Friday, August 8, 2014

My New Painting Studio!

Ok. So for the longest time my "studio" looked like this:

It looks awful, obviously, but the worst part was I wasn't getting much use out of it. I get hives thinking about all the useless junk we're storing, and it's just as bad to think how much space we waste storing said junk. I was doing all my painting in the dining room and outside, when the weather was nice (and sometimes when it wasn't)

So I cleaned it out.

And I went to Lowe's for ideas.

And I found this:

Mmmmhm. There are so many good black rooms (this post is already photo-heavy so I won't show you, but seriously search "black walls" in pinterest. Oh ma gaaaaaaah) and I hoped that really dark, rich, neutral walls would help with our wood trim situation. The room gets pretty good northern light and black is technically a neutral, so I figured it would be ok for painting. Turns out it also makes for great, dramatic still-life set ups. By the way, when I painted the first wall it just felt... stark. Not too dark, exactly, but just... lacking depth. So I mixed in a little cream paint that I had on hand until I got something sort of... richer. Lighter, but richer. Warmer. Foggier. And now I love it!

So, I knew that if this room was going to be functional, I desperately needed more workspace. Like, enough space for three projects at a time. I wanted a desk area where I could sit comfortably and edit photos and browse my blogroll do research. I wanted space to set up my standing easel but also spread out around my table easel, preferably while still standing. I really needed storage. I needed the room to be organized and efficient (it's just 9x10'). I needed to either 1) spend so little, or 2) spread my costs out over enough time, that Josh wouldn't notice. (It's the only way I get anything done around here). And I NEEDED it to look awesome.

The room itself took a few months, but I'm just now getting around to photographing/editing/blogging about it. Sorry! So, finally, a year later, here it is!

The floating desks were the biggest chunk of this project. I had been eyeing an old pair of discarded sliding closet doors in the basement for this purpose. They are EXACTLY the right size and they worked pretty dang well. I bought six white 20" triangle brackets at Lowe's (my single most expensive project purchase after the chair) and screwed them into the wall studs. This part was actually really tedious because our stud finder is soooo mediocre, but I'm proud to announce that I did not enlist Josh's help once, and when I finished them, he glanced in and said they "looked good". Girl Power +1. 

Raising one desk a few inches above the other allowed me to have my standing painting space AND allowed my rolling cart (a free trash day find) to fit underneath. That clock is the last thing I bought for this room and it's from Target. Later (...!!) it will go in our kitchen. I don't remember if I've ever mentioned, but my table easel was a gift from my Dad when I was in college. Side rant: people talk about "treasures" all the time, stuff that they'll keep "forever", and it's always like, a really trendy item, like a vintage Persian runner or leather moto jacket or anything brass, and you just have to roll your eyes because our society doesn't do that anymore - everything stops being cool eventually. BUT. This easel is one of about eight items in my home that I can say without doubt or hesitation that I will keep fo-re-ver. 

And then, do you see that standing easel? From my Father-in-Law. So sweet, right??! I'm so blessed to be surrounded by people who support me and want to see me succeed.

The chair is a knock-off from amazon. The art teacher at school wanted one for her etsy shop but they're only sold in pairs and she asked if I'd split the cost with her and take one. Such an easy yes. 

The pillow cover is old canvas that I painted. I loved FLD's Gran pillow but couldn't swing the price tag (Josh notices stuff, remember?) and so I made something sort of similar myself. Hint - if you have a large stash of extra canvas lying around, sewing your own pillow covers is like, the easiest thing in the world. Cut it, paint it, lay it inside-out, fold it into thirds, sew two straight lines, flip it outside-in, done. 

The campaign dresser was something ridiculous at a yard sale... like, $5 or maybe $12. If the wood had been nice I'd have refinished it, but it wasn't, so I just painted it white. It was actually really time consuming and even after many coats with a foam roller and sanding in between and a poly finish, it doesn't have the really glossy look I was hoping for. I should probably have just spray painted it. See my little homemade pochade boxes? I haven't used those in a while. The lamp was thrifted. 

I should have moved that trash can out of the shot, but this is candid and real life, right? 

Who am I kidding... I totally was too lazy.

That ink drawing in the background is something I made one night when I was really missing Portland. It's the waterfront and the Hawthorne Bridge.

Closet for more storage and my cute little Snake plant. It can survive anything!!! Excellent! That far lamp is old, from Target, and it's not ideal, but it does provide some much-needed illumination at night. The maps on the wall were actually marketed as book covers (?) at the San Lorenzo Market from my first Florence trip.

I try to keep stuff on my desk to a minimum. Laptop, a few notebooks, pens, ruler. That little white bowl holds a tape measure, a cord for my iphone, and the odd paperclip or hairband. The instagram is from printic, one of many online companies that will print off your instas polaroid-style. It's of me and Josh on the Paris Metro on our first day in Europe.

I totally bribed Harley with pulled pork to come in and pose in my studio. Notice the larger standing easel turned to the side so I could lean against the wall and shoot the widest angle possible. Shooting in small dark spaces is hard!

Side Note: anyone who follows me on any platform will know by now that we're expecting! Hooray!! We're thrilled, but the only downside (which is not even a downside) is that in six short months this space will be a nursery. At first I was a little bummed because I love this room, but quickly I realized it would allow me to take on our guest bedroom, which has also been storing a lot of junk and is also not being used efficiently. So most of this stuff will be downsized and rearranged there, and I'm excited about the challenge of making that room fit our lives, as well.

Meanwhile, this room is going to be awesome. Black walls are staying!

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