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Dawn's Art Studio

One of the most common reasons people renovate their homes is a change in their lifestyle -- an upcoming wedding, a new baby, or grown children moving away. In Dawn's case it was the latter and she was finally ready to repurpose her daughter's old bedroom! An artist, Dawn had always dreamed of having a proper art studio, but for years had to settle for doing her watercolour paintings in the basement. Not exactly an inspiring space! Meanwhile the unused bedroom on the top floor of the house had great windows and lots of natural light -- the perfect spot for Mom to have her own artist's retreat.

Since this room was going to be so specifically task-oriented, I had to carefully take into consideration what needs it had to serve when designing the plan. Lighting would be key, as would the wall colours and much-needed storage for all the art materials. I decided to start first with the palette and went with the least intrusive colour possible. I chose a creamy shade of white that would not be too harsh on the eyes, and used it on all the walls and cabinetry. This would allow Dawn to see the colours of her painting in their truest form, without the influence of other hues from the walls and other surfaces. It also would keep the focus in the space right where it should be -- on the paintings.

Storage for all the paints, brushes and canvases was also an important consideration, so I began by having a built-in desk and shelves placed right under the window. We hinged the top of the desk so it could be raised up when Dawn was working. The shelves below and on either side of the desk are made to store near-at-hand everything she'd need for her work. The upper cabinets were built open for quick access, while the lower ones were given doors to hide all the clutter. The shelves are adjustable so Dawn can move them around to suit her needs as they change.

Since this area would be where most of the painting gets done, it also became the focus for the lighting in the room. We flanked the large window with medium-sized wall sconces. Throughout the space I introduced a mixture of incandescent and halogen lights, which, when mixed with natural light, would provide Dawn with the truest lighting possible.

Although the main work area was the focus, I didn't want this space to be strictly utilitarian. After all, it needed to be somewhat inspirational too! An old office desk that my client had owned for years was brought back to life with a new coat of white paint. And a favourite old chaise lounge was reupholstered in a rich plum-coloured fabric. The final touch in the room was a spot for our artist to display her favourite pieces. I sectioned off an area of one wall and hung pieces of flatstock across in three rows. Using drapery clips, Dawn can now hang her work to dry and also have it proudly on display!

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