This was the original space when I moved in. It was great and I was so happy to have it, but there were a few issues. It was a bit crowded. It does not look like it here, but shortly after moving in paintings were piling up all over the place and I did not have much storage. One of my studio mates was very kind and allowed me to share her closet space, but even with that I was constantly schlepping supplies and props back and forth from home. There was also a much larger issue: the color of the walls. As I've mentioned before, we all use Benjamin Moore Country Life on our walls. It is the perfect gray-green combo and really keeps the light from bouncing around. I made do with the white walls by hanging large pieces of fabric behind my still life set ups and it helped, but I really wanted those gray walls!
After a bit of musical studios in our building, I was able to take over the entire space and get to work. Now, when I say get to work, I really mean my husband did all the work while I sat in a chair perusing Instagram and waiting for him to say "Frances, I need a hammer" or whatever. Luckily, he can DIY anything and actually enjoys doing it, so I'm extremely lucky in that regard.
We went in on November 28 and helped my roommate move her things into her new space and then got to work measuring and planning out the space. I am a frustrated interior designer, so this is right up my alley. As you can see in the photo above, I have some shelves to hold paintings rather than making a bunch of holes in the wall all the time. We decided to extend those shelves across the length of each wall and add a larger still life shelf on the opposite side of the room.
The first task was patching up a bunch of holes and a few cracks in the walls. Once that was done, it was off to Lowes for supplies to build the shelving.
We picked up wood for the painting shelves, the new still life shelf, and most exciting of all, the new closet shelves! I now have my own closet in the studio and I could not be happier. The closet is quite large and has tons of storage space. Exactly what I have been needing.
It's not looking very glamorous right now, but after taking out the old shelves, repainting the entire thing and giving the floor a good scrub with Murphy's Oil Soap, it is looking and functioning brilliantly.
You can see the dividing line of the space here. There are now painting shelves all along the wall, which is great as it got a lot of paintings off of the floor!
If you have ever done a renovation, you know that chaos is the order of the day for awhile, but it is so worth it to get the space that you want.
After the shelving was completed, we got on to the really exciting part: painting the walls! I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have gray walls. Even after just two of the walls were painted, we noticed an immediate difference in the reduction of light bouncing around the room.
After all of my talk about Benjamin Moore Country Life, you will be surprised to learn that is not the wall color I ended up using. We actually sat in the studio and discussed it for awhile and I realized that the Country Life would be too dark. Even though I have two north facing windows, I don't get a tremendous amount of light into the room. The other issue is the color of the floor. As you can see in the photo above, the floor is painted battle ship gray. This happened long before my time in the building and I wasn't about to start painting floors, so I decided to just work around it. Luckily, the guy behind the counter in my local Benjamin Moore store really knows his colors and helped me choose something more suitable. I showed him some photos of the studio and told him what I was trying to achieve with the color of the walls. He suggested going a few shades lighter on the Country Life paint swatch to Herbal Escape. I am happy to say the color worked perfectly! I have the gray-green color that I need, but don't feel like I am trapped in a dark box all day.
While the wall painting was happening, you will be happy to know that I actually did do some of the dirty work. I decided to make a second still life shelf on the opposite side of the room so I can work on two paintings at the same time.
The shelf is much larger than the one I currently have so I'm excited to be able to set up a large still life, something I've wanted to do for awhile. I stained it with two coats of Minwax Dark Walnut, the same color as my current shelf.
After the walls were painted, we got to work on the closet. It was not in great shape so we took out the existing shelves and my hubs put up two brand new ones for me. The shelves and the closet walls were painted plain white since the door will be closed and I don't have to worry about light bounce.
He also cleaned the wood floor and put a new hasp on the door as the old one was not in great shape.
After everything was dry the fun began. I got all of my props out of my friend's closet and put them here on the bottom shelf. It is so nice to be able to see everything that I have. Some of the stuff was still wrapped up from when I moved in. On the top shelf I put things I won't need as often such as travel supplies, my spotlight and things like that. The floor is holding my french easel and all of my handy porter carry boxes as well as my blank canvases. I am beyond thrilled to have all of this stuff off the floor and organized in one space.
In addition to all of this we changed out the bulbs in the ceiling lights to daylight bulbs, put in a new light switch and cover (the old one was covered with paint), cleaned the windows and I was finally able to scrub down the studio furniture that has been in there for almost three years. Doing a good cleaning was impossible because of space constraints, but I am now happy to report that everything is looking good.
There are a few things that still need to be done. I am ordering fabric swatches to cover my bulletin board and I will be bringing in a desk and a kitchen cart to have more surface room. I also have to figure out my calendar situation. I need something to keep me organized with show dates, pick ups and deliveries and things like that.
I painted in the room for the first time this weekend and I can't tell you how great it was. I'll be back with the full reveal when it is all finished as well as a detailed source list. If you have any questions about anything so far, leave me a message in the comments.
Have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!