"Before, it was this really old dingy dive bar, but now it's classy and funky," says Bethany Main, an SDSU senior majoring in interior design. She got the job of remodeling the Morena Club from new owner Steve Billings. He contacted the school in search of students who could do $15,000 to $20,000 in improvements.
"It used to have kind of a bad reputation for being rundown and a little bit scary," says Main. "Half the walls were black, half were red, there was old carpet on the floor and the walls, the leather chairs were ripped, there were electrical cords everywhere, the lights were mismatched antiques, and it was just really dirty. [Billings] has a good daytime crowd, but it's been the same people for 25 years, and he's trying to attract a younger nighttime crowd."
Main and fellow student Kristin Coury chose bright colors and fabric for half-moon love seats along the walls; new stool covers, couches, and curtains have patterns to match. "We painted the walls ourselves with this decorative faux finish," says Main, "and we did a tinted-acid staining technique on the cement floor that came out really awesome. An artist from the Balboa Park art colony is making custom lights for us." The biggest improvement, she says, is the DJ booth. "Before, they just set up card tables for DJs to use." The Morena Club is open during the renovations.