It's been a while since I've shared an art studio update. Since we're pretty much done (!!!), I wanted to give you a BTS look at the process and the final reveal. I cannot believe this time last year, John and I were scouring RedFin and waiting for the perfect house to pop up on the market in our neighborhood. It’s felt like a long time coming (construction always takes wayyyy longer than expected), but in reality, this job, which we started in June 2022, has been so much fun to watch unfold every step of the way!
Were there some snags? Of course! I’ve got a few STORIES for you below, but I am SO happy with how everything turned out and I couldn’t be more obsessed. Everyone on our team—from our designer Jen to our contractor Polo—was so nice and wonderful to work with and I honestly can’t believe I get to walk into this space every day and paint. It’s such an amazing feeling being in here.
And a special shoutout to Charlotte Lea for these beautiful photos!
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Behind the Scenes: Art Studio Reveal
When we toured this house with our realtor back in February 2022, we knew IMMEDIATELY when we pulled up on the street that this was our home. The tree-lined street, the front yard with the skateboard swing…John and I looked at each other and just knew it. Walking through it, there are definitely updates that need to be made and some of the stylistic choices are questionable, but the bones of the place, the location and the yard space were perfect. We could just see it all—what we wanted to change about the place and how amazing it could be.
We knew that the first project we’d want to tackle would be the garage that was converted into a living space by the previous owner. I mean, this space was just not cute, but we could see the potential! The ceiling was a dark orange color, the walls were an uneven texture throughout and the BATHROOM! Ha. Don’t even get me started on this bathroom. First of all, it had HUGE steps that you had to climb up to get into the bathroom and inside there was a blacklight…suspicious, ha! Along with the bathroom, there were just some strange layout decisions like a random wall that was just placed in the middle of the room that the previous tenant used to hide his clothes behind and the floor was dark and not our style.
Getting it Started
One of the biggest decisions we had to make when we got started was the ceiling. We originally were thinking of just staining it to lighten the dark wood color, but as we started ripping this space down to the studs and opening it up with bigger windows and more light, the call just felt right to paint it white. We wrapped the entire studio from floor to ceiling in the color Swiss Coffee, which is a beautiful soft white color.
One major thing I’m so grateful we spent money on was hiring a designer. There are SO many decisions to make, especially on a space that you’re completely ripping up, so having Jen, our designer, on board to help source furniture, put together layout ideas and talk with all of the contractors and workers here was the best call.
Jen aka California Casa. Jen did everything from dreaming up the layout of the space, finding dope pieces like the pendants and vintage hardware and cabinets, to talking with and following up with all of the workers here like the landscaper, countertop fabricators, etc. She made this project really come together and totally took it up a notch in terms of style!
Dave aka MacBeth Millwork. Dave is Jen’s husband and he is a contractor/woodworking magician. All I remember from one of our first meetings was telling him we wanted some sort of hidden bed for guests to come stay and he blew our minds with the cabinet Murphy bed wall. He’s also responsible for refurbing our antique french door, building the kitchen cabinets, shelving, the island, the bathroom door and the vanity…literally everything, lol.
Polo! Polo is our contractor and I’ve worked with him on a couple other projects and he’s been doing work for my parents for a while, too! He’s basically become a part of the family at this point and has been SO easy to work with. He was only able to work on the weekends due to having another construction job, but that worked great for us during the early stages because we could still work in the office during the week.
Laurie of LP Garden Works. Laurie is our landscape designer and she is SO talented. Every time I look out into our yard with the painted fence, the podocarpus trees lining the black fence, the gravel and the beauty that is all around our space I gasp! They did SUCH a good job and I can’t wait to get started on the rest of the landscaping for the main house!!
After the demo started and we were basically down to just studs and original flooring, we found a LOT of mold. The old bathroom wasn’t tiled properly so there was a lot of moisture behind the walls in the bathrooms and the floor was covered as well. Thankfully we had all of it excavated and taken care of, but that was definitely an unwanted and unexpected expense. Pretty typical in these old houses though, unfortunately.
Another snag was just having to wait for what felt like eternity for faucets and certain supplies. We originally thought we were going to have to wait a couple months for tile as well, but I found Zia Tile through endless searching and saw that they carry zellige tiles in stock and their warehouse is up the road in LA, so I was able to get my dream tile pretty quick and didn’t have to wait for the other supplier which quoted us like 10-12 weeks for zellige tile!! Other than that, everything went pretty smoothly other than just itching to get into this space and having to wait and look at the dumpster that was our backyard for months. Such is construction life though!
Where I Decided To Spend
The Doors. I found some antique doors on Pinterest and could NOT get them out of my brain. They were probably a pain for Dave to make operable (lol, sorry Dave), but they were sooo worth it. The look and texture of the wood with our vintage hardware from J. Nicolas…it’s just way too dreamy.
The Cabinet/Murphy bed feature wall. Dave killed it with this. The Murphy bed clasps to close so easily at the top and it’s all flush, looking like a cabinet door when it’s closed. We also had him add a cabinet at the top with a grate to hide our AC/heating unit which was brilliant and of course, Jen’s styling talents went to town on the shelves and they look so good! It was pricey, but because we film in here every week, having a few options for backdrops and a stunning feature wall was a must for me.
My antique art cabinet from RJ Imports. We wanted to tie in a few pieces that had the antique wood look to go with the door, and this cabinet is honestly so beautiful. I love being able to see all of my brushes, my favorite books and supplies all styled and displayed through the glass. I’m so inspired to paint every day when I walk in here and I’m so glad we decided to spend on this.
My Favorite Pieces
This candle, gifted to me from House of León.
My art cabinet from RJ Imports I mentioned above. I mean, it’s too good.
The custom door for the bathroom built by Dave and the French hardware. The detail in the door and the hardware…!! We found this hardware (along with the front door hardware) from J. Nicolas here in Corona Del Mar and they had a door knob from Limoges, France where I taught art retreats last year!! The white porcelain knob on the wood and brass is soooo good.
The checkered tile in the bathroom. We went with Casablanca and Glazed Earth 4”x4” from Zia tile in a checkered pattern on the floor and all the way up the wall and my jaw drops every time I walk into the bathroom. We also used the Casablanca tile for the backsplash in the kitchenette
Speaking of the kitchenette, the wood frame around the Smeg fridge was built by Dave and that has to be one of my favorite details…why don’t we do this for all fridges?!
THE LANDSCAPING!! Again, Laurie killed it. I honestly feel like I’m stepping into a resort everyday.
The pendants for the ceiling from West Elm.