The Studio!

Oh brother! Another renovation project… and hopefully the last major change to the Square House (beside the backyard).

Honestly after the master bathroom nightmare (see previous post) we really didn’t want to pick up tools again for a very very long time. So we contacted three different contractors to give us bids on the studio renovations. Well weeks went by and after a couple contractor visits we never heard back from anyone. Yep not a single guy called us back wanting the job. Not really sure why but that left us to do the whole job. Cue the smallest violin playing a sad sad song. I wasn’t very happy with that. πŸ™ But whatever I got over it, put on my big girl panties, and picked up the tool belt once again.

So a little reminder of what the place looked like when we moved in:







Fugly color! And that tile… well not bad when we moved in. Then we started living with it for a while and we noticed just how bad that tile job was. I’m talking tile completely out of square, terrible grout lines, and tiles that were sticking up. Seriously started driving us nuts every day… but I really wanted all the projects done in the main house first so we lived with the studio space for about a year without making major changes. We did some decorating and painting but not much. We were in such a rush to start the renovations that we didn’t really take any images of the place in the middle stage. Here are a few iphone pictures of the place:

Back of the room we had a client area set up. Here we had meetings and also showed our clients their images via a projector.




By the front door we had our desks, one on each side of the room. We used these bookcases to form a sort of entryway andΒ  semi hide our desks:



Looking at the front entry way, desks on each side.


A look at the desks that we made (we re-purposed them in the renovation)


So when we started thinking about the renovation we used Google Sketchup to design the space and process the changes. We went through about 7 different designs before deciding on the one below. We ended up not taking the wall all the way to the ceiling but other than that we pretty much stuck to the design. So glad Philip learned this program and that we were able to see the changes before we committed to major construction changes.

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And the final result! We started by putting the flooring in up to where we were framing out the double doorway and changing it to a single doorway. With the help of my dad we then framed out the single doorway and the half wall. We decided to go with a half wall in case we wanted to rearrange later. We were actually able to fabricate the wall in a way that is not connected to the floor or other walls. We can actually slide the wall around the floor when we need to but it is super heavy… like multiple hundreds of pounds heavy so it won’t knock over. We put a custom wood topper on the wall to match the flooring and then the custom light fixture that I made is out of the same Birch that the wall topper is made out of. We really wanted to incorporate a lot of natural wood grains, raw metals, and light colors into the space. We used a couple of different types of woods and we are really happy with how it turned out. I was a little nervous about using light and dark woods but I really like the contrast between the wood choices…

So here is a look at all the changes :


The client area is now right by the front door.


Looking into the room from the front door:




Front corners. I want to change up this seating area down the road but for now this is what it is πŸ™‚




One of my favorite pieces is the light fixture that I designed and made by hand. I really wanted to bring Edison bulbs into the space and a lot of them πŸ™‚ Total there are 19 bulbs on this fixture. I would have put more in but wiring this took several hours and I didn’t want to draw too much power from a single fixture. I do need to go back in an straighten the cords a little bit but that can wait.




More client area:




And our desks. So glad that they are hidden now. We sanded our old desk and then painted them white to add more light to the room. Then we put them back to back and made one big desk.



A look at the client area and desk area.



We swapped over from using a projector to a TV for our client viewings. I definitely prefer this method and like the look of it much better.


Another favorite element are our chairs for the desks. Philip found these guys on major sale and I insisted that he order then, comfortable or not πŸ™‚ We both have pillows that we put on the seats while we are working. I love the grain on these chairs!!


Both views of the barn door. We’ve wanted one for a really long time and we searched high and low on the internet to find the right track that didn’t cost a fortune. We stained the door to match the desk chairs. Again in love with the way the grain pops on the door. We’ve fallen in love with natural woods and intricate grains and I’m really glad that we got to incorporate so many different grains.



The print room. We do all our own printing for our clients and previously we had the printer in the main room. One of the main priorities was to get the printer out of the area that clients were in. We needed more wall space in the second room to be able to put the printer in here and so the double doorway became a single and we gained 3 more feet of wall space and a couple more square feet over all in the other room.



Here we print, cut, and assemble all our prints, mattes, and albums. The big cabinet is for lots of storage


So there you have it! Our studio renovation. So glad that is over with and now we can get back to work and be full time photographers and not part time renovators πŸ™‚