Everyone deserves a space to create in. A place to call their own. A place to be creative. A place to foster a spirit and a positive energy that inspires us, encourages us, and excites us. Over the years I have had sudo-creative spaces, a building downtown, an office at the house, and its current home in an old coal house that was built by my great grandparents down on our farm. Over the coming months I will finally be creating a dedicated space to work and create in. The space is currently used for storage but will soon have shiplap walls, a boatload of windows, stained concrete floors, and a yet-to-be-determined ceiling and filled with all of my collections of antiques, family pieces, photography props, and pieces of art made by friends. Packing in my current office has started, a yard sale is coming, and construction will soon begin.
Before that I wanted to share a tour of my current coal house space…which is where I do the bulk of my shooting. The spaces is constantly evolving and is more of a set space than it is a space I actually use for anything.
The coal house was originally my playhouse as kid. It had dark walls, no light, no windows, a coal stained floor, and a whole lotta wasps. Over the years I begged for electric and lights to be added, I scrubbed the floors and I played in it every summer. When I was in high school a friend let me borrow her copy of Seasons at Seven Gates Farm and I was totally smitten by the wash house in the book. I instantly knew I had to have a space like that, and that my coal house would become just that. After endlessly power washing the floors and walls I was able to get rid of the years of dirt and coal dust. I white washed the old wooden walls. Because the walls were so dry and old they immediately soaked up the paint and gave the perfect white washed look. The floors are still an issue because of the dust that remains. I will often times add a fresh coat of paint before shooting the space for magazines or the website. When I first did the space I tented the ceiling with yards of green fabric to give a more shabby chic look, I never really liked the look because it sucked all the light from the space.
Last year before shooting a set of photos for Where Women COOK I redid the ceiling with white fabric and have never looked back. The space is now filled with a mix of antique pieces from my family and pieces I’ve found at local auctions and estate sales, along with shelves from IKEA.
The new space will be a larger version of the coal house, one that will hopefully be more permanent and not constantly in influx with photos and such. The coal house will remain as a photo area, and perhaps a potting shed for the day I will actually have a garden again.
My Favorite Sources
The coal house is filled with pieces I’ve collected over the years. For antiques I rely on family pieces and hunting at local estate sales, yard sales, and flea markets. The green Hoosier cabinet base was a $40 score last summer at a yard sale in the neighboring town. The wooden boot rack was a gift from Jennifer Lanne. Her paintings are typically hanging in the space too. The antique dress is probably my favorite piece in the building. It was my grandmothers. I found it in the garage and knew I had to find a way to use it. The cross that hangs on it was a gift from Laurie Meseroll. Some of my favorite sources for new things are Woolrich, Schoolhouse Electric, and Makers Market. Yes, the galvanized shelves are from IKEA.
If you like the style of my studio and would like to checkout some of the makers included in these photos browse this list:
Rogers Made (I get their sodas at Cracker Barrel)