Been there, done that

Garage for sale...
Garage for sale…


We bought this house with the idea that I’d use the garage as my studio. Two car garage. Nice space. But it was very dark and uninviting since there was no natural light. So the first thing we did was to put in a side entrance door with glass. My dear husband did it for me. After three years, I still need to put on the door trim.

Hot, dry gravel ''before' patio (with dogs)
Simon and Schuster enjoying the hot, dry gravel outside the studio door

The new side door gave me some natural light but it looked on to gravel which was my only (depressing) view – although Simon and Schuster didn’t seem to mind.

So I decided to create a patio that would enable me to use the side entrance and make it more attractive for people to visit my studio. A big plus is people would no longer have to come through the kitchen or laundry area. You can see the details of the patio construction and before and after pics in my Tuscan patio post.

New view from the studio door.
New view from my studio door and a great place for a latte.

To improve the lighting we also put up inexpensive shop lights with daylight bulbs (5000K). Again, not pretty but very functional.

lights and a/c
lights and a/c

5000K (K=kelvin) are full spectrum bulbs meaning they have equal amounts of red, yellow and blue so it’s balanced light – not too yellow or blue. It’s best is to get a bulb with a CRI (Color Rendering Index) close to 100 for more accurate colors. It’s sort of like calibrating your computer monitor.

Next up was to fix the cold.  It’s really hot in the summer and inside the studio could reach over 100 degrees, but the winter studio could hover around 40. The paint gets stiff and so do your fingers.  We installed  a split unit for heat and a/c. But it could only do so much since the garage wasn’t insulated apart from the south-facing outside wall that we insulated when we moved in.

One solution was a nice little DIY project to insulate the metal garage door that faced the hot evening sun. A friend suggested using foam insulation panels and slipping them into the frame.

Insulation on metal garage door
Insulation on metal garage door

Instead we installed traditional R-13 fiberglass wall insulation and held it in place with plastic sheeting and wooden strips bolted to the door frame. It was very effective and brought the temp down by an average of 10 degrees. But it wasn’t pretty. I like pretty.

installation and finished 'curtain' over insulation.
Installation of canvas drop cloths and finished ‘curtain’ over insulation

My studio intern, Ernesto and his friend Derek helped me hang canvas drop cloths over it to hide the insulation. The garage door still opens but it now looks much more like a wall. Not exactly pretty but much better and not too expensive. Definitely worth the money.

Trunk full of thrift shop donations
Trunk full of thrift shop donations

These are the projects we’ve done so far in the studio, but the next step is getting rid of all the things I don’t really need or use.

More thrift shop fare
More thrift shop fare

So I’ve hauled stuff to the thrift shop and am finding homes for the family photos. I’ll soon be sending a box of my Dad’s papers related to his service on the Ft Worth city council to the city archives. Out of my studio. Good. Preserved for posterity. Great.

I’ve made several trips so far.

I expect there’ll be more…

Sometimes you need major changes for your workspace, like putting up insulation, lighting or adding heat and air. But often it just requires a bit of a de-clutter or rearranging of furniture to make it more efficient. What are you focusing on this week? Post your progress in the Studio Makeover and De-Clutter Challenge by adding your link.

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19 Replies to “Been there, done that”

  1. I like the drop cloths, much better than insulation.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Yes, it really made a difference.

  2. I love the side garden. Your studio has developed well for year round usage.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Thanks, Lorelle. I’m really enjoying it.

  3. WOW. So much better already! You did all that this week??? Omygosh I need to get into gear over here!!! Jean, you are my inspiration.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Thanks Barbara. I didn’t do all of it in a week. The insulation, curtain and a/c were put in a while ago. I probably wasn’t clear. But if it inspires you…

    2. Jean Wilkey says:

      It wasn’t all done in a week. All of the first part of the post refers to what I’ve already done. Now I’m
      digging out from under the clutter and reorganizing. Hope it’s inspiring anyway…

  4. Great job lot of work, love that patio, I am sure pretty is on it’s way. I know we want pretty right away…but I am sure that you will get there. I am working on my home offfice and it is no where near as large as your studio but it still takes time to get where I want to be. But it will get there.

  5. Thanks for sharing your progress and photos.

  6. Wow Jean, I love what you have done! A “get up and do it” gal!! Very inspiring.

  7. I enjoyed your inspiring post. Yes, finding ways to reduce clutter and creative decorating can make a big difference in a work area. What a fantastic work you have done designing your studio. I love the inviting patio entrance and the canvas drop cloths. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Thanks Delymy. It’s still a work in progress but it’s getting there.

  8. I’m in love with your little garden/patio area. But I rather have a swing so sit in and read some books. 😉 I love what you did with the garage, and the drop cloth looks great.

    1. Jean Wilkey says:

      Thanks Keri. My neighbors have a swing and it DOES look so inviting. Maybe I’ll think about it.

  9. Nice to meet you! I love the patio and really appreciate this work in progress style of the post…

  10. I love love love the patio, it looks so inviting! Thanks for sharing your progress with us, Jean!

  11. Oh, that will be a great studio for you. Good work pays off. I am sure you will be very creative in your new studio.

  12. Love the pictures! My office now looks out to a deck and I find the view helps to inspire me! Great post!

  13. I love the DIY reno. I am in the process of doing the same with my business but we are doing the basement.

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