We're living in a quirky old 60s house that has been a slow renovation project (labour of love) for my partner Jim and I.The entrance hall used to be a car port which some previous owners converted back into an entrance area. This area has slowly become a dumping ground for our bikes, scooter, beach gear etc.. and we realised that this probably wasn't the best way to utilise this space and seemed extravagant as just an area to pass through. We have a studio in the garden where I sew and screen print - it's now become more of a family room as our daughter has an area to make things and my partner has a study area within it too. It's been wonderful to all be in there together but over the past year or so, my children's book illustration work has been where my focus has been and I've realised that I need to work in complete isolation and silence in order to concentrate, free from any distractions. We decided the most affordable and sensible option would be to quickly adapt the front entrance space into a little study. It took my partner a week to adapt the space, start to finish. I'm absolutely thrilled to bits and love how cosy and small it is to draw in, whilst also being able to see the odd passer by from the window. It's also great to be able to draw here in the evening when my daughter is asleep upstairs.
Here are some snap shots of the transformation through all it's stages.
Below is a photo of how our home used to look before the stud wall was added.
As it's a 60s house, my partner chose to insulate under the windows followed by MDF cladding.
Jim started fixing the timber studs and then covered them with plasterboard - a surprisingly quick process.
A new door frame was added and the new room started taking shape!
All the nail holes were painstakingly filled with filler which was then sanded when dry.
We added a few simple shelves from some offcuts we had saved from previous jobs. I then began the fun part - bringing in my various belongings.
The blank white room!
I recently took a trip to Falmouth with my family and on the way back, we popped into the wonderful smart Lemon Street Market in Truro.We fancied a little peep around the new Atrium gallery and cafe. My partner Jim started looking at a selection of coffee table books whilst I chatted to the friendly owner. Jim brought a book over to show me that he thought I might be interested in and turning through the pages to the introduction I spotted a photo of my old studio in Brighton! It was such a lovely coincidence I decided to buy the book. It's an absolutely super find as not only do I love looking at photos of other people's studios, I discovered the book shows some that belong to some of my favourite artists. Artists such as Lisa Congdon who I've been a fan of since 2008! It's a true feast for the eyes!
Here's what my old studio in Brighton looked like in 2008
It was really a large bedroom in our house that I used as a studio as we were lucky enough to have an attic bedroom. At the time, I was still a music teacher but spent every waking second I wasn't teaching (and lesson planning!) working away in this room creating various products, sewing and designing. This space was a hive of activity and full of colour. I utilised every bit of wall space to add my inspiration - pictures by Dick Bruna, a framed magazine page of Lucienne and Robin Day and other inspiring postcards and book covers. The little cupboard with the sliding doors came from Ikea and I remember carefully glueing some red and white Orla Kiely stem print wallpaper to it as I couldn't believe she was finally branching out into wallpaper! The white lamp was an original Habitat Mac Lamp, one of many we collected over the years and the birch ply stools were bought second hand from various boot sales and eBay. I have such fond memories of working in this space as it was here that I planned my future career and exit from being a full time music teacher. 2008 was the year I left teaching and adopted my daughter, signed a contract with The Art Group and had my work published and sold in Habitat- I've very fond memories of her playing with my fabric scraps on the floor or sleeping in her cot whilst I made bags from pieces of fabric I'd screen printed.
The book contains real life case studies from crafters, writers, designers and artists. The book is packed with beautiful photos and I really enjoyed looking into each studio at great depth, scrutinising collections, noticeboards, storage solutions and of course a variety of artwork. Amongst my favourite studios were ones belonging to other illustrators and textile designers.
Here's Lisa Congdon's fabulous workspace - I love the clean white lines and her long desk space.
I've also been a fan of Sarah Campbell's fabrics for years so it was very exciting to see a few pages dedicated to her work spaces.
Mari Andrews, a US based artist and sculptor has a truly fascinating workspace - I wanted to knock on her door immediately to visit and look around! (a dream)
I love seeing people's storage such as this super metal locker to store yarn.
Below is a corner of Cadence Hay's furniture studio which she also shares with other artists, painters and potters. Such an inspiring space. You can find her beautiful Instagram account here.
Another designer I've been fascinated in over the past few years is the French designer Nathalie Lete. There are several pages dedicated to her work spaces and here's just one of them below.
The book is by Sally Coulthard and she's also written several other fabulous books which you may well own already! You can find her website here and her Instagram here. The book is called STUDIO and it's published by Jacqui Small. You can buy it from my shops including online from Waterstones
It's an interesting, inspirational book that I shall treasure and enjoy dipping into for years to come.