Believe it or not, we’re not trying to get the entire house completed in two weeks!  We are making a push, though, to get a bunch of big things checked off the to-do list.  One of those big things is painting the studio…all of it.  The walls, the floor, the ceiling, the trim.  Buckets and buckets of paint.  And painting like that is better done with help.

But first, this is a room that wasn’t insulated or climate controlled.  That’s just not going to work when it’s 2 degrees outside.  The climate control is coming, but earlier this week, we had it insulated.  The floor and ceiling were both easily accessed, but the walls under the window had to be removed, insulated, and replaced.  This may have been a more advanced DIY project, but we decided to hire it out, so it was done quickly and professionally.

The wall on the left is insulated, but we’re leaving the planking off until the heating/cooling unit is installed.  We are going with a mini-split, so the existing HVAC system isn’t messed with.  I’ll share more about it in another post.

With the bulk of the construction work done, we could start painting.

My mom and I were getting ready to paint and some of the neighborhood kids came over to play with the boys.  Their older sister, who was babysitting them, also came over and asked if she could help.  Well, girl, I can give you a roller and a paint shirt and put you to work!  She was so cute and such a big help!

Ashley rolled high, my mom rolled low, and I did the cutting in (and the cracks).

We got about half of the studio walls and ceiling primed, but we ran out of primer, so we had to call it a day on the painting.  It was probably a good thing, because my neck and shoulders were already protesting.

I wrapped the rollers and trays for the night, so we can use them again the next day.  I sometimes do the same with brushes, but primer can get pretty crusty on brushes, so we washed those.

Speaking of the primer, the paint expert at my local paint store, Struves, suggested using a primer made for sealing cedar and other oily woods, but it was an oil-based primer.  I really wanted to use something that was water based, so it’s less stinky and the clean-up is easier.  I ended up using Fresh Start, High Hiding All-Purpose.  I was so pleased with how it covered the wood.  We ended up only needing one coat of primer and one coat of paint in most places.

The next morning, I was sore, but I was determined to get that ceiling done, so it was DONE.  Painting a ceiling stinks and painting a ceiling with planks stinks even more, because each groove had to be hand painted.  I considered pulling out my sprayer for this one, but with all of the windows and the furniture in the room, the overspray was a concern.  So, it was rollers and brushes.

I worked on the ceiling while my mom worked on the walls.  Together, we were able to get the ceiling, the walls, and the first coat of trim paint done.

I picked Benjamin Moore Aura paint in Eggshell for the ceiling and walls.  The ceilings are Patriotic White and the walls are White Dove.  The trim is in the bright white out of the can in Advanced Paint in Satin.  The floor right now is just primed.


The Patriotic White has a hint of blue and White Dove is a warmer, creamy white.  I like the play of the whites, the sheens, and the textures.  I wanted it to be interesting, but subtle and neutral, since I’ll be using it for photoshoots.  This section of wall will be a my prime shooting wall…

The light in this room is beautiful and I like how the texture of the cedar planking lends some texture to the white wall.

And my dad took down the ceiling fan and installed an antique chandelier that was hanging in my last studio.  I love the warmth and sparkle it adds and it really brings the room to life!

Sooo…I normally wouldn’t paint the floor of a room with a piece of furniture in it, but this piece is so heavy and big that we need to just put it where it’s going to go and leave it there.  We primed the floor and let it dry overnight before sliding the piece into place.

And this is how it looks with the floor primed…

Oh my gosh.  I pictured this room painted, but now that I’m actually seeing it in person, I am so in love with this space!

I kept walking by the door, lingering to look in.  (Yes, and cleaning those windows is on our list!)

I actually decided that I need to move the cabinet to center it on the left two windows.  It’ll open up the right corner for my drafting table and my mom had a brilliant idea for under the windows on the left.  It’ll involve more scooting, but at least I’m deciding before the floor paint goes down!

I’m going to do a few touch-ups around the baseboards tomorrow, but otherwise, we are going to walk away from this room and let that primer cure for a day or two.

My back needs some time on the heating pad and I could use a day out of paint clothes, but I feel like one of the biggest and hardest projects is mostly in the rearview mirror.


  1. Michelle K

    Love it all!! Looks amazing!

  2. Caro

    Thanks for the explanation of your color choices. That was really helpful. I would have used the same white throughout, even knowing it was not quite the right choice. I really do like the subtle play of whites.

  3. Donna

    This room screams to me, I love it painted, I know the people in Minnesota love their natural wood, but this is now Marian’s studio, and it now fits the lady!!! I love the ceiling color pop…I have noted it for a future project of mine!! Carry on, hope your back has healed! 😉

  4. Ellen

    I was curious what you would use for a primer! I recently painted a hutch made from knotty pine and was such a nightmare. Some spots took three-four coats of shellac-based Zinsser B-I-N to stop the bleed-through. I’m going to keep this fresh start primer in mind for future projects though, it looks like it did a beautiful job! The space is absolutely lovely in its new color scheme!

