studio tweaks

Marian ParsonsArt, Artistic Endeavors, Home Studio, Organizing27 Comments

When I moved everything into the studio, I knew that they might not stay that way.  I had an idea of how I would use the space, but that was based on the idea that the drafting table would be my primary work surface.

Since I’ve been doing more painting than watercolors and drawing, I’ve been working mostly at my easel.  That puts the work/storage table that houses my palette, brushes, paper towels, etc., on my left.  As a righty, that means I’m reaching across my body constantly.  I haven’t thought too much about it, but it is awkward at times and not ideal.

The postal sorter is also monopolizing quite a bit of surface space on the narrow table, so things are a bit cramped.

So, I’m going to move the easel where the drafting table currently is and I’m going to hang the postal sorter on the wall, freeing up table space for my tool box, palette, and brushes.

This also makes things a little less crowded in that corner, so I have some free (and accessible) wall space to hang all of the color charts I am making for reference.  (I’m going to start over and make charts on some MDF panels primed with gesso.  Those will also be more durable than the oil paper.)


I’m not 100% sure where the drafting table is going, yet.  Since the move, it was been a bit wonky.  I bought it sight-unseen off of craigslist.  I’ve done that a lot with very few problems, maybe only a handful, but this is one of those that wasn’t quite as good as I thought it was.  We think it may have been stripped for parts, since most of the mechanical pieces are missing.  That means it doesn’t tilt or lock into place properly.  I have to rest the work surface on my lap when I’m working.  It’s not something that needs to be replaced, but I’m keeping my feelers out for an upgrade.

I’m also going to save up to upgrade my easel.  This one was a great price and a great easel as I was just starting out.  I would like something that’s on wheels, easier to adjust, and sturdier.  It’s not a high priority, though.  Just something out on the horizon.  I will do some rearranging in the meantime, since that’s a free way to tweak a space.

Lastly, I still need to paint this wall!  It’s one of those projects that won’t take very long, but I just haven’t done it.  I think I’ve shared before, but we’ll also build some custom shelves to flank the mini-split heating/cooling unit and they will meet up with the hardware cabinet.  I cannot wait to get that extra storage and make that side of the room more functional.

And I just ordered some linen to make simple shades for all of those windows.  The light coming into the space is amazing, but it’s also intense and I need to be able to filter it.  I looked into different shade/blind options and, given how many large windows there are, it was going to cost thousands.  There are some places I’ll splurge, but I felt like I could make something that would look great, work just as well, and cost a lot less.

I’ll share my plans for the shades (along with some more light control) in another post.

Creating a functional and beautiful space takes time and some trial and error as well.  Sometimes things fall into place right away and other times, it takes years of tweaking to get things just right.

Even though I can be impatient at times, there is a lot of joy, discovery, and sharpened skills to be found in the process of working on the details of a space.  And that might be worth more than a completely finished room.

studio tweaks

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27 Comments on “studio tweaks”

  1. Hi Marian everything looks so great! I love what you have done. Just wanted to share something that would look great and save you lots of time….I have a sunroom very similar to yours with windows on 3 sides and tongue and groove paneled walls and we painted it all white as well. We bought the bamboo matchstick roman shades from Home Depot for our sunroom windows and then flanked the side walls with long paneled curtains to cozy it up. The brown shades contrast so nicely with the white wood and it was super affordable and unbelievable easy and fast. I’m all about big impact but saving time…just thought I’d share:-)

  2. I found very inexpensive white linen-look roman blinds at IKEA that I could install with cup hooks (into pine window frames). They look nice, operate well, and it took just a couple of hours to install about a dozen of them. They came in many sizes too. If you have access to Ikea and they still carry them, might save you some time….

  3. It looks beautiful Marian. Also, Home Depot has some inexpensive linen shades. There is a lovely white color that you might be interested in.

  4. Your meadow project was an absolute fav of mine and you have inspired me to get back into it. I too will make a color chart. What are your ratios and how on earth did you get so little as to not waste paint?

  5. I’ll be looking for your solution to window shades – I have the same issue with an abundance of daylight.
    By the way…that is an adorable photo of you!

