Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dear Studio

I was looking back through my posts about our house transformation and realized I've never given a proper tour of my upstairs studio space! The light was nice the other day so I snapped a few new pictures that I thought I'd share, as well as some I've had on flickr for awhile. Back in the spring I wrote about this space as it was being transformed, so if you want to see any "before" shots, check out this post (and this one and this one, if you like).

Having my own studio is a bit of a dream come true for me. I had a room for creative pursuits in our previous apartment, but because it was a rental, there were limitations to what I could do with it. But this space, it was a blank slate for me...
First of all, it's a real treat to have the entire finished attic as my little creative world. It may not always be that way, but I sure like it right now. I don't believe this space was finished when the house was built in 1924. And judging by how steep the stairs are, it is hard for me to imagine the designer intended for it to be regularly inhabited! Probably sometime in the 70s the former owner turned the attic into a guest room and a sewing room space. I say "space" because it had a giant brick flue going up the center and didn't seem like a room at all.

That chimney was demolished three days after we bought the house--the beginning of my studio transformation. Other than patching the big holes in the floor and ceiling after the demo was complete, there wasn't all that much to do except paint.
Since the studio has only north-facing windows, I went with an all-white paint scheme to maximize the natural light. I can't even begin to tell you how much white floors help in this regard. My previous studio had a large north- and east-facing window, but dark wood floors. Gorgeous as they were, my current space is much brighter and I feel so much better working in it. The white floors do show the dirt like crazy, but this isn't a high traffic area, so it s not much of a problem. I do absolutely recommend using an oil-based paint made especially for floors.
The other bonus about my space is that it came with a 5x16ish walk-in closet. I didn't fully appreciate this when we first bought the house. But after taking off the two doors and setting up the interior with efficient storage, it's been great to have everything put away, yet still very accessible. The apartment studio had a decent closet, but to fully utilize the space I was stacking and stuffing things in it. The fabric at the back never got used because I would forget it was there.

The last thing I'll say is that I found some of the furniture at IKEA to be very effective for keeping my space organized and efficient. Normally I'm all about the vintage and thrift-store furniture, but buying Bonde shelves, Alex drawers, and a Vika work table has allowed me to do a variety of projects--sewing and artwork--all in this one room without being consumed by chaos and clutter.

If you're contemplating a studio redo, I really recommend taking some time to plan it out, consider lighting and storage, creating "task centers," and if you're able, design a space you can grow into. When all is said and done, it took three-plus years of me thinking about how I work and what I need in a space to get it right this time!
So, I'll sign off for now, though I kind of hate to leave this little spot where I'm sitting looking out my north windows to the dark skies beyond and listening to a little Emiliana Torrini (isn't that a great name?). A delightful breeze is blowing at my face and I'm relishing this waning summer season. Did I mention that one drawback of this space is that it doesn't have central heat? I'll be dragging out the space heaters before I know it ... sigh ... but let's not think about that now.