  5. Marsha Kern

    It looks so good!!!

  6. Janet in Kansas City

    Love your big dark cabinet in the light airy room! And I’m with Caro on the explanation of the white choices that helps me too. What inspiration you will get in there.

  7. KathieB

    Several years ago I had to replace the wall-to-wall carpeting in my living room and chose to have a plank floor installed. I painted it white and have never regretted it for a minute.

  8. Linda

    Bright and beautiful is your studio space now!!! It’s going to be perfect for your future shoots. Give your neck and back a rest as I’m sure you’re going to be stiff for a couple a days after that job.

  9. Donna C.

    Looks like a million bucks!

  10. Candice

    It looks great! Love all of the natural light.

  11. Lisa

    Marian, it is wonnnnnnderful. You are going to make this place a show-stopper! Leave a place for us to visit and have a contest where we could win a weekend with you!!! Tee hee!

  12. Kim

    NICE!!!!!! I had a similar porch on my last house, and it was the color of a Band-Aid when we moved in, so it was completely recoated with white paint from stem to stern! We used it for a painting/drawing studio, dining room, photoshoots, etc. It is one thing I miss now about our new home, but we have our kitchen which is similar and isn’t ice cold in the winter like the porch was. Enjoy your space!!!!

  13. Erin

    My jaw dropped when i saw all the white! I recently lightened my whole house to a creamy white with white curtains and it’s like a breath of fresh air. Love checking your blog first thing to see what progress you’ve made 🙂

  14. Angela

    That’s lovely!! I am enjoying watching you make your house yours.

  15. Sandy

    It looks amazing! The cabinet was made for this space and love the chandy! I was wondering if you would paint the floors and you did!

  16. Angie

    It’s amazing the difference a coat of white paint makes, even if the floor is primer.

    I recently painted our exterior doors and decided that the frames needed some brightening as well so I grabbed a can of white exterior primer and went to work. They look fantastic and considering that we gave to replace the frames in the next year or so, I’m not even going to bother putting real paint over them.

  17. Sharon Kennedy

    Now it is beginning to look like your home. Beautiful.

  18. Teresa

    What a transformation…beautiful! We are going to paint our 90’s wood stained crown molding and wainscoting soon and I believe this was the same primer product that the Ben Moore salesman recommended to us when we talked to him about our project.

    I know painting that ceiling was a real chore especially with all the grooves. It looks from the pictures that White Dove which you used on the walls has a yellow undertone? Also, what are your plans for the floor as far as painting. The climate control system you are having installed will work nicely for this room.

  19. Laurie

    I just love following along on your new adventure! I’ll admit the first pictures of your new home had me a bit worried, because of course we all loved your previous home so much, seeing it regularly in your posts and in magazines that I wasn’t sure how this new space would all come together. But you had your vision all along and it’s so exciting to see you putting your stamp on your new home that I find myself checking regularly to see if there is anything new! Thank you for taking us along for the ride and posting through the thick of it! It’s so inspiring. 🤗

  20. Robbie Zeller

    Wow! You have such a great eye for what works in spaces. I appreciate your hard working spirit!

  21. Chavala

    I LOVE this space soooo much!!! Gives me so much inspiration for my screened in porch! Great news about primer you used as well. I’ll need a good one.

  22. Kim P.

    Great job, now it’s time for a soak in that big tub !

  23. Chris Moore in Seattle

    It just looks so white! Yeah I know, but it made sense once you said “photo shoots”. There is nothing better than harnessing ‘kid energy’. So much enthusiasm. Nice work!

  24. Claudine

    It looks fantastic, Marian!
    I recently helped my son paint his room (he moved out and rented a house with some friends) and it was paneling as well. I did the cutting and the groves yaacks! And we didn’t paint the ceiling!
    I love your new studio and love the whites! I will get back to this post when painting my house (currently being renovated as well).
    Can’t wait to see more posts about the new house 🙂

  25. Jo Ann B

    I checked my email early thi s morning to see if we had heard from you. This is like reading a best seller. This room sings your name beautifully. Great choices. Can’t wait to see what Monday brings.

  26. JolieAnne

    Thanks for the update, I have enjoyed the explanation of areas you are working on. I haven’t moved for 21 years. We are planning a downsize move in 2 years but by then I want less to move, just keeping the most important pieces. I hope when you show us the rooms as they are finished we will see some familiar pieces!

  27. Nicole

    I was just wondering why you decided to paint the floor. It looks great contrasting the white walls in the pictures.