  6. I agree, rooms do take tweaking sometimes! You are just so lucky to have that space dedicated to your work and hobbies. This may sound funny, but the wood wall actually is kind of pretty, but I;m sure the room will look more cohesive with it painted. Good work!

  7. Hi!
    I’m not sure how many windows you have to cover but if you’re looking for blinds, I think Holly Mathis has a special offer on her website.

  8. Yes, Roman shades are fairly easy to make yourself if you’re at all sewing handy (which you are) if you want a custom look.

    How is that space heater doing this year with all the ultra cold weather? Are your porch windows icing up?

  9. Sometimes it’s not the destination, but the journey. I’m pretty process driven so I really enjoy the steps that go into a project. The end result is just the bonus. I love your studio. Mine is too full. Time to rearrange the furniture.

  10. I love what you said in the last paragraph… it applies towards all avenues of life!! What a wonderful metamorphosis to your home!! And you articulate your thoughts /feelings about your projects so well.
    God Bless You, Marion
    P. S…. Looking forward to your post re., the shades.

  11. I love your work space! I’m sure you’ll have all the placement issues figured out in no time. As we speak I have a Hamilton drafting table for sale on Craigslist now. It not only has all the parts, but also a small storage drawer that swivels out.

  12. I love your blog. Regarding your shades, I have made Roman shades as well. One time consuming issue with making them yourself is all those little round pieces that hold your cords in place have to be hand sewn in place and measured carefully. This move I purchased them from bed bath and beyond. They have many sizes on their web sight. Plus you can use the 20per cent coupon. mL

  13. I love the use of the mustard pots for your crafting/painting tools….Such a great light filled space!

  14. Solve this blind problem for us!!!!
    I have the same problem with a sunporch.
    Must be affordable, adjustable and look nice inside and outside.

    Like your hair cut?

  15. My husband died amazing things with wild. I added him to make an easel and he said, “give me the specs.” Help!

  16. I’m an artist and just moved like you last summer. I looked for houses that had the exposure that I was looking for. Move your easel so that your canvas will be facing the window. The light should hit the canvas front. Also a small table like hairdressers use for there products should work for keeping your brushes and paints near you. I hope this helps.

  17. Your dynamic approach to arranging your work space is inspiring. I’ve been working on a spare room to use as my office/ studio, and your example helps to motivate me. Actually working in the space before it’s done is a good way to determine whether my decorating plans pass the functionality test. I’ll do it!

  18. Yes! Definitely put a table to your right when you paint. That way it is super easy to reach to your paints and back to your easel. You can also have your brushes and linseed oil etc completely accessible. I had a drafting table once and even though it was cool, i got rid of it because it took a lot of space and wasn’t that functional for painting. What a great space for painting!


  19. I think sometimes living in a space for a while is better and then deciding on the small adjustments that need to be made, makes it cheaper. I have spent way too much money on things i should have put more thought into.

  20. Well done you for taking the time to do color charts. Experimenting with color mixing is worth the time. As a former art teacher, I frequently point out to folks a little short cut to always having to refer to your chart when mixing a neutral color. The best way to get a neutral is to add a little of the color opposite on the color wheel. So if you notice on your color chart the most neutral colors are the ones where you added orange to the blue. Blue is opposite Orange, Red opposite Green, Yellow opposite Violet. In college design class we had to do multiple color charts just focusing on lowering the intensity of the hue (the lower the intensity the more neutral of course). You probably already knew this because you work with color so much, it’s just something that’s useful to keep in mind when mixing colors.

  21. Wow! This room is so inspiring. Marion, would you be willing to share the name of the mini split heating/cooliing unit? I’ve used a magnifying glass at my computer screen and still can’t read the brand name. We are presently transitioning a 3 seasons room (not terribly dissimilar to your room) into a bedroom/sleeping porch and require heating. I’m reluctant to use baseboard heating for safety reasons and think this might be the perfect solution! Do you find that it keeps the room warm in winter?

  22. I do to!
    I’m the one that bought your red, white and blue blouse on ebay. It was very nice getting to meet you at Lucketes.

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