One of the positives about lockdown has been the opportunity to get on with jobs at home including the very real and pressing need to get my home studio up and running so that I can stay at home and not risk the drive to The Loft in Caistor during lockdown.
Me and Mr M are super fortunate that we inherited an old coachhouse at the bottom of the garden. He’s done an amazing job with the garden so now my walk to work is literally along a meandering path to the bottom of the garden. How fortunate and blessed are we?
If you’ve seen any of my lockdown lives you’ll know that I’ve tidied up the old coach house at the bottom of the garden at the House of Mendes and kitted it out as my new home studio. I thought you might like to see the transformation. Here is the before:
One of the things I love most about furniture painting and working with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in particular is the joy of reinvention. If you’re bored of a colour or want to give your interior a lift, you can just overpaint. It really is that simple!
This is how I transformed the workspace. All on a shoestring, using what was there already – fitted kitchen cupboards, a lovely old brick floor, insulated walls that work as a plain canvas for pops of colour and a charming old wooden ladder to the loft. I’m calling it ‘my studio’ to differentiate from the workshop at The Loft at Caistor, but you’re sure to recognise a few of my favourite pieces of décor and styling props which I reworked in the hope of inspiring you to reimagine your own workspace.
For me the most important aspect of a workshop is storage. I was super lucky to inherit these kitchen cupboards and worktop in the coachhouse which had been used for DIY by the previous owner.
Although the cupboards were bland in terms of colour, they were sturdy and practical for tidying away all my paint, pots, glues, waxes etc. I instantly saw them in striking masculine tones and mixed my own bespoke deep, indigo blue using Annie Sloan’s Napoleanic Blue, Aubusson Blue and Amsterdam Green then clear waxed over the top for protection.
I bought some sleek linear handles to bring them up to date, and although I don’t love the worktop, it’s practical and wipe clean and does everything I need. The ‘beech’ finish sits in neat contrast to the navy base. I repurposed a curtain pole as a hanging rack under the top cupboards and opened up the curtain loops with a wire cutter and pliers to create S hooks for brushes and accessories.
Now is a great time to be resourceful and inventive with what you have. And that includes bespoke colour mixes to pep up old pieces and a few standout styling props!
Next most important for me in a creative studio space is a table, either to browse through books and magazines over a morning cuppa, have a quick look at my iPad or most likely for me to use as a paint or filming surface.
I like to have furniture at a practical working level and after years of suffering with a bad back from hairdressing I can’t do much bending down or working at a low level. It suits me best to stand to paint, how about you? You might recognise this workshop table. It features in virtually all my online Painted Love Academy tutorials, in its natural old pine in the 6-Week Masterclass and then I painted the base green with my own combination of Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green and Firle (you can see that on the stool). It lent a really fresh spring look for my Faux Leather Chair Tutorial and Fabric Decoupage Wardrobe Tutorial. Now it’s popped up again in the House of Mendes studio in smart new colours to suit the new space!
For the table top I used Napoleonic Blue, Burgundy and Athenian Black to create a rich, dark surface in contrast to a mustardy base. I used English Yellow and Duck Egg Blue for this but if you want a true mustard I’d say mix up Provence and Barcelona Orange. That combination really zings!
And later today I have the ultimate guest of honour coming into the House of Mendes studio space. I have a date live on Instagram with the one and only Queen of Chalk Paint herself Annie Sloan!
I am thrilled to be Annie’s first ever guest to chat live with her on her Instagram. I am wondering if I should ask to kindly declare the House of Mendes Home Studio officially open!
I have a few pieces of furniture to show her which I will reveal later but for now here are a few other shots of the workshop interior.
Please feel free to share and comment, I’d love to know what you think?