Studio renovation tour

When we purchased our house, it came with a little bonus structure in the backyard. As someone who has always lusted after the “she-shed” detached retreats on Pinterest, with all of their tiny charm and multi-purpose usage, I could not be more thrilled with the opportunities held within the walls of the little studio that came with our Art District home. For the first few years that we lived here, the little studio was occupied by our dear friend Teddy, who took excellent care of it and was the perfect addition to our family and “commune.” However, when Teddy decided to take the next step in his life, which meant leaving Denver, we decided that we could not even imagine replacing him and would not be searching for a new tenant. Instead, my backyard studio dreams began to come to life!

Because Teddy took such good care of the place, there weren’t a whole lot of repairs to be made, other than the patching of a ceiling that had suffered from a leaky roof. Also, we decided that the bedroom area would benefit from a few extra feet of space by removing the small wall that served as a tiny closet. These seemed like small tasks, so I decided to forego a contractor and take care of these tasks myself with the renovation. I will spare you the gorey details, but I will say that the ceiling-patching and closet-demolition (and subsequent drywalling) were no small tasks, and I see why someone might choose to leave this work to an expert. Let’s just say these two add-ons ended up being, by far, the biggest part of the entire overall project, and did not turn out the way I hoped they would — at all — but they did get completed and were a total learning experience for me in home repair/renovation.


In the thick of the demolition

After the closet/ceiling portion, the rest of the renovation was really the fun part. I chose some paint colors that are completely different than anything we have in our main house, but that I thought were fun and would inspire some creativity. I ended up absolutely loving the paint colors when finished — a soft grey that contrasts well with the bright white trim and baseboards, and a long, north-facing accent well in teal blue.


Gizmo assisted with the color selection

One of my biggest goals for the studio was to create a large workspace that would provide ample storage, as well as allow for a comfortable area in which to complete a wide variety of projects. Ideally, I wanted a place where I could work on my laptop or sewing machine, while Anthony had plenty of space to also work on his paintings. I planned to use an entire wall of the studio’s main living area, but also wanted to make sure it didn’t overpower the small space. Knowing that our budget was somewhat limited, I wanted to reuse as many of our existing items as possible, and rediscovered some comfortable bar stools that we had used at a breakfast bar in a previous apartment. Since I’m used to a convertible/standing desk at work, I thought a bar-height workstation would be the perfect use of the space.

In search of the easiest, most affordable way to make this happen, I got a little creative in my purchases, and found myself at a couple of nearby construction warehouses for supplies. At the local “ReStore” I found the motherlode of cheap cabinets, and came home with the perfect three for my setup. They weren’t perfect to begin with, and got a little banged up on the way home, but they were solid, cleaned up nicely, and would definitely do the job.

I ended up painting all of the cabinets and chairs the same color as the grey walls, in order to achieve the look of built-in cabinets, and covered the chair seats with the most perfect print from the fabric store around the corner from us. On top of the cabinets, I attached a 10 ft slab of countertop that I got for a killer deal at a different construction warehouse in town.

When all was said and done, the work station turned out pretty much exactly how I wanted it to, complete with a couple accessory items and a collection of favorite art pieces.


Art from left to right: One of my favorite paintings from Anthony, a print from a local artist, and my own digital representation of Miss Olive.

As for the other parts of the studio makeover, they came together with the help of a few different shopping trips. Although simple, I think that, along with the paint refresh, the space ended up looking completely different when all was said and done.


I’ve already had a lot of fun enjoying this little backyard retreat and harnessing the creative vibes while I work at the desk, and we can’t wait to host our first visitors!