Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Big Studio Reveal--or--"How I Spent My Winter"

I'm finally here to share my studio remodel with you.  It was a long project and it was a lot of hard work, but I enjoyed it, and it was worth every ounce of effort.  I really love my new space.  I hope you do, too!

First off, let me say that there was nothing really wrong with my previous studio.  It functioned.  I had lots of storage.  But as my work has evolved over the years, I've come to understand that my work environment has to make changes as well.  I've always been a 'make do with what I have' kind of girl when it came to furnishing the studio.  And when I did spend money, I was frugal about it.  This time around I decided to make the room special.  To make it feel more like part of my home, rather than just a room full of stuff that I happened to work in.  I wanted it to function, but also be pretty. 

These were the main goals I had in mind when I embarked on this project:
  1. Get rid of the carpet.  Carpet + artist at work = bad idea.
  2. Create separate work stations for different tasks.  I wanted one area to sculpt and another area to do the finishing work. 
  3. Maximize storage.
  4. Create a 'shipping department' where I could store some boxes, tissue, bubble wrap so I wouldn't have to drag it all in from the garage every time I had a package to ship.
  5. And with any remodel/reorganization....PURGE PURGE PURGE!!!
OK--is the suspense killing you?  Are you ready to see it??

Nice, huh?  I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I am with how this room turned out.  It's a SMALL room, only about 11.5 ft x 8.5 ft.  I have managed to cram a lot of stuff in this space and still make it look pretty.  I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself!
These are the two main work areas.  The desk in the foreground is where I will do my sculpting work.  (I have another chair coming as I type.)  This is the desk I bought from Wayfair that arrived with a damaged top.  I found a very similar one on West Elm that I loved, but it was waaaay beyond my budget at $900+.  This one looks almost identical for about 1/3 the price.  LOVE IT!!  It's spacious and has loads of storage. My good old drafting table I've had for 27 years is still quite functional, and now it is the space dedicated to the finish work, and also to paper crafting, when I get the urge to do that.
In the corner, in the same place it always has been, is this very old little chest of drawers.  If you recall, it was painted all different colors and patterns in its last life.  A few coats of white paint later, and this old girl looks fresh again.  The six section cube shelf from Michaels fit perfectly on top, to make the best use of vertical space.
I've had this little table under the window for years.  It was unfinished wood.  I always intended to paint it, and now I finally have!  More storage, and my Cricut.  I love the cube storage system from Michaels.  I realized that every  studio on Pinterest uses them, but hey, they work and look great!  (Oh, I was photo bombed by Penny!)
Nothing much changed about this wall.  Why mess with a good thing?  Storage and books and some of my favorite things.  I think it really pops now against the new wall color (which is called Bridal Bouquet from Behr--more on that later.)
Back of the door storage.  Don't you just love shoe bags?  They are so handy!
And now, the biggest transformation of the room (apart from the flooring)... I gotta give you a before of this one:
Here is the closet, stuffed to the gills with all kinds of things.  The area that got the most purging.  Why are there dried up paints in there?  Who needs about two dozen boxes of Christmas ball ornaments when you don't really make anything with them anymore? 
I had inspiration from a studio I saw here on Pinterest.  This woman has a very small workspace, with a closet nearly identical to mine.  I thought, why not take my closet doors off and make better use of the square footage?  The dilemma became where was I going to store all the STUFF.  I'd figure it out....I was going for it!
OK, so the inspiration room had a built-in, wrap-around counter top.  I didn't want to commit to that--too much work and too much money.  While I was allowing myself to buy real furniture and spend some money this time around, I wanted to be smart about it.  I had this perfectly good, but very small desk.  It fit just right.  Add a really tall stack of my favorite plastic drawers and I gave myself lots of storage.  I even added a light to the closet.  (I had it on hand, purchased for a different project that didn't work out.)
My husband helped me add some additional shelving to fill with baskets and bins.

