Well, it "only" took a year, but my studio is finally finished!!!
Okay, I still have to put the doorknobs on the french doors, but I'm going to overlook that for a moment. True to form, there's always some little detail that I can't seem to make myself finish before declaring something Done. But at least the durn things are painted! French doors, I've discovered, are a HUGE pain to paint. Especially when one starts with raw wood, and 5 coats (including primer) have to be applied...with sanding between coats and a bazillion fun little angles to deal with around the glass. I highly un-recommend doing it. But back to this studio of mine!
In order to fully appreciate the evolution of this space, you must first see what it was like Before:
This was how it looked before we moved in. Awesome. Yes, that is a piece of plywood cut out in a tulip shape and painted red on the corner of the door...don't ask me why. I think somebody kicked the door in and that was their fix-it solution.
The previous owners had slapped up a wall to create a bedroom space in here, but since there are no windows (which is illegal in a bedroom) they created one of their own above the stairs....
Which is still illegal but I don't think they were too concerned about rules or building codes...
Which explains why, when we were ripping out the plywood cabinet thingy, we discovered the foundation walls were not framed with 2x4 studs, but with skinny furring strips. And the bare outlets were screwed directly into said furring strips with no plastic box around the outlet to prevent contact with flammable substances such as, say, wooden strips.
Which, of course, necessitated a full-on gutting of the space and a whole lot of extra work and (of course) money.
Here is Steve playing with toys, er, tools.
He ripped out the silly sliding doors and useless skinny shelves that were associated with the inconvenient water meter sticking out of the wall. Can't do anything about that plumbing, but we built a smaller little closet to contain the thing.
I'm backtracking now...here's the little closet thingy before we demolished it.
We rented a large U-haul truck to cart away all the debris. Thank you, thank you, previous owners, for such a fun activity. :-)
Since the flooring now had gaps in it all over the place, and since that type of laminate is now out of production, it became necessary to rip out the flooring too.
Aahh, a clean slate at last! I wanted lots of light in here due to the absence of windows, so 12 recessed lights did the trick...and then some! Not many dark shadows in my studio now, to say the least.
Beautiful, is it not?
One more photo of that glamorous "window" that my kids jumped out of on a regular basis.
We hired help to do the framing, some of the electric, and the sheetrock. I did the crown molding and spent quite a long, long time painting (and repainting because I didn't like my first color choice) everything, including the ceiling (which had been retextured because I couldn't stand the existing fan texture and it got all damaged anyway when the lights were installed).
I patched all the gigantic gouges in the concrete floor to prep it for the new flooring,
and smashed my way through the bathroom tile so I could extend the flooring into the bathroom. I ran out of time and steam on that project, and figured I should save that can of worms for another day. So the new flooring only extends partway into the bathroom, which has yet to be gutted (and oh, does it need gutting).
Speaking of flooring, I installed a highly textured vinyl plank flooring called Allure Ultra (Sawcut Arizona is the color and style). It's not as easy to install as they claim it is, but I was able to do it all by myself in a day or two.
I built the "counters" at the back of the room (the drawer units are from IKEA) and discovered just how crooked a wall can be...
...which required a new board because I had already cut that one to length (and had spent quite a lot of time sanding, staining, and varnishing it without doing a dry fit first) and I couldn't lose an additional 1/2" on the other side. Grrrr....
So after Trip # 5,987 to Home Depot, I finished another board (after custom-fitting it to the space BEFORE the final length was cut) and the back wall was ready to go. Do you like those 2 white tables? I got them both for $50 on Craigslist...actually I got 2 identical table tops and 4 legs, but they were brown and damaged so I sanded everything down and painted it all white, then swiped some legs from a small farmhouse table with a dorky tabletop for the other, newly-painted tabletop.
And, eventually, my official 7 Layer Studio was complete...just a few weeks shy of a year after we first dug into that back wall.
Please excuse the unrealistic positioning of all my quilts and things on my tables...I was getting ready for my official Open House and so things are unusually clean and "on-display-ish".
