Monday, April 27, 2009

camp cactus extreme studio makeover, part 2

Did I mention that the building my studio occupies was built in 1910? And there isn't a square corner or level beam in the whole joint? Also, the builders didn't appear to own a tape measure, because all the studs are random distances apart. (Or maybe they just did that for fun.) Anyway, it makes it that much more difficult to insulate and hang drywall when your materials are sized for modern-day specifications, like the studs all being a standard 16" apart.
They also didn't bother to put any sheathing (like tar paper) under the siding, so there's no lack of cold, fresh air whistling through the cracks in the winter. (It's very bracing, actually)

no worries, though...a little duct tape will solve any problem!

Unfortunately, sheathing the building with a weatherproof membrane would require removing all the siding, and that's just not in the budget. (and I'm pretty sure the siding is what's actually keeping the building from falling down.) So, once the insulation went up, we started in on the drywall. Matt's years of architecture school have come in very handy. He's a perfectionist, and did most of the measuring and cutting (and lots of heavy lifting) because I'm a quick and dirty type of remodeler when left to my own devices. (see above photo with duct tape)

My son, the perfectionist. (He takes after his dad.)

two days and five gallons of joint compound later...

no, I'm not afraid of swine flu...

I'm just sanding.

Matt's coming back over in the morning to help me prime the walls for painting. I can't tell you how anxious I am to get this done. And where the hell is Ty Pennington when I need him?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

camp cactus extreme studio makeover, part 1

I've had grand plans of a studio remodel for a long time. I've drawn sketches and floor plans and elevations, and pulled pages from magazines. I've gazed longingly at gorgeous pictures in catalogs and books of beautifully organized workspaces where all the pencils and markers and papers and fabrics and threads are organized by color and there is a place for everything, and everything is blessedly in its place.

My dream studio, Pottery Barn version

I've dreamt of a peaceful place to work with a view of a secret garden and patio, where sunlight streams in through the open french doors, and I can hear the birds chirping in the trees. A place with a comfy chair or two to pull up in front of a fireplace and drink coffee in the winter while I sketch the snow falling softly outside.

It's my dream, and I'm not giving it up.

I do realize that I'm lucky to have a place to work at all. I'm blessed with a separate building, dedicated solely to my artwork. I have heat, and light, and plenty of space to store things. I'm not complaining. On paper, it all looks and sounds great. I don't have to work at the kitchen table or in a corner of the basement. I'm grateful, really I am!
But this is the reality of my workspace:

(note that my markers are organized by color...can you even see them in the mess?)

Last summer I decided I would attempt a makeover of sorts, but money was very tight and after buying a new worktable, I shelved the ideas and dreams until circumstances got better.
Circumstances aren't exactly better now, in fact as the economy has tanked, so has our bank account, but I'm determined to find a way to get this project moving along. 

the same wall, post demolition

Matt came over and helped with demolition, and Brian thoughtfully fixed all the funky wiring so I could stop blowing fuses and worrying about the place catching fire.

Then I started looking for some used french doors to replace the decrepit, too-short door with the peeling paint and cracks that the wind whistled through all winter. I haunted the ReBuilding Center, a local non-profit architectural salvage yard that has all kinds of cool stuff.  I wanted a french door, or maybe two, but had a budget of practically nothing.  I was almost ready to give up, when I found a set of pre-hung doors on craigslist. The carpenter who was selling them delivered them from Astoria, a town about an hour northwest of here, and even insisted on reassembling them for me!  (I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking) 

Once the doors were here, Gary the carpenter came over and cut a huge hole in the back of the studio.

And we went from this

to this...

aren't they beautiful?

Here's Matt saying goodbye to the old door!

Next up, insulation and drywall....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

peacock feathers and fuzzy slippers

Here's a new Fairy Closet. It belongs to Pari, a playful flower fairy from India. (Whew...say that three times, fast!) You can read all about it in the etsy shop.

The studio remodel is coming along slowly, but steadily. I have a lot of drywall finishing to do before I can paint (maybe the fairies could help), but I'll post pictures in a day or so!