I tried to make every single inch of space work for me, including tucking one more little shelf way up top.
About the wall color.  Bridal Bouquet.  I am IN LOVE with the color in this room.  I brought home a giant STACK of paint swatches in all sorts of colors.  Greens.  Yellows.  Purples.  Pinks.  Aquas.  I even considered going all white, because my friend Marian's studio is all white and very pretty.  I was open to anything, as long as it wouldn't fight with my big painting (which is my original work, and my very favorite painting)  I honestly thought a green or a yellow would work the best, but when I put the swatch of Bridal Bouquet up against that painting, something inside me clicked.  I NEVER thought pink would be it!  It skews enough to the coral side of pink, with enough orange in it that it works with the red in the painting beautifully!  I would never have chosen pink for any other room in my house, but this just felt right.  And it makes all the white look even better.
About the flooring.  It's Traffic Master Allure vinyl plank flooring in Autumn Oak.  LOVE IT!!  It was about the easiest floor on the planet to install.  I did it all myself in a couple of days! Simply score it with a utility knife and snap it to make a cut.  No adhesive required, the planks stick to each other.  A breeze to clean up.  Looks great.  No more worries about clay getting squished in the carpet or spilling paint! 
OK--now for some more photos of the good stuff:
A grouping of artwork

I made dividers with foam core for my clay storage

In the closet

Storage on the end of the desk

Desk storage.  I filled the open shelves with various drawers

Having the stuff visible in this stack of drawers really bothered me.  It broke up the nice clean look of the closet area, sooo.....

I spent an afternoon lining the insides with white paper!
(as Marian says, I 'major in minors'--yes, I sweat the small stuff!!)

I used a tension curtain rod to hang tissue.  Gift boxes tucked by the printer.  Shipping boxes tucked between the desk and the wall.  The large 'trash can' outside the closet is full of bubble wrap!  Shipping department created! 

Again, sweating the little stuff, but don't these metal baskets look cute with paper liners?

Under the drafting table
My pretty white leather chair.  Having a white chair was VERY important to the aesthetic of the room.  I ordered again from Wayfair.  It arrived BLACK!  If I had wanted a black chair I would have bought one at Office Depot!  They quickly sent me a white one.  I decided I needed one for each work space, so another is on its way. 
So, there you have it!  A Piece of Lisa has a new studio!  If you lasted to the end of this extremely looooong post, thank you so much!  I would love to hear what you think! 
I'm anxious to get back to work!




  1. This looks fantastic! I am wondering how long it will look all neat and organized once you get going on some projects!!! Love it!!

    1. You sound like my husband! LOL!! I am a very messy worker, and when it gets to 'crunch time' in the fall, chaos usually ensues. I'm TRYING really hard to keep it cleaned up every day when I finish to establish a new good habit. We'll see how long that lasts....

  2. Love every inch!! Jealous!!! Come help me with mine.

    1. Thanks, LeeAnn! I love it too! I would love to come help you with yours! I love designing and organizing spaces. We could have a great time.....too bad you are so far away!

  3. I've seen all these photos before and I'm still sooooo impressed. I love every single thing about it. You are the master of organization. That closet revel was THE BEST!!! You hit this one way out of the park!! Everyone would have to be more than impressed!!!

    1. You sure got a front row seat on this project! I think I sent you a picture about every five minutes! It was lots of fun sharing it with you in progress.

  4. Opps...and I ADORE the color. It simply makes me smile.

  5. Oh my goodness Lisa, I LOVE your new studio space!!! Every single area is awesome, and the space is used so efficiently! I am quite jealous right about now!!!!!!!!!! What a fantastic place to work, and to be inspired! :)

    1. Thanks, Trina! It is very satisfying to have it all finished and so well organized! I am LOVING it and it is such a pleasure to work in there. Thanks for you nice comments!

  6. P.S..... Your chair looks so comfy!!!!

  7. Having seen this new space in person I can confidently say that it really is something to be VERY PROUD of! Very well thought out, every detail just perfect. Great work!

    1. Thanks, Hilary! It really is a joy to go to work in that space every day. And I will have you know, that it gets cleaned up EVERY DAY when I' finished. How long that will last, I don't know. We'll see come crunch time, but so far REALLY good! :D