Now that the shell of the studio is complete, it’s time to get to work on a design plan for how to best use the space.
You would think that I would have had this all planned out for months, but nope. This is probably due to the fact that I’m simultaneously thinking about a bunch of other rooms and that I’m so much better at visualizing things once I can stand in a space and get a feel for it. Now that the studio is ready and kitchen makeover is complete, my focus is fully on this space.
(Well, that’s half true. I’m also thinking about the fireplace makeover I have planned and choosing carpet and repainting the third floor … so many fun things to do in this house!)
I love a good before and after, but I also totally see the value in sharing the process of how to get from that before to the after. So for the studio, my plan is to share it all step-by-step.
When approaching the decorating of any space, I like to think about a few things:
What is the purpose of the room?
What is the desired feeling for the space?
I will use the studio to work at the computer, store my craft/decorating supplies, take product photos for the shop and instagram, record Coffee Chats, sit with Ryan to plan and calendar all things JDC, meet with clients and gather with friends to work around a table. I am such a visual person that I work best when my space is clean and orderly, and also creatively inspiring. So my goal for the studio is for it to be light and bright, organized, warm, comfortable. Basically, a place that feels inspiring to work in and relaxing to be in.
Last week Ryan and I spent some time up in the studio figuring out how to layout the space to make the most sense. The dormers and angles are charming, but also cause limitations (there are only three flat walls to hang things on!). Ryan is so good at space planning so I rely pretty heavily on him to offer his vision. And he delivered. He came up with a great plan to build in a desk along the entire back wall, add bookshelves/storage on the wall between the dormers, put a table in the center of the room and a reading/planning area in one slanted-ceilinged corner.
Here’s a rough sketch of the layout:
Once we had the general layout figured out, I got right to work coming up with a specific plan. I have a pinterest board dedicated to my favorite office spaces, so it was great to look through those images to pull inspiration.
Since we decided the best use of space was to create a built-in desk along the back wall, that was my first focus. I spent hours – literally hours! – searching for creative built-in desk solutions.
My mom has a cute home office desk with three sets of filing cabinets holding up the wood top. That was initially what I was going to mimic, but then I started having second thoughts.
First, the wall we are putting the desk on is quite large. I felt like a small filing cabinet just wouldn’t be the right scale. Second, I don’t need storage for files and paperwork. Third, filing cabinets are not cheap! It felt like if I were going to pay several hundred dollars for this desk situation, I might as well make it very functional and more in line with my desired aesthetic for the studio.
This led me down a long and time-consuming rabbit trail of searching for something other than a filing cabinet I could use as the base of the built-in desks.
I came across this image and it was the perfect jumping off point. I figured if a filing cabinet could be used as the base of a desk, so could a dresser.
Next it was just a matter of finding the right scale and price point for a piece of furniture. I scrolled through all of my favorite online stores, salvage places and craigslist to find three matching dressers/bookshelves that were the right depth and height and came up without many options. With the options I did find, I drew out the measurements and prices along with pros and cons until ultimately landing on the Hemnes 3-drawer dresser from IKEA.
The dimensions were not perfect, but with some alteration the height would be workable.
To help me visualize what the dressers would look like, I printed off a photo of the studio and drew right over top.
Seeing it on paper (even in a not-to-scale, sketch-y version) was just what I needed to make the final decision.
With the built-in desk figured out, all of the other finishes and pieces could be chosen. For the studio, we’re going for a classic, modern and pretty minimal feel.
I’m not straying much from my typical style, but maybe pushing it slightly more clean-lined than I would in the house. A warm, neutral color palette of white, black, natural wood and brown leather will give a simple backdrop to the creative work projects that will happen in the studio. I still haven’t decided if I’ll paint the dressers that gorgeous deep green (Calke Green by Farrow + Ball), or keep them white. Either way, I know I’ll bring in green with a few plants to add a bit of life to the otherwise colorless palette. There are a few things I’ll pull from our house (like our dining room table and a reading chair) to add to the mix and we have another built-in shelf to figure out for in between the two dormers. But progress is being made!
We have two out of three dressers put together, chairs and lights are on their way, a diy white board is in the works and one of these days I’ll get the kids to help me lug up the million boxes of office stuff from the garage.
Hopefully seeing my design process is helpful! I’ll keep you updated as we continue to make progress …