own home, I started creating that same environment. You know, bringing in a tarot card reader that everybody loved, and then there was the multi-level marketing community boom, so I’d have people doing their sales pitches while others were waiting for their tarot card reading. It became a social community — people would bring friends, and there would be tons of people in my house that I’d never met before.”

Knowing she liked that concept, Coleman took the opportunity to get the space. “It just made sense to keep that concept going and to use the space to shine everybody else’s talents,” she says. “Because my talent, I feel, is being a connector and bringing people together.”

Hampstead Upstairs NC

Connections are being made and the talents of our neighbors are on full display. Upstairs Hampstead hosts many different types of events, including yoga classes, breathwork therapy, immersive sound baths, cake decorating classes, teen bingo, how-to-make vision boards, an upcoming Reiki certification, readings with a local medium and many more unique activities.

I have attended several events and workshops and can say that the space itself is homey and comfortable. There are several large area rugs, the walls are adorned with paintings from local artists, eclectic knickknacks, candles and tasteful touches — it’s tidy and inviting, even without the welcoming people and interesting activities inside.

Last month I signed up for a special event called Empower Thyself, which was a two-hour session combining breathwork with facilitator Haley Fisher, coupled with sound healing by sound specialist Luke Leuterio.

I had done breathing exercises as part of online meditations but had never done breathwork in mixed company or with a live instructor. I was game though, and so were the other attendees who were stretched out on the floor ready to share our collective breath. Fisher took us through several breathing techniques meant to help us focus our consciousness and expel negative energy.

Meanwhile, Leuterio was playing various instruments in the background, or foreground really, as the sounds start to come from all directions once you’re into it. He played angel harps, manipulated singing bowls, gongs, rain sticks and some other fantastical noisemakers that generated a series of sonic waves that enveloped the room. Paired with Fisher’s breathing and gentle guidance, it put me into something close to a trance.

I lay there on the floor, rising out of a deep place that was so transportive that coming back to reality was a little disorienting at first. The light murmur of traffic on Highway 17 came into focus, and I looked around hazily at my new friends who were on their own magic carpets, returning to their own reality. It was amazing that I could experience something like that in Hampstead, in a space five minutes from my house.

New ideas are constantly being shared with Coleman, leading to new programs at the venue.

An exciting example is the soon-to-launch The Listening Room Upstairs, which will cater to music fans who prefer an intimate and cozy environment, where you can actually hear the music and be at one with the musicians rather than straining to hear lyrics in a crowded bar. There are currently more than a dozen acts — award-winning, touring professionals — with dates booked into the fall. She has partnered with local Jason Simas on finding and booking some amazing talent, and with around a 40-seat capacity for the gigs, every seat will be a good one.

Upstairs Hampstead NC

Coleman appreciates and expects the growth and the new things to come, with change driven by current locals and those yet to arrive.

“Evolving has been a part of the core concept since the beginning,” she says. “It will always evolve. It will always change because what people are looking for is always going to change. We will continue to fill the voids as needed by the community. What do you need? What isn’t available?”

Good questions, and everyone may have different answers. Thankfully we now have a place that can be anything we need it to be.

Want to go?
Upstairs Hampstead
17097 U.S. Highway 17, Hampstead
Go to upstairshampstead.com to see their calendar and details on all of the programs they are hosting. You can also sign up for their email newsletter and look for them on Facebook.

About the author

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

I am a previous winner of the Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open, two-time winner of the SC Fiction Project and former editorial director of Men, Ink. I was also a Cape Fear Dad columnist for the Wilmington Star-News. I live in Hampstead with my wife and two children.