Thursday, September 27, 2018

New Studio for Nessy Press!

I am so excited to finally share that I have a new studio space for my printmaking! We started this basement remodeling project with our contractor back in May and it has been a very long road.  I have been incommunicado for six months because I have been completely consumed by this project.  Below you can see a few photos of the front and back rooms.

You may or may not be able to tell that this room used to be a garage.  The previous owners of our house had converted the garage by adding a subfloor and a door and windows where the garage door once was (see above).

The whole project started because I wanted to do two things: 1) get new flooring and 2) paint the walls.  As you can see in the photo below we had old, cracked linoleum tile that we replaced with luxury vinyl tile.  I spent A LOT of time researching flooring options and I finally decided to go with a waterproof luxury vinyl tile by AquaLok flooring in the color "Longhouse."  We bought our flooring from ProSource and had a great experience.

It is amazing what new flooring can do for a room!

A very close second was COREtec Plus's "Walden Ash" shown in the middle below.  I fretted A LOT about this choice.

The second thing I wanted besides the flooring was to paint the walls.  A neighbor of our who lives down the street is a mason and he very kindly came over one day and I asked him what product I could use to paint our crumbling stucco walls.  He told us we should NEVER paint the walls because they needed to breathe and that it would be better to build walls in front of them.  So the scope of the project was greatly expanded to included new walls.  Below you can see a before and after of our old and new walls plus some process shots.

The other major change to the basement besides flooring and walls was that we added a closet and cabinets.  When the contractor first came to give me an estimate he suggested that we add a closet on the right-hand side to match the jut-out on the left side so that we could then put a cabinet between the two.  I loved this idea and also thought we could add shelving that matches the rest of the house.  Again, I spent A LOT of time looking at cabinets and ended up going with Martha Stewart cabinets from Home Depot.  As an extra splurge we added a soapstone countertop.  We hope to one day redo our kitchen and thought this would be a good way to test soapstone to see if we liked it.  If you are interested in soapstone I highly recommend The Stone Studio.  They had us out to their studio and we got to see their amazing house and soapstone kitchen countertops.  

I used to have pants that had sayings sewn into the seams and one of the sayings was "Enjoy the Rough Road."  I should have tattooed that saying to my eyelids so I could see it every day of this project. This project stressed me to my limits.  Every single day the contractors were here I was greeted with fairly large errors that were time-consuming to fix.  Ceilings were painted before scraping loose paint, walls were built before fixing the plumbing, framing was built crooked and too short to accommodate cabinets, floor moulding was installed broken and with blunt cuts instead of miter cuts, shelves were hung too low but were glued to the wall...the list could go on and on.

And what does a people-pleasing perfectionist girl do when she walks into the room and sees a glaring problem?  She freaks out on the inside and it puts her in a very tight spot.  She is squeezed between wanting to appear "nice" and her own needs of wanting things done properly.  Anger and self-doubt dance a jig round and round the mind.  It truly is a very tough spot and was excruciating.

In the beginning of the project the best I could do was send stern emails listing the issues one after the other.  Midway through I had improved enough to see a problem and gently point it out the next day. But the by the final day of the project I had improved my skills.  I came down the stairs expecting to have a last look around with them.  Instead they were packing their things and were clearly hoping not to see me before they left.  I looked down and saw the final piece of moulding installed broken and gloppily painted.  In real time I looked over and said, "Look at this!  This looks shitty!" The poor kid just looked at me in silence.  He knew it looked terrible but didn't know what to say or do.  He finally blurted out, "Email the boss." And with that they took their leave.

“Everyone is my teacher. Some I seek. Some I subconsciously attract. Often I learn simply by observing others. Some may be completely unaware that I’m learning from them, yet I bow deeply in gratitude.”  ― Eric Allen

I wasn't sure I wanted to get into all of this when I started writing this post.  But somehow it seemed false to be all "rainbows and butterflies" about it.  The truth is life has a way of giving you exactly what you need.  And apparently I needed a new studio and a new voice.  I just hope I get good use out of both.

"I need to be startlingly clear. This thing of finding your authentic voice, expressing your blessed weirdness and revealing your soul isn't an elegant process. You don't do it to be cool... It's only real when it is ruthless, relentless and inevitable. But it is also a matter of personal and collective survival. Yes, it's that important. You are that critical." ― Jacob Nordby