Friday, February 25, 2011 12:05 PM EDT
To DIY or not DIY
I’m a huge proponent of DIY reno projects and have always had the mantra that if you can (possibly, conceivably, physically) do something yourself, why hire someone else? But when it came to building a business and having to reno the space it was going to operate it, I was juggling so many things that the process was getting dragged out for months beyond the plan.
When my father came to visit I put him to work. And although he was stuck in the non-air conditioned studio in August with no help, by the time he headed back to the airport three days later he had built an 8’x16’ storage room destined to hide all my prop clutter and less-than-sexy upholstery supplies. Thanks Dad! In my world these days, sweat equity is the best gift a girl can get.
The first thing I took on by myself was painting the concrete floors white. It brightened the space incredibly, but after my dog Massi took a spin on it, I regretted how much it showed footprints and paw prints. It took me almost two weeks to get the floor to a tolerable state.
Next was the bathroom. There are some things that even a mallet, a crowbar and a cranky mood can’t penetrate so for the shower stall I called in the experts. I was lucky to find contractors with an exacting eye and attention to detail. The guys from Start to Finish Contracting - Damir, Peter and Craig - are meticulous, taking to refinishing walls and all the other elements like artists. They even kept me on track at times suggesting some things I hadn’t thought of that make a huge difference: caulking all the mouldings, spray painting wires and cables, pipes and concrete/cinder block instead of painstakingly getting a brush into all those nooks and crannies.
For the final details I kept to what I knew best, fabric. I made my own blinds, sewing each and every ring and bracket on by hand and saved hundreds.
And I even got to transform some furniture. A little cowhide and time with my sewing machine and I had 2 new-to-me Wassily chairs.
Finally... The Big Reveal
It took three and a half months, many (many!) hours, 42 cans of paint, a few panic attacks and a lot of help from a lot of people, but my studio is ready to show off and host some serious DIY events. From a rough, dirty box to a glossy blank canvas, RE:Style Studio is a creative hub for craft and DIY classes, private events, and my design studio for client meetings and projects. I really wanted it to feel like a home away from home – almost worth living in – instead of a dingy basement or garage. I think you’ll agree: goal accomplished!
Photos: Leann Parker
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