  28. Chris

    This room is just beautiful! How fun to work once again with your mom and a new neighbor friend!

  29. Charlene Crable

    I JUST finished a daylight basement at my mountain home in WV, choose Behr White with no color added for ceiling, walls and trim in eggshell. Washed with TSP, primed with Kiltz and 2 coats of paint on the fake paneling. It is stunning! Bright and clean and no cutting in as it was all the same whitest white you can get. Now people will sleep in the 3 beds with all new bedding and like you, I hurt all over, 4 days of hard work but so worth it. Love yours too.

  30. Mary Crozier

    So lucky to have your Mom…looks so nice and clean.

  31. logan wilhelm

    WOW, you guys are “Work Machines”!! It looks so amazing!!

  32. Elizabeth

    I LOVE this room! It looks wonderful!
    Every day, I check my email, hoping for an update from Miss Mustard Seed. They are such a highlight of my day. It is such fun seeing how you are transforming this house.

  33. Dale

    And is that green paint on the living room walls that I can see through the doorway? 😉 Can’t wait for that update!

  34. Jenny K

    Looking transformed and so like your personal style. Yay! Consider a very soft pale(almost white) blue for the ceiling- it does wonders for warmth and depth😀

  35. Jelena

    The new studio looks great! It’s definitely much more “Marian style” now that it has been painted.

  36. Kristine

    I love the colors and I cannot wait to watch the studio come to life with furniture, desks, props, shelving….!
    It really is so much fun for us to follow-along on this new adventure with you!

  37. Deb Stought

    You make us all feel like we are such a part of your project and that’s very exciting. You are such a hard worker and a real inspiration to us all. (I feel like I can speak for everyone who is a fan of yours) I really identify with the “heating pad” comment as I keep mine handy to my recliner! Your home is already pretty, but it will be gorgeous when you are done working your magic! You go, girl!!!!

  38. Karen L.

    We used White Dove in several of our houses, in Pa, in Va and now, in SC and it always looks warm, bright and welcoming. It also photographs very well especially nice for your future photo shoots. You’ll love it! With all the bright light coming in from the snow days, you’ll appreciate the warmth of that particular (very popular Ben Moore) white!

  39. Susan

    It’s looking like you!

  40. Tammy

    It’s amazing how some paint can totally transform a room! A 100% improvement to the studio space. It looks beautiful and cannot wait to see more.

  41. Cheryl

    It’s stunning!!!!! I just want to leave a suggestion for you back ….have you tried the Aleve direct therapy? It’s a little device that really works on backs! All the drugstores carry it and I find if I use while painting I’m much better off at the end of the day….

  42. Brenda Gerrish

    Why not put the large piece on rollers so it’s easier to move around for cleaning or in case you want to move it somewhere else in the room? The room is going to be so pretty!

    • Alicia from California

      Great idea about the rollers!

  43. JC. at the uncommon pearl

    This looks amazing! Thanks for the primer and paint tip. We are considering painting over pine slats instead of white washing. This I imagine would work on pine as well as cedar? No presanding involved?
    I love how it lightens up the room and gives it an airy feel!

  44. Gabrielle

    What a wonderful space. And what hard work for you all. Looks fantastic.

  45. MaryLisa Noyes

    Did you bring your chandelier with you? I really like it in this space. I’m looking forward to what kind of heating/cooling system you got for this room….

  46. Jill

    I have one word for you…STUNNING!!! You are so talented!! And btw A huge thank you for the bathroom toliet cleaning tips. I can’t believe how amazing that pumice stone worked!! Thank you, Thank you ,Thank you.xo Jill

  47. Patricia

    I thought White Dove has a gray undertone? At least it did when I tried a sample pot here in CO. But it sure doesn’t look like it in your pictures.
    You know what would be pretty? A Eulalie Sky ceiling. Maybe someday. ‘0) Love the progress- and so glad your mom and dad are there to help!

  48. Nancy

    Wow. What a transformation. It never ceases to amaze me what a difference paint makes.

  49. Marlene Stephenson

    This room is amazing and will be a great room for a shop for you. I love the white and don’t blame you for taking peeks.

  50. Mary Borgsmiller

    Oh Marian,
    It is so exciting to open up my email every day to see what you have managed to get done in so short a time! It is like a new chapter to my favorite novel!!!! I, too, am getting ready to do some work on my house and I so wish I could PICK YOUR BRAIN because I love everything you do!!!! Your style is so great! Keep inspiring us less creative people to at least TRY. I so look forward to see what comes next. I’ll quit gushing but I hope you realize what a gift you have.
    Today is a good day….have a great weekend and enjoy having your parents with you. I lost my mom last summer and miss her every single day.
    Feeling blessed,

  51. Francie Aylward

    I love this room. It’s the only room, so far, that looks warm and homey and you!!!! But, I know, what you can do with a paint brush, imagination, creativity, and your stuff! I can’t wait!

