Our new Stu-Stu-Studio
Alright folks. Very exciting news today. Read on.
Six months ago when we moved in to this house, I posted the ‘before’ and ‘progress’ photos of the office/studio. Here it was ‘before’:
Then we renovated it, fixed up the walls and floor and moved in. It looked like this, and it looked promising:
I was psyched that I finally had a proper home office – separate entrance and all. Well … quickly we filled it up (as we do … I’m not a minimalist as you know):
This wasn’t designed, obviously, just how we were actually using the space.
Like a mediocre relationship, you can only stay in denial that it’s not really working for so long. You pretend you don’t need to move on, that you can make it work, that everyone is happy enough. But, all the signs point to ‘GET OUT AND TRY TO BE HAPPIER’. It’s just hard because its such a risk. You keep telling yourself, ‘It’s not frustrating enough, it’s not terrible enough,’ to make you jump out … but now and again you start looking. Your eye wanders. Your thoughts drift …
I’ve had fantasies of what it could be. We did drawings and renderings to help us figure out how it could work. We even got quotes on transforming it which were just so expensive that I panicked.
Click through to see the new space.
Above was a hilarious, extra bad, day where we were shooting on the other side of the room, so we took a pic. Obviously we didn’t actually work in that environment.
At first it was just Ginny and I which was fine. Then Brady came along and it started getting crowded (have you seen him? he’s HUGE!! #opposite). And now we have two awesome interns in and out and they don’t have a proper place to work. Meanwhile we have so many shoots (here and elsewhere) which means there are bags, boxes and just piles of crap everywhere at all times. Empty bottles of spray paint. Bags of knobs that need to be returned. Fabric swatches that need to either be organized or chucked. Furniture that is half DIY’d.
We try to stay organized, but without the proper storage and with so much going on it is actually impossible to put things away. Additionally we have more shoots coming up, for the book and partnerships, that require a larger space to shoot so I’ve been looking for locations and even renting spaces to accommodate the shoots. We have this one particular story coming up where we have to transform the same rooom four times (with four different wall treatments) and logistically that is a nightmare and so expensive to produce … unless you have your own space.
So, after I got home from Portland last Saturday night I started looking on Craigslist, just as a fantasy … like how people in a stagnant relationship might dabble on Tinder. Like, ‘Oh, I mean, I just want to see whats out there, but obviously I wouldn’t ever really make a move’. Every space I found was far away (over 30 minutes), really expensive (over $2500), too raw (where I’d need to spend a lot to fix up) and either up a flight of stairs (terrible for the amount of furniture we move) or not enough light … or all of the above.
Until I found this:
It’s a 1200 square foot creative space/store front only 10 – 13 minutes from my house in Eagle Rock. It has 11′ floor to ceiling south facing windows, with the entrance on the ground floor = minimal schlepping!!
It’s a total blank space that I can transform for each shoot. The landlord is a creative dude – photographer/designer/realtor/IT guy and he was like – just do your thing. I don’t have to sneak around. I don’t have to worry that painting a wall would get me in trouble.
We can actually properly work/shoot/create without having to go up precarious side stairs to the bathroom where we might wake a sleeping baby, or for me where I might get distracted for an hour from said baby (which is obviously what i’ll miss most). I really hated the idea of not working from home, but if I can just be home in 12 minutes or Charlie (with the accompaniment of his sitter) can come to me in just 12 minutes and visit for an hour then I don’t feel quite so anxious about leaving.
And yes, you can believe he’s coming every day we are there. If there is one good thing about running the show (there are a lot of less good things about it, trust me) it’s that I get to have my baby on set whenever I want. Don’t worry, he’s strangely well-behaved. And either Ginny and Brady are really good actors or they genuinely enjoy a visit from Sir. Charles (but I’m their boss, so what are they going to say? Your baby sucks? Nay, probably not).
Meanwhile, there is a tasteful kitchen and bathroom back there with an adorable little outdoor terrace that we can eat at and throw mini parties in.
The windows are so pretty – not too ‘lofty’ (so that if we want to add flooring and have it look like a more traditional house we could), but so much light. You never need to turn on the lights during the day and there is no harsh sunset light that made you need to wear shades and a hat indoors (like we got in our old place)
It doesn’t look like much but its one of those spaces that is so simple that it’s just a total blank canvas for us to do our worst/best on.
As you can tell I’m in the ‘Convincing-myself-that-I-made-the-right-decision’ phase of this relationship. I mean, I’ve gushed enough about it, right?
I emailed about it on saturday night, saw it sunday morning, said “I’LL TAKE IT, I LOVE IT. ACTUALLY, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, AND I’LL HAVE YOUR BABY UNLESS YOU DON’T WANT ANOTHER BABY AND THEN MAYBE I COULD BUY YOU A COFFEE??” immediately. I didn’t get a second opinion from Brian, Scott or Ginny/Brady. I didn’t think about it for even 5 minutes. It was so perfect for what I was comfortable with right now. That’s right. Its not perfect. But its perfect for my comfort level. Right now.
On monday morning I told Ginny and Brady that I wanted to take them to a fun lunch to catch up …. and then I surprised them with the new studio space. I was as giddy as a Josh and Andi were being in public together for the first time. Like, FINALLY. I just couldn’t wait and they must have thought I had lost it, especially since normally on Mondays i’m riddled with anxiety and in the worst mood of the entire week. But this monday I was sooooo happy.
They were so surprised, shocked and happy. They loved it and we moved in the next day. How quickly you can not only move on, but then HATE what you had before. We went back to the old studio that day and all of a sudden every flaw was totally in our face. Truth is, I think it was in their face for months but they are too nice to say anything and I was riddled with too much fear/denial to do anything except make fun of our situation and promise that it would change. Someday.
Well, it’s changed. When its right its right.
The purpose of the studio is to have a creatively inspiring space that we can transform easily for shoots to create content. Flexibility is key. We won’t be painting walls (at least not with intent of permanence). No wallpaper will be splurged on or pasted up. We probably won’t even put down or paint the floor. Why? Because since its mainly for shooting after we shoot a particular paint color/wall-paper we will be done with it and need to move on. Its a design/photo studio … well, kinda.
That being said … it still needs to look REALLY inspiring for us on a day-to-day basis – shoot or no shoot. We are expanding and possibly hiring another lead designer to accommodate design clients so yes, it’ll need to also function as a design office. Everything we do to the space needs to be able to be moved/wheeled around/removed/rotated, etc. It’s an interesting challenge. No built-ins. No heavy furniture. Flexibility is the name of the game and having everything on castors is the first part of winning it.
Its terrifying, but I already know that it’s the right thing to do. It will be so much better for everyone’s morale. Thank you so much Ginny and Brady for dealing with the previous office the last 6 months. It’s all changing.
I’m turning 35 in a month, but this, folks, makes me feel VERY grown up indeed. Wish us luck.