For the last 14 years, ever since we moved back to Portland, my artist studio was in the basement. There is not much in the way of natural light down there and every now and then in our rainy season the water seeps up from below. As you can imagine, I found myself spending less and less time down there.
The idea to move upstairs to my daughter Annie’s room was spur of the moment. She landed a full time job and decided to get an apartment with a friend this spring. Her favorite part of the room is the alcove we made by converting a walk-in closet when she was 12. We agreed that as long as the alcove stayed, I could have the rest of the room. The alcove is now my very cozy reading nook.
Here are the before photos that I took as Annie was moving out. As you can see, the walls were already red. Since red is by far my favorite color, I decided to keep them that way.
I didn’t want to buy anything new so we moved my old cabinets up from the basement. I lined the two side walls with them and used the rest to make an island in the middle of the room using the top off an old Herman Miller conference table. Now I can sit at either end and love the freedom to work wherever I want. The light (and the views!) from the three windows is a great improvement over the basement.
I tried very hard to only bring up what I really need to play with color – books, polymer, paints, collage materials and a few basic tools. The dirty work will still go on in the basement. I moved my dyes and most of my power tools to a corner near the sink and negotiated with my husband for some time to get rid of everything I don’t use anymore.
I allowed myself a few craigslist and goodwill purchases – the stools, the rug, and a couple extra pillows. I still need to get better lighting but overall I am all moved in.
For now, one end of the room is my office and one end my studio. That will change when I make the next move into the little room off the alcove. That was my daughter Monica’s old bedroom under the eaves. Its currently being used for storage but I’m planning to convert it, with Monica’s blessing, into a new office this fall with the same “keep my bed so I can come home” strategy.
This is the first time I have had a room of my own since I was a teenager. It feels warm and sheltering and oh so very special to me. I love it.