I’ve never encountered a space like this room. It’s gone through 4 coats of paint (in the last 2 years alone), countless arrangements, unTOLD hours spent on styling – But it just never felt “complete.” Now, I know I can’t possibly be the only one with a confusing space like this…Right?
Well thankfully, I think that I was finally able to hit the bullseye over the weekend, and all it took was removing one piece of extraneous furniture, repainting a small section of the room and updating my art and desk area.
First up, the “Before” shots.
It was a pretty room – VERY functional for an artist, with my oversized drafting table and custom built paper supply cabinet. But the room also functioned as a guest room, so the bed had to be included somehow. That “somehow” solution? Sticking it out into the center of the space. Sure, it blocked flow, but it worked. And I lived with it. The other big feature in the room was the black feature wall. I was so afraid for the longest time that an entirely mint room (the paint color is “Icy Mint” by Valspar, btw) would read “nursery,” so I hadn’t even considered the thought of painting over it.
That is, until I reached my breaking point and decided it was time for something drastic. The first thing to go in my big editing-down-the-studio-slash-guest-room was to purge half (yes, I said HALF) of what was stored in my studio closet. I moved a 4 feet high, 4 shelf industrial unit into the upstairs hallway and proceeded to fill it with soon-to-be yard saled items. With half of the closet now empty, I was able to tuck the giant custom wood cabinet seen 2 photos up behind closed doors. This was absolutely the biggest improvement. I think the room threw me off for so long because it just had TOO MUCH FURNITURE. If you are also struggling with a difficult room, this would be my first piece of advice: Edit things down, especially furniture.
The next thing to go was my black feature wall.
Isn’t Valspar paint amazing? Those last 2 photos above show the FIRST coat! I was amazed by how well the almost white color covered the saturated black in just a few rolls. Ultimately it did take two coats, but it was nothing I couldn’t take care of in under 2 hours. Once the paint dried and I put my new desk back into place, things really started to come together. The black was definitely a fun, unexpected element of the room before, but with the mint now running continuously across all four walls, it immediately felt so much more cohesive and calming.
The next and final phase was to update the art. With a new blank wall to play with, I finally had room for a large scale art project that I’d been putting off for over a year. You see, at our wedding last year, my friends, family and I made tons of paper pinwheels as decorations. After the event was over though, they sat forlornly in plastic bags at my parents’ house, just waiting for me to come up with a fun place to utilize them. Well that time is now and that place is my studio…
The space over my desk needed a big “wow!” factor, and nothing suited it better than these pinwheels. The color! The shape! The pattern! And, of course, the memories of our special day…To hang them, I simply used a handful of clear pushpins and arranged them in a random pattern similar to our plate wall in the kitchen (as seen in our home tour). In case you want to make your own set of paper pinwheels, I will be posting a detailed DIY tutorial next week.
Now, I chatted about my desk yesterday, but you may have noticed a second new piece of furniture. My original desk chair was yet another hand me down – a little too traditional for my tastes. Plus, the thrift store find was in desperate need of some grease. Every time I moved a muscle, the entire piece would creak and groan – not good when your husband is trying to get some sleep in the next room for a 4am wake up call (and yes, it was really THAT loud). So I decided it was time to pick up a treat for myself in the form of a brand new acrylic ghost chair. I love the mod vibe, and the clear finish is just perfect for blending into the room, making it feel less cramped. It’s surprisingly comfortable too!
As for the art in the rest of the room, I rehung some of my existing framed prints to the side of my pinwheel collection, but I also threw in a couple of new pieces too. The first was a newly framed print of a Grace Kelly costume design that my sister gave me for Christmas, and the other was a thrifted find via Etsy. I recently discovered that Victoria of sfgirlbybay, one of my favorite bloggers, has an Etsy shop – I just HAD to snatch up something from her beautiful treasures, namely the vintage “W” seen a couple of photos down. It was exactly what I needed to offset the colorful pinwheels.
My inexpensive IKEA bookshelf also returned to the side of my desk, where it continues to display favorite books and thrift store accessories. (and, of course, I couldn’t help but snap a shot of Ginny enjoying the sun beam reflected from my camera…That girl loves her some dancing light)
As for the drafting table, that got shimmied to the side a bit and now sits unobtrusively just inside the door to the space. This piece of furniture has always been essential to the room thanks to its functionality as both a crafting table and a drawing/painting surface, so it had to stay. Thankfully, my dad did a beautiful job making it slim-lined, but attractive all at the same time.
The final issue was making the bed work. Having it stick out into the middle of the room just wasn’t cutting it for me, so I eventually decided to push it against the wall, day bed style. To make it feel less like a bed and more like a lounge area, I removed the covers and opted for a single gray fitted sheet. Then I topped it with a folded quilt (think table runner) and piles of pillows to add softness and pattern. If you can ignore the wrinkly brand new, out-of-the-box fitted sheet (which will obviously soften over time), I think it was the perfect solution – one the cats are THOROUGHLY enjoying.
So there you have it! 2 years, 4 coats of paint, 6 different art arrangements, 30+ photos and 1,136 words later, I got the studio I’ve always dreamt of. Not to sound too cheesy, but the journey to get to this point has been enormously educational. Despite alllllll of the challenges, I think it has helped me to realize that trial and error will eventually reward me with the room I know I can have – it just takes a little perseverance. Although I’m sure there are changes to come just because, I couldn’t be happier now and it finally feels like home.
What sort of challenges have you faced while designing (and REdesigning) a favorite room?