Are you tired of seeing my fabric all over the place yet?
Sorry. Maybe. :-)
This quilt (it's for Hazel) was quite the project...that's all hand applique, because I don't have a machine that can do a blanket stitch or any other kind of fancy stitch. Ironic, isn't it, that here I am with my own line of fabric and patterns and I have a bare-bones basic machine. Someday I'll actually earn enough money to buy my dream sewing machine...
I built this large quilt rack shelf by using 2 decorative shelf holders (from Home Depot) and screwing through them to secure the wooden closet rod. Then I glued 2 wooden tapered circles to hide the screw heads. I added trim to a pine board for the shelf above.
My sister sends me the best Christmas cards. She knows I love Norman Rockwell.
I wonder if other fabric designers panic at the thought of running out of their fabric line? Probably not to the extent that I do...hence my, um, stash.
There's actually quite the crazy story associated with this china hutch, akin to the big black beauty I have in my dining room....
... It goes something like this:
Searched far and wide for small, cheap-but-good condition, old china hutch with good lines. Found one in DC for $50, brought it home without much trouble. Was in a hurry, didn't sand/clean it very well because I figured the spray primer would compensate. Sprayed primer, then aqua paint. Good to go, or so I thought.
When I started painting the white on (with a brush), the paint was lifting and flaking off in numerous places, especially the cabinet doors below. Upon closer inspection, I discovered the panels were PLASTIC.
Yes. I know. So I pried off the plastic panels, which damaged the door faces.
So then I went to Home Depot (probably Trip #2,476 at this point) and bought tongue-and-groove beadboard to glue to all the panels, along with new trim. Then I had to sand down all the places that had bubbled (the previous owner must have used a wax-based polishing product on the wood) and start all. over. again.
As my husband said, while grinning, "You know, for someone as experienced at furniture refinishing as you are, you sure do make a lot of mistakes!" Touche.
At least I didn't mess up on my fabulous red dresser!
Or my super fun aqua and red chairs!
The first coat was red spray paint, then a coat of aqua over it with a LOT of careful sanding after it was fully dry. Enough pressure to cut through the aqua, but not enough to blast through all the red at the same time. I love these chairs.
Maybe someday I'll actually screw the seats to the chair frame so they'll be totally, completely finished...or maybe not. Have I mentioned that I'm pretty sure I have adult ADD? Hence the problem with finishing things before starting other things.
Hence the FOCUS sign above my photo board. Hmmm...I wonder if it's helping?
Based on the huge amount of fabric that I have stashed and all planned out in my head how I'm going to use but will likely not ever get to, the Focus sign is probably a little less than effective.
At least Chunky Monkey and Friends are here to cheer me on...
...Even when a new quilt project is tempting me to drop EVERYTHING and make the gorgeous quilt I have planned in my head...in time for Christmas...so I can take cute pictures of my kids poking their heads out from under it. Which I can then make into adorable Christmas cards and have something to send out that I'm actually proud of instead of the cards that didn't turn out and I refuse to send.
And you thought YOU had issues, eh? :-)
Maybe that's why I love Toot and Puddle so much...that Puddle and me, we're a lot alike.
And so here we are, full circle, in my exciting new studio space! I now get to enjoy it for a whole 6 months before we have to move to North Carolina. No, I don't want to talk about that, especially because we still have the rest of the basement to gut and refinish (remember the wiring issue?) plus at least 2 bathrooms to gut and redo because of severe mold issues. Quite frankly, I'm tired of guts, and issues.
But hey, at least I'll have a beautiful new studio to escape to momentarily when I'm having one of my inevitable upcoming gut-induced breakdowns...wish me luck, or better yet, wish for me not to have to move! It's a nice thought, anyway - the not moving part - but somehow I don't think the Coast Guard cares much whether or not I just finished my studio, or that we are all quite happy living here in Northern Virginia. Such is the life of a military family! I really can't complain, we have been transferred far less than many people, but it still stinks. And now I will stop complaining. Hope you enjoyed my studio tour!