Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Studio Remodel

My Studio Remodel:
The decision to start this “designer’s perspective” blog has been a multiple month labor of love or quest for creative sanity, I am not yet sure which, maybe both. Aside from the art and design projects I do for work/sale I really wanted to find a way to connect with distant family and friends, stay creatively motivated, and most importantly teach the creative projects and artistic theories to those that are always asking me how I come up with this stuff. Months ago I began keeping a creative journal of mostly repurposing ideas. I was excited to make the repurposed projects, but thought it sort of selfish and wasteful to pour into these ideas without sharing them. These thoughts along with those mentioned in the first post led to the conceptualization of this blog.

All that being said… the room we labeled “my studio” was the room with all the miscellaneous crap without a home filling the closets, a futon my husband had kept from college, my easel and paints, a dress form and sewing stuff and projects in any little nook they would fit. I knew if I wanted to truly incorporate areas for fashion, interiors, repurposing and dog friendly items to my design and art space I was headed for a remodel. As you can see below.

Today I would like to bring you along for a condensed form of my studio overhaul.

First, I wanted my studio to reflect my style as a designer and artist. Additionally, it needed to be functional for use as a studio and a workshop for this blog. If I have the time I will make a mood board before beginning a project. A mood board is really just a collection of magazine swipes, fabric swatches, and other mementos placed in a unified manner on a portable board. The purpose of a mood board is to have something to reflect on that helps you keep on track throughout a project. I actually did not make a one for my studio remodel, but it would have been a great tool. So, I did the next best thing…headed to the paint shop for swatches.

We have this great little mom-and-pop paint shop in Oklahoma City called Munger paint. The actual owners work the store; they and their staff are not only helpful and knowledgeable, but can walk you through a project. This is where I go if I need a specialty product or have no idea what I am doing. This time I knew exactly what I was doing, but needed a selection of metallic paints.

I wanted to create a posh, steely, high-contrast, elegant look with the wall color, which originally led me to want to do grey-black walls against white wood and add a ripple of color pops throughout the room. I had narrowed my base color down to three very dark grey samples and headed off to pick my metallic color. I found a metallic paint with lavender undertones. Oddly, all along I had been internally pulled to incorporate lavender; so, I was feeling really good about my selection. I set my purse on the counter to pay for my metallic paint and nearly beneath my hands laid a deep purple just nearly black paint swatch that supported my metallic lavender just perfectly. I commented to the store clerk, “I never make impulsive last-minute big decisions like this, but I am…I need a gallon of this Tulsa Twilight color.”  As it turned out this was a very good spontaneous choice.       

After painting the walls so dark I needed to soften the high-contrast with antiquey touches such as stenciling the large damask pattern on the wall, hanging some wispy curtains, and adding natural (but dark) wood to balance the wood flooring.

This next part did not go as planned. First of all, there is a reason to use plastic stencil paper. Old pizza boxes are not ideal, but I did manage to complete the wall with one. Again, bad idea for two reasons: I cut too close to the edge…and used a paper pizza box! What was I thinking? Paper ripples when wet!  

Next I laid the damask centers. This time I used real stencil paper and stayed away from the edges, but still probably tried to cut too many intricate details. Truthfully, I probably could have free handed the entire wall in the amount of time I put into the stenciling, but by the time I realized this it was way too late to turn back. Incorporating personal touches such as birds and dragonflies were important to me. In short, my Gran was probably my biggest artistic influence. She loved to paint scenes from nature and collected bird figurines. My parents made the outdoors a priority in my childhood. Everyday was a chance for a field trip full of teachable moments, hence the dragonfly. I think it is important to integrate even concealed, but deeply inspiring reminders in my workspace.        

After the week turned into weeks on the stenciling project I decided this was going to be a full-blown overhaul. I pulled papers, pictures, boxes of college stuff, outdated electronics and a multitude of other miscellaneous junk from the closets and beneath the furniture.

Peculiarly, this may have been the most draining section of my journey between the actual hours and the emotional attachment. I would assume most of you have accomplished at least one mass exodus of boxes full of old memorabilia that has not crossed your mind in years. I found sorority date party and other college pictures that made me laugh, cards, letters, and my uncle’s funeral program that made me cry and other silly little things like ticket stubs, but all of them full of so many memories. I kept the things I needed (and a few pieces of memorabilia) and tossed the rest. I carefully assessed the items I had kept, measured, clipped craft store coupons and bought shelving accordingly.   

It was finally time to have some design fun! I evaluated my surroundings to determine what was missing and if I was still on track with my imaginary mood board. You should always have some questions, such as these, in mind before beginning a creative project.
  • Had I established a feeling through color? Yes. The dark walls with a slight purple hue and steely metallic against the white borders conveyed clean-cut, but regal sophistication.
  • Had I added a feel for artistic whimsy? Yes. I had created a day dreamy feel though the twists and bends of the stenciled pattern, the additions of special, though cryptic, artistic inspirations, and the sheer free-flowing curtains.
  • Had I drawn the eye around the room? Yes. I placed a few white pieces on the wall bouncing between the curtains and the white wooden borders, added slight wooden touches to the opposite corner of the room to balance my easel across the wooden floor, and positioned some inconspicuous silver-metallic items around the room drawing away form the stenciled wall.
  • Did I soften the rigidity of the high contrasting colors? Yes. I added antique frames, and an antique mirror with vellum paper rosettes, glass jars full of interesting finds, flowy curtains, and soft up-lit lamps.

And most of all, Is this space functional for how I plan to use it?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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