New desk and new(ish) conference table

I’ve hesitated to call the studio completely done because we’ve been reserving a space in the rear for a conference/work table. Exhibit A


We’ve even been hoarding a table base for it since late 2014. (Should I be embarrassed by that??) But as you probably know, 2015 didn’t leave much time for extra projects.

We can cross this need off the list thanks to Ikea, which opened just down the street from us last autumn. We used our first free weekend from weddings to check it out and walked out spending just over $100, which is a massive feat and probably deserving of some sort of medal. The trip reminded us that Ikea is offering sit/stand desks, and after mulling over it all night I told Aaron just to go get one. So the second trip to Ikea was not as easy on the wallet, but it resulted in this new set up.


Ikea has a cool powered base for around $400, but we opted for the cheaper, man-powered Bekant frame that came in at just $119. After installing a white top, some cable organizers and a felt half wall that hides some of the mess, Aaron was up and running (standing?) with a new office.


So far we’re really happy with the quality of the desk, and he has yet to lower it to a seated position. This may be because I stole his desk chair… but to be fair I’m rarely in the studio during normal business hours so he could take it back anytime he wanted.

That left us with a spare table. (Here’s a tip: if you need a big desk just buy a table. It’s usually cheaper than an oversized desk.) And we had the perfect spot for it.


Ultimately, Aaron will probably still build something to sit on the other table base, but for now this works great. It also makes this area look less like a chair graveyard. Those beauties are in a holding pattern and destined for the dining room.



We are dangerously close to calling this space finished! According to the list, we only have a few items left:

  • Build a cool light fixture to hang over the conference table <– Probably will get scratched because we don’t really need more light here
  • Build a new front door <– We need a workshop for this. Any guesses as to what is at the VERY TOP of the list for this year?
  • Design and build a screen door for the garage door <– Interesting concept…. I would give this a 5% chance of actually happening


LED lighting – One year later

It’s been almost a year since we did some math and bit the bullet to light the studio with LEDs. Aesthetics were a driving factor, but the potential savings ultimately pushed us over the edge.


The savings can only be realized if all of the LEDs live up to their guarantee to work longer than their incandescent counterparts. (More on that math here) I’m happy to report that all 50 bulbs in the studio are going strong. If our math is right (which I assume it is because Aaron did it) we should start seeing an ROI on our investment of the bulbs before the end of this year!



We’re so in love with LEDs that we even used them outside. Those have been in service almost as long as the ones in the studio and they’re still going strong even after the polar vortex.

So far, we’re giving LightKiwi LEDs a huge thumbs up!¬†(They also make Cree bulbs, which you may have seen advertisements for.¬†Does anyone else laugh out loud at those commercials or is that just me?)

A little more white paint

We painted three spaces before Alive Magazine came to shoot the firehouse. Even though we’ve already talked about the bedroom and hall (neither of which made it into the magazine), one other space was MUCH more important to get done. Can you tell which one?


How about now?


How about now?


The furnace room FINALLY got a little camouflage in the form of bright white paint.


Even though the structure has been in place for nearly a year, we’ve been mired in indecision regarding the finish. Our original plan to cover it in end cut wood looked really tedious and expensive when we finally did the math. So the furnace room has sat naked, serving as a constant reminder that even though we’ve been using the studio it’s not “done.” The magazine shoot was a good kick in the pants to just paint it already and let it disappear, which it does beautifully.





We also added a temporary door. This is definitely phase 1. Some sort of wood treatment and a proper door are still on the (giant) list.





For now, I’m loving that I can shoot the studio from any angle without the distraction of unfinished plywood. Is anyone surprised that our resolution for something is to paint it white? I’m not. What’s your solution for eyesores or unfinished spaces in your home?

Featured in Alive Magazine

The magazine feature that amped us up to paint the master bedroom and hall is now up on Alive Magazine! Hop over to their site to see a few sweet shots of our space (and a picture of us! Gasp!) and read about some fellow St Louis homeowners transforming their own homes. We’re crushing on Charlie Smith’s Mid Century gem. Do you think he’ll let us come over for a tour seeing as we were published in the same article, effectively making us BFFs?


Photo: Jennifer Silverberg published in Alive Magazine

Even though the freshly painted bedroom didn’t make the cut, we’re still happy to see the firehouse get a little local love! The print issue should hit stands any day. Autographs anyone?

Hanging canvas – in which we finally have art on the walls of our studio

When we originally designed the studio, we knew we needed lots of room for art. This is kind of a challenge in a wide open area like a former firetruck garage, so we decided to take advantage of our vertical space. Our original intent was to put a floating gallery between Aaron’s desk platform and the viewing room.


Here’s an incredibly crude Photoshop rendition. The blue lines represent a tension system that would stretch from floor to ceiling and allow us to hang images. Once the platform and room were up we started to realize that things were going to feel really cramped.


We also needed a solution to hide the printer and my desk (Apparently, you can put Heather in a corner.) Ideas abounded, but we were leaning toward some sort of wood screen. Drawn in (very poorly) in the image above. Yep, the brown and white stripes near the back of the room = screen.

After nixing the center gallery we realized that the canvas prints would serve as the perfect screen solution. Aaron got to work installing the system. This involved drilling a hole in the ceiling for a toggle bolt and installing the base plate.



The floor got a similar treatment: hole, screw, plate.





The wire is trimmed to length and tension is added with a spring. Hooks are slipped on to hold the prints.



So this where we landed – prints as the screen and a few bonus prints hung near the stairwell, but I’ll get to that. First let’s drool over the pieces that went up on the wall.



Hello gorgeous images, where have you been hiding all this time? Oh? What’s that? On the computer? That’s right.


Hopefully this gives you a sense of the gallery feel that we’re after. These pictures make it look a touch stark, but it has a nice effect in person.




Here you can see the gallery system at work near the stairwell. We wanted to add one more print to each stack, but we ran out of ink and time… and suddenly this looked like the perfect amount for now.



The gallery system turned screen works perfectly… now if only the DIY elves would come out and paint that furnace room already…



Yay for art! It really pushed the space from “I can see where you’re going, but this is pretty bare” to “Ooooh! It’s a photography studio. I get it.”