City living can be frenzied, exhausting. That where Spa Jema
The new day spa brings to Downtown Pittsburgh what owner Jennifer Blodgett thought was missing from the mix--a relaxing urban retreat that is a soothing spa first and foremost, rather than a high-energy salon that also happens to offer spa services.
Spa Jema hosted its grand opening party on Light Up Night at the end of November, and officially opened for business last week.
Blodgett, an Upper St. Clair native, spent the majority of her adult life bopping around the world. She lived in San Diego and Hawaii, learned Thai message techniques in Thailand, and aromatherapy and body wraps in England, and worked as a massage therapist on cruises through the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Blodgett returned to Pittsburgh about three years ago with the dream of opening her own high-end spa in the city.
"People told me I should be in the suburbs--Sewickley or the South Hills," Blodgett says, "But I wanted to be Downtown. I love being a part of the revitalization that's going on here with all the condos and hotels and luxury shops."
Blodgett looked for the perfect space for a couple years, and this fall, found and fell in love with a 4,000-square-foot, two-story building at 117 First Ave., across the street from 151 First Side condos.
The building, Blodgett believes, was built after the Great Fire around 1860 as a residential structure. It was converted at some point into a commercial space, and was vacant for about two years before Blodgett leased the building from landlord Dennis Spyra.
The property still maintains its residential vibe. The spa unwinds with grace, each room leading into the next. The two sets of stairs add a grand elegance to the traditional space, which features a private back patio, four treatment rooms and a custom-made cedar sauna. The building's dark wood and abundant fireplaces are given a modern edge with exposed brick, and tangerine and lime green walls, as well as sleek tiling and gleaming black leather furniture with clean lines that mask their supple comfort.
Blodgett currently employs three specialists, including an esthetician and a nail technician. Services include waxing, massage, body scrubs, manis and pedis, and facials. Spa Jema uses a Hungarian organic skin care line called Eminence, as Blodgett--a yoga-practicing vegetarian--believes you shouldn't put on your body what you wouldn't put in your body. All Eminence products are hypoallergenic, clinically tested and free of parabens, mineral oils, petroleum and sodium lauryl sulphate.
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Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Jennifer Blodgett, Spa Jema
Photograph copyright Caralyn Green