Bird by Bird: Creating a Studio.

With my organizational inspiration at an all-time high following the interview with organizing pro Laura Harrison earlier in the week, it was finally time to take some major steps in getting my studio space set up. I knew we'd need some serious uninterrupted time to get this project done - it was a monster that would explode and get far worse before it got better. Lucky for me, the hubs had a day off of work when our childcare didn't, which gave us a FULL EIGHT HOURS to get some work done. This hasn't happened since the little guy was born almost two years ago. As Laura mentioned in her interview, it's really amazing what you can get done with a few focused hours.

Before the studio "installation" started, this room served as a guest room, office and lounging room. We decided to take the office part of the room and convert it to a space for me to do my work. I spent some time many months ago thinking about how to make this space work, determining what I needed and how I wanted it to function, pulling inspiration images on Pinterest and coming up with the plan.

The "office" area before beginning the studio installation.

Once we had a plan, it was time to empty out that part of the room to make space for the studio.

Getting started on creating the studio.

I wanted a table that I could work at either sitting or standing without killing my back and I wanted storage under the tables, so these adjustable sawhorse table legs from IKEA were perfect. I also wanted a tabletop that would fit the entire length of the wall. We had a desktop that was about 18 inches too short and a tabletop that was about 10 inches too long and didn't feel like spending more cash on yet another tabletop that was just right (am I the Goldilocks of desktops?). The too-long tabletop just got a little haircut and it fits in the space perfectly now.

Putting up the shelves and getting the desk in place.

I also wanted some shelving for a little bit of storage for supplies and whatnot, so we picked up the shelves and brackets from IKEA too.

The space came together so nicely in the end and I couldn't wait to start working here. It's not completely beautiful and styled, but it WORKS. And it didn't break the bank. I might some day spend some time coming up with ways to make it a little nicer to look at, but I'd rather spend my time working on paintings for my very patient clients.

The studio after I moved in.

Some fun details that might be share-worthy:

  • The little gray dresser was a steal at the Pleasanton Antiques and Collectibles Fair (which we happened upon while in Pleasanton for a birthday party). It houses my hooks & hanging supplies, paper/cards/etc., packaging materials, stamps and other random supplies.
  • The hanging white tins from IKEA hold my brushes, pens and pencils. Handy to have them off the work table, but right within arms reach.
  • The cork board frame got a single coat of gray acrylic paint to help it coordinate with the dresser a bit better. It will be like my non-virtual Pinterest.
  • My chalkboard was an Alameda Flea Market find from ages ago, I write the names of my current clients here to give myself a big picture of what I'm working on at the moment.
  • The hideous light coming from the shelves above the desk is actually from "daylight' bulbs. The room gets some good natural light during the day, but the dark walls and placement of the desk make the light less-than-ideal for painting. My aunt who's an artist recommended these bulbs and so far I'm really happy with them (I can even paint at night now!).
  • My printer fits perfectly on the shelf of the sawhorse. Too bad it's broken.
  • My sewing machine fits perfectly on the other shelf. It works, I just don't have time to use it.
  • Those magazines are getting the boot, out to the recycling they go.
  • I still need a place to keep current paperwork, so I used a magazine file box on the lower shelf as my inbox.
  • I'll get an adjustable height chair or stool for the space too.

I'm beyond thrilled that I finally have a dedicated space to work. I'm equally glad that my brand new dining table no longer has a drop cloth over it.

What do you think?