  52. Mary

    Hugh difference and so worth all the work!

  53. Alicia from California

    I see a magazine spread in the horizon “Miss Mustard Seeds Makes Minnesota Her New Home” or “How to Mustardize a New Home.”

  54. Cheryl

    Oh it looks great already! What an awesome room. I can just feel the sun shining in all those Windows. You are amazing!

  55. Gloria

    Seriously the MN move and transformation is a book in the making. So fun to watch your home transform to your signature love look.
    Another reminder of the power of paint! And a few chandeliers! Giggle
    We are planning a move next year and your journey is another reminder that a home is made with whispers of personality is the styling and nesting.
    Thanks for the reminders!

  56. Monica

    I adore what you have done! I love how bright and cheery this space is,’I love the natural light. It will be a very special work area!

  57. kim

    I LOVE this all white painted planked room! I am so attracted to photos with all white — it makes such a clean attractive backdrop to everything you shoot. I also adore the antique chandelier that just puts a ring of bling on it.

  58. Sharon Warren

    Wow what a transformation! I love natural and stained wood, but those whites look so fresh and clean!
    Try ice on your back, rather than heat. Ice helps reduce inflammation (swelling of muscles from overuse or strain) and some ibuprofen helps, as well. I’m icing up this morning, as a result of too much gardening, and helping my husband lay tile yesterday. After 30 minutes or so, I’m usually ready to go. (Heat draws blood to the area, and increases inflammation)
    Can’t wait to see your home become a haven for you and your family. God’s blessings.

  59. Martha

    Love it! The the different whites and how they play off each other!

  60. D Fitz

    Love it! I have that same chandelier hanging in my coastal NC home. It was left by the previous owner. I wasn’t in love with it and was thinking of just getting rid of it. But for some reason I keep holding on. Looks great in your space so maybe I’ll be inspired every to do something with mine.

  61. Tonia

    Why don’t you find some of those cool old caster wheels and make it so the cabinet rolls?

  62. Hollie

    I love the dark wood cabinet and the chandelier against the warm white! So gorgeous and versatile. I’m all for painting trim, walls and built in white! I have a friend who I drive nuts when I say, oh that would be really pretty, painted! And I’m from Winona, MN, which is about 40 miles southeast of you on the Mississippi. You should come down and check us out this fall when all the leaves on the trees of the bluffs are changing. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’ve followed your blog for about 6 years and I’m so excited that you’re here in MN! My mom and I can hardly wait to see what you create and sell here! Prayers for endurance and joy as you continue to accomplish so much while your family is here!

  63. Dianne

    This reminds me so much of our sun-room! I love the white painted walls!!! And the chandelier!!! Our sun-room has pine planking on the walls and I would LOVE to paint them (they have yellowed over the years). I’ll have to show my husband how good your walls look painted!
    Can’t wait to see your finished, decorated space!

  64. Rebecca Kiser

    Beautiful! Very fun to see the transformation. I do a lot of painting myself (walls and art) and have had some chronic neck/back issues, but I got a great tip that helps me a lot. You might want to try it. I wear a soft neck brace (the kind they have you wear if you get whiplash – I think you can find them at Walgreens or CVS) when I’m painting, particularly above my head, and it’s amazing how much it helps. Yes, it’s awkward, but I’d rather feel awkward than choose between painting or pain!

  65. Diane

    It will look amazing! What a great space to have dedicated to your work. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  66. Susan

    I call it the “cupboard shuffle”……

  67. Krista

    The transformation and chandelier look beautiful already! How nice to have your parents visiting for awhile!

  68. Sherri

    Marian, what alot of work you got accomplished! It looks wonderful! I especially love the crystal chandelier!! Keep up the good work, it will all be done before you know it! 🙂

  69. Melanie

    Wow, it’s gorgeous! I love how bright and cheerful it looks now – can’t wait to see it completed!

  70. Jessica | Petal + Ply

    This is such a fabulous space!!! I don’t blame you for lingering at the doorway. The room is lovely and I can just imagine you’re dreaming about all the creative work you’ll get done in this space.

  71. Lauren

    Ahhh it looks amazing!! So bright and fresh and omgosh such a great space for photos. I am in love!

  72. Nancy

    I’m a bit concerned that you think it only gets to -7… that’s with out windchill!!.. I’ve lived in Mn for most of my life.. i hope we keep having mild winters!!… but I love that you’re bringing the south to southern Mn!.. It’s so fun to see what you’re doing!..Blessings for your new life in Mn!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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