Painting the studio… finally

I think when most people looked at the garage space at the firehouse, they saw just that – a garage. It was a gloomy, sad cave. But when we walked in, we saw the potential for large windows, the HIGH ceilings, good HVAC and lots of boxes in the ceiling for new lights (I’ll be honest, Aaron really saw the last two.)

We saw our future studio.





This space just needed to be drenched in white…

To that end, we grabbed a friend who works at Porter Paints to come out and quote exactly what we needed to get this space super white. So when I say primer or paint, know that I mean a few specialty coatings from Porter, which we bought just after closing on the firehouse in anticipation of PAINTING!

Seriously every project (minus some “must do’s” like installing our new gas range so we can feed ourselves) was working up to this one: the one where everything would start to LOOK different. We were excited. The night before, held a kind of Christmas Eve-like anticipation.

Day one of primer went well, which only heightened our anticipation for day two and a real top coat. Aaron sprayed it on. Thought it looked great and headed upstairs to shower. When he returned panic set in. The paint wasn’t drying… at all. It was still completely wet to the touch… and it was sagging in places… literally melting off the wall.



By the time I arrived home from work. We knew we were in trouble. It just kept getting worse, which prompted a frantic call to Porter Paints friend to ask “What’s wrong with this stuff!?!” His first question, “Isn’t it really humid in St. Louis right now?”

Oh… you mean like “has it been raining for days?” and “aren’t the furnaces off in the studio thereby rendering our glazed brick-walled room free to ANY kind of temperature or humidity control?”

Umm… F$%K


Humidity, it turns out, is incredibly important when it comes to applying specialty coatings. So is the thickness of the coat of coating… err paint. We’re pretty sure both we’re working against us thanks to Aaron’s novice paint sprayer skills and an effort to cover the walls in a single coat.

Porter Paints friend suggested using a roller to smooth out the drips, but we knew that would be very, very obvious – maybe worse than the drips. So that night we did what anyone would do when hours of work seem for naught and hundreds of dollars of paint are seeping off the walls. We took full advantage of #4.

In the morning, I came up with a paint drip mitigation strategy. The drips were most visible in the mortar lines, but a swipe with a very small brush would clean that up. Thanks every dentist ever for giving us toothbrushes that are way too small for an adult mouth. They really came in handy.


A little toothbrush magic and ANOTHER coat of paint (That’s 15 gallons of primer and 30 gallons of top coat for anyone keeping score) and we had our white walls.

We were smarter with the floors. We waited and when the humidity wasn’t right, we pushed off painting (and held up this post so you could get the full effect). Two flawless coats on the floor later and here’s where we stand: A glorious, pristine white box.





And to save you from scrolling, here are some side-by-side comparisons.



Drink it in! It always goes down smooth.

Ok, back to reality. There’s a bit more painting to be done (looking at you stairwell and railings) and a bit more construction before we can call this space usable. But this was a huge leap forward from sad cave to modern photography studio. Maybe you’re starting to see what we saw on the first walk through?

Oh and that wood box? Yeah, I’ll tell you about that next time.

34 thoughts on “Painting the studio… finally

  1. Amazing. I cannot think of a more fitting word to describe that transformation. I just found your site the other day and look forward to watching your progress in the firehouse. I am so jealous that you have an entire firehouse to play in. I have always wanted to transform a building designed for another purpose into a home. Plus, firemen’s poles are fun. (no pun intended. 😉

    • Thanks, Jessica, and welcome! Ha! We have yet to go down the pole. It needs a little fortification (it’s held to the top bracket with twisted electrical wire) and it hasn’t been at the top of our list. I’m sure that will change once we get the studio done.

    • The railing is a tannish color. It’s definitely going white. But we do have a shot of color in mind for another area…

  2. HOLY COW it looks amazing! I would be having serious panic attacks about the paint issue you guys had. In fact, I’m still a little shaky from reading this post. Or perhaps that’s due to the dt. coke I had for breakfast. Either way, great work!!!

  3. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Niiiiccccccccccccceeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! At least the lesson learned made for a great story to post! Can’t wait to see pop of color on the wood floor to ceiling box unpainted part that looks like it’s covering up some sort of duct work? Loving it so far!

    • Good eye. It’s covering up the furnaces and generally making the space feel like finished living space 😉

  4. Oh my goodness! Did I see this room in a willy wonka movie! Wonderful dreamy space of endless possibilities! You kids have earned your due diligence badge!!

  5. I was anticipating this post for a while!! Love love love the way it looks. I can’t hardly believe how different it looks. Hard work pays off!! Great work you guys! Can’t wait to see the next phase…..

    • Thanks, Erin! It took awhile to choose pictures for the post because we kept marveling at how different it looks.

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