Still a place of healing: Dentist’s former home repurposed as a spa in Westerly

Still a place of healing: Dentist’s former home repurposed as a spa in Westerly

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WESTERLY — Rose Maloney knew from the instant she walked into the small white Cape at 18 Franklin St. that she had found the ideal site.  

Actually before she even walked inside.

“As soon as I got out of the car and started walking down the path, I knew,” said Maloney, who had been looking for the right property to house her spa and boutique for several years.

“I could feel that good people lived here,” said Maloney, a Westerly native who opened her Pure Eco Spa and Boutique in the house in 2017. “I could tell there was a lot of love in this house and that was important to me. It made me happy.”

Feeling happy and at peace — and surrounded by love — was, and is, essential to Maloney, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An organic skin-care specialist, herbalist, holistic esthetician, aromatherapist and health coach, she is careful about what she puts in and on her body and understands the power of harmonious surroundings. 

Earlier this summer, the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce held an official ribbon-cutting at the spa, and Maloney gave tours. Guests visited the relaxation room, the infrared sauna, the treatment rooms and the kitchen.

A student of Ashtanga yoga, Maloney has studied the practice in India, is a “raw-food enthusiast,” and is dedicated to helping her clients develop a “cleaner, healthier lifestyle by incorporating more whole foods into their diets.”

“I call that my Radiant Healthy Living program,” said Maloney, who owns the business with her partner and husband, Michael Maloney.

“I give people the tools to help them feel better,” said Maloney, who recently celebrated her one-year anniversary in the house she so adores. “At the end of the day, if you don’t have your health, what do you have?”

The house was the home — and office — of  a longtime Westerly dentist, the late Joseph P. Serra, and his family, the late Sara Iacoi Serra, and their five sons, Joseph, Ronald, Robert, Geoffrey and David.

After the Maloneys purchased the Serra family home, they began a thoughtful renovation. She and her husband retained much of the original house and incorporated sections — like the pink-tiled bathroom and the 1950s kitchen — into the business.

“I like to keep the integrity of a place,” said Maloney, who offers a variety of facials, massages, lift treatments, and saunas inside the former dentist’s office and Serra homestead. “It was already a great space … it was a great retro-style home, and it had really good bones.”

Joseph Serra Jr., who grew up in the house, and his wife, Jaquelyn, agree. The house was filled with love … and laughter, Jaquelyn wrote in an email.

“I remember many Sundays having dinner in the dining room,” she said, “where there was laughter and love being shared by all.”

“Rose has done a fabulous job with the house,” Serra added, “and Joe and his brothers are very pleased with what she has done to it.”

“When Joe left the house for the last time, he felt he never wanted to go back inside,” Serra said, “but after seeing what Rose did to the outside with the landscaping, he went inside and was not disappointed at all.”

“Her renovations of the house were very well done — the boys especially admired her ability to preserve much of the house’s original character,” Serra continued. “She is a very special person with very special dreams and ideas about what she wants.”

For Maloney, getting to the place of “special dreams,” has been a journey. A journey that involved some ups and some downs.

“I went through a time of feeling sick,” said Maloney, who worked in banking for 13 years before undergoing a radical lifestyle change. “If you don’t take care of yourself, things happen.”

Maloney said that after she developed an intense skin rash along with a number of sensitivities and allergies, she received a diagnosis of a blood disorder and thryroid disease.

“I woke up one day and said, ‘I’m going to take my health into my own hands,’ so I started to take care of myself,” said Maloney, who also offers makeup artistry services. “Taking good care of yourself is key.”

Maloney immediately began a “detoxification” process, using only organic, chemical-free, cruelty-free products, eating organic foods, and drinking more water … lots more water.

“We don’t drink enough water,” said Maloney, who offers a variety of anti-oxidant drops — think elderberry, blueberry, peach and green tea, white tea, and cranberry — which can be added to water and sipped throughout the day. “I got these for people who don’t like to drink water.”

In addition to encouraging her clients to drink more water and eat organically-grown foods, Maloney cautions people to use care with skin products.

“If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin,” said Maloney. “Everything you use — and eat — affects your skin.”

Every product sold at Pure Eco Spa’s boutique, from nail polish to sunscreen, and from mascara to lipstick, is carefully selected. Maloney also sells a variety of candles, gifts and jewelry crafted by local artists.

“We have a lot of room to grow here,” Maloney added. “I have a lot of ideas.”

Maloney, who worked at Bella Vita Salon on High Street, and Jezebelle’s Hair, before opening her own business, said she uses and sells only products she knows and trusts.

“The things I have here are what I have used to make myself well,” she said. Above her, artfully penned in cursive-style writing on the wall, are the words: “Inspiring health and wellness in others, bringing natural beauty from the inside out.”

“They are things I’ve found that help me find peace, balance and wellness,” said Maloney. “I treat not only skin but I look at the whole person … body, mind and spirit. We want to help people feel good inside and out … to have the opportunity to shine from the inside out.”

Maloney said that in this hectic world of technology overload, when we are “inundated with cellphones and computers,” it’s important to find time for peace and relaxation.

 “People leave here at peace,” she said. “They feel calm, soothed and at peace. We want our customers to walk away feeling different when they leave.”

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