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Art studio makeover in an old house

It has now been just over a year of living on this nearly 100 year old Finnish farm and about half a year since we finalized the purchase of the property and I was able to start renovating and redecorating. The process has been painfully slow but I think this is a well known and inevitable fact of the renovation process.

In half a year I've managed to finish one room. One! With a lot of help from family-members I might add. Since I rely heavily on an inspiring and aesthetically pleasing environment for my workflow, it was only natural to start with my art studio. Especially since it was pink when I moved in...

In this post I have collected the entire process of this room makeover including planning tips from a professional interior artisan (me, lol), stipulations and things I would do differently next time. I will link my YouTube videos on the topic at the very end of the post if you want to check those out.

Before vs After

The room constantly changes and lives on and there's already a few new pieces of furniture since taking these photos - so I can't really say that it's finished but it's a huge improvement!

The plan:

I wanted to make this room feel earthy and cozy with a hint of vintage industrialism and a whole lot of creative workroom vibes. A part of the result I wanted will only develop with time, a sort of messy, "worked in" look but we can fake some of it for the vibes.

Although the house itself is an almost 100 year old log house, the interior has been updated and edited over the years. I think most of the current decor has been done in the 90's. My goal with redecorating this entire house is to revert back to the original bones as much as possible - with some modern parts that make life a bit easier.

As every project starts, I headed straight to Pinterest and collected photos of art studios with all the elements I liked. This helps me get a clear vision of what reoccurring details will create the aesthetics I'm going for. I then created a moodboard of all the photos I felt most resonated with this project. Here's the moodboard:

As you can see, the main elements coming through here are natural, rough surfaces like stone/cement and wood. The color scheme consists of a bit of white, warm grey tones, black metal and wood. These colors also helps give a nice neutral light to work in.

Here's a digital illustration I made of my painting area. I wanted a little cart for all my painting material and a metal shelving unit for my canvases to be stored just like the wooden one on my moodboard.

The process:

Once I had a relatively clear vision of what I was doing, it was time to get to work.

I started by painting the wood paneled ceiling white to reflect as much light down on my working area as possible. In actuality I would've wanted to remove the panels and reveal the older parts of the ceiling while adding more height to the room but since I don't know what's under there, I decided that it's going to be a project for another time.

As you can see in the photos I didn't bother removing the trim (there were soooo many nails), but rather gave them an updated coat of white as well.

Photo 1 and 2: No need to protect that ugly wallpaper since it's coming off next, but I did cover the windows to protect them from any paint splatter.

Photo 3 and 4: Here I learned an important lesson about choosing a good, quality paint. Since I'm not too fond of that panel ceiling that has been put in somewhere around the 90's (I'm guessing) I chose a pretty cheap wood panel paint for the ceiling. It ended up coming back and biting me in the ass since I had to paint 4... FOUR!!! layers of paint on this ceiling to get it to look somewhat even.

The next step was to start removing the pink wallpaper.

Photo 1: Peeling off the wallpaper, revealing plaster-boards underneath.

Photo 2: Removing the adhesive by spraying it with water and scraping it off.

Easy peasy! ... but time consuming.

But first... coffee.

On one wall, behind the plaster sheets I was pretty sure the original log wall was hiding and I obviously wanted to reveal it. So I started tearing down the plaster sheets. The first part of the process was pure excitement - the wall was beautiful and on the logs there were some old parts of Swedish newspapers.

Sadly the excitement was short lived as I got past the door, the original logs ended and had been replaced (or maybe they never existed any further in the first place) by planks...

Luckily I have a creative and resourceful dad who happened to have some really beautiful unedged planks that we could make the plank wall more interesting with.

Photo 1: The situation after revealing the entire wall and feeling pretty disappointed with what I found...

Photo 2 and 3: Starting to attach the unedged lumber to the planks.

Photo 4: Using Osmocolor oil woodstain in the shade "tupakka" I got the lumber to a pretty similar shade as the old logs (2 layers).

Now we get to the fun parts! I wanted to incorporate some sort of stone-like surface in this space but taking the space and my budget into consideration forced me to fake it for now.

So I used my imagination and painting skills and created a faux stone wall using two different colors of wall paint. The process was definitely trial and error and a bit hard to explain so I made a video tutorial on the process:

For all the paints in this room I used Uula's plastic-free, oilbased paints, including the white primer.

I needed one darker and one lighter shade but I had a few different choices that I was trying to pick two from. I ended up going with the shades "Huurre" and "Laava". I think they look way warmer in this picture compared to how they look on the wall - but still neutral enough.

To give the room a cohesive look I had planned to use the same light shade from this "concrete wall" on the rest of the walls, but I thought it felt a little too light so I ended up doing a mix of the light with a little bit of the dark shade for the rest of the room.

The result:

Here is the final 360° look of the art studio as it was just finished. As you can see I attached the curtains way higher than they were before and slightly wider than the windows. This gives the room a much higher appearance and the windows look way bigger when the curtains don't cover the outer edges but rather frames them.

Only the Nissafors cart from Ikea and the shelves for my canvases were bought as new, everything else I already had and the plant-shelf by the window I happened to find at the thrift-store for 17€ when I was out thrifting for curtains.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, this room is not really finished as most interiors - it continues to live as it is lived in. I already have some new pieces of furniture in here that I need to figure out and upcycle a little before I show you. So stay tuned for updates!

All the photos in this post were taken during the darkest part of the year which - I really want some new photos now that I have more light.

Frodo adding some canine sprinkles to the painting corner
My favorite corner of the art studio

Here's the full process video of this art studio makeover:

Here's a tour of my art studio:

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