SHANNON Z PHOTOGRAPHY
The one month transformation
A LABOR OF LOVE
Long and short - I used to have a basement studio - I moved - I wanted to quit studio work - changed my mind - then did this.
Because my partner in life is an accountant, and I'm a chaotic mess of creative hurricanes, I had to put together a plan and a budget. I drew a picture on grid paper, mapping out the studio and then made a list of things I figured I'd need, and how much it all cost. Of course - I WAY underestimated the cost. But still, $6000 was my absolute upper limit, and if I couldn't do it for less, then it simply wasn't happening this year. So I budgeted somewhere around (ahem) $2500, and came in somewhere around (but not more) than $6000. I am still making purchases, so I can't really finalize the number. Yet.
I visited a friends house over the holidays and discovered this amazing and wonderous thing called metallic epoxy. I had to have it, and so that's where the budget thing gets crazy. There are definitely cheaper options for epoxy flooring, but if I'm having a half-finished basement studio - I'm having wow-worthy flooring.
I started by renting a floor sander. IT SUCKED. It was missing a disc, and it barely took the paint off the floor. So took that back (still had to pay for it!! UGH) and rented a diamond blade concrete prep tool. This thing LITERALLY weighed as much as me, but a few bruises and rubbery arms later, I got it under control and made a gigantic muddy mess of my basement floor.
After grinding, hosing, wet-vac-ing, power washing, and wet-vac-ing again, the floor was prepped and ready for the first layer of epoxy primer. I needed help with this part - it's a time-sensitive process, requiring two people. My husband helped out, then the next day, we put the top layer of the metallic epoxy. I have silver glitter permanently imbedded in my lungs and on every storage bin in my basement, BUT the floors are pretty!!
I was going for an industrial look. Pinterest inspired so much of what I ended up with, and was a great resource for ideas. I hired a painter to spray the ceiling black. It does make it darker, but I didn't loose any height, which was important to me. I also hired an electrician to come in and rewire the current lighting, and add new lighting. As for the light fixtures, with the exception of one - I made the rest. This was so much fun. I watched a ton of youtube videos, and did a lot of googling, plus consulting with the electrician. Now I'm a professional electrician. (Not at all). I purchased a few different chandeliers from second-hand shops for both the fixtures and the actual light bulb sockets. A couple cans of Rustoleum Rubbed Oil Bronze metallic paint, and VOILA, I had some kick ass lights. One of them, I went as far as gutting out a few old cameras, running the sockets through the lens hole, and fixing them to the chandelier.
Another pinsperation was the picture slide lamp. I found the materials on-line and at second hand shops, and my daughter helped me piece it together. Another labor of love.
The droopy lights in the stairwell and through-out my studio are also made by me, and were really quite simple. I just needed to pay a crap-ton of money for the nylon wrapped wire, pretty sockets and vintage bulbs I wanted. Once installed - I have to admit - I don't like the vintage bulbs. They're too yellow for my taste so I'm going to have to switch them out.
Next or during - it's all really a blur at this point - I framed the walls. Yes. I framed the walls. I will NOT be doing that as a profession, or ever again, actually. Because it requires absolute precision and, well - let's just say I had to heavily sand one of the doors so that it would fit in the door frame. Among other "corrective" measures, which my husband has taken a vow of secrecy to. He helped put up the OSB board, the panelling and the AWESOME FREE barn wood wall. Thanks to our dear friends, the Nelsons.
The doors were already in the house when we bought it - and I really wanted to save money and just paint them. I'm so glad I did, because the end result far surpassed my vision, and I'm in love with them!
The high sofa table - also a hand-made item using left over 2x4's and barn wood. The coffee table was sort of a flop. I mean, it's neat, but it didn't really turn out how I thought. I made the entire thing, and spent a lot of money on the epoxy top - so it stays until I say otherwise.
The photo gallery - this was a suggestion from a friend, and it didn't come to me until literally two days ago how I was going to execute it. So yesterday, I made 6 photo frames, stained them, and made a quick trip to Lowes for the supplies to suspend them in my curved entry way. I love the result and can't wait to add more!!
Cosmetically, I painted the cement walls with special paint that fills the holes, and hung thick curtain on spray-painted plastic pipes around the sump pump and electrical box, and then painting of the stairs, and stairwell.
There are a few things yet to come - shaggy area rugs, some inspirational words for the stair-well, and my back-drop system (what you see is not what you get). I think that's everything!!
Now - I just need to get clients into the studio!! 🙂