Studio Makeover: Before & During


So guys, I promised you a studio tour and I’m going to give it to you. But first, I’m going to walk you through the painstaking before shots just because I believe in dragging things out. Ask all my friends and they’ll tell you I drag out stories like nobody’s business and get ridiculously sidetracked, hence why it’s taken me THIS long to get you a before and after of my studio, which I’ve admittedly been hinting at for months. My bad! So here’s a look at the space before and during the makeover with some background on the room, but first here’s a peek at the inspiration:

moodboard studio 1 So my studio space (where I blog, work, run workshops, meet clients, shoot, hide from my three-year-old, wait, what?) is located on the third floor of my home. It is one big open space with a 4m wide window and skylight which just flood the space with natural light. It’s a dream to shoot in for this reason, so I use it a lot for photography, but it’s basically just a really happy space to be, even in the dead of the winter.

When deciding what to do with the floorplan, one major aspect had to be considered:


The space needed to be flexible enough to accommodate the various activities that would be going on up here – workshops, product shoots, editorial productions, etc. – but still be ‘put together’ enough to be an inspiring space to work when it’s just me. All furniture and accessories should be easily moveable so that the space would remain versatile and multifunctional. So basically, I should be able to empty out the room completely in 30mins and then be able to easily put it back together again and for it to still look nice.

I wanted to space to be calm and bright. Comfortable for working in but inspiring enough to boost creativity. Lots of white space to reflect light with enough visual inspiration. Collected but clean and not too ‘full’. That large image in the moodboard of an eclectic workspace really inspired me but there’s a little too much going on, so I wanted my studio to be a bit cleaner than this but similar in terms of look and feel. It was a real balancing act – striking harmony between decoration and function/versatility.

Here’s how it looked when we bought the house just over a year ago – please bear with me on these ‘before’ shots – most of them were taken in the evening after work had been done on my iPhone, so they are a bit dark, grainy and wonky:

studio before 1

studio before 2

studio before 4

So basically, as you can see, the space had lots of potential and was really quite big but that ugly, orange vinyl was doing it no favours at all, making it look so much smaller than it is and well, gross. That vinyl? It was the first thing to go. Out of the window.

On our to-do list:

> Paint walls, wooden edging and window frames

> Remove vinyle floors and replace with wooden floorboards

> Paint radiator pipes

> Strip wallpaper on the stairwell and paint

> Strip the paint of the ceiling beams

> Sand and paint the original wooden floors on the elevation and build a new step

Doesn’t sound like a lot but it sure feels like a lot when you’re living in it! Painting walls and removing the vinyl floors were the easy bit, plus we had help from friends with this.

studio during 2.1

studio during 1

This is where all three of us slept for the first 3 months we lived in this house, and where most of the contents of our home resided with us. My desk was in here too and it was where where Lola would play while the rest of the house was being worked on. Good Lord, am I glad those days are over.

Things stayed like the pics above while we got Lola’s bedroom and our bedroom painted and liveable. Mentally add in our beds, a desk, three suitcases {which we were living out of} a bunch of random furniture and some random mismatched rugs and you get the idea of what it really looked like.

Just when we were up to our eyeballs in renovating and didn’t think we could look at a paint tin {least of all eachother} without contemplating suicide, the angles sent a little miracle. My amazing friend Hedda, an interior designer who overhauls houses on a regular basis and is very familiar with what it’s like to live in a renovation, gave us an early wedding present: two burly workers for two days at our house to do absolutely anything we wanted. So we rushed out and bought new wooden floorboards and supplies and had them do the work that was threatening a wedding cancellation.

studio during 3

studio during 4

We had them strip all of the wooden ceiling beams – a job we were dreading and for good reason, it took two able-bodied men an entire day {08:00 – 19:00} to strip back the paint of those beams. I considered having the beams painted afresh but then saw them revealed and knowing we would have white doors, decided I liked the contrast between white and wood. Plus there was so much else they could be doing, such as getting some new floors laid.

studio during 5

studio during 6

Once the floors were in I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. It looks like a different space up here all of a sudden, so fresh and light.

studio during 7

The guys painted the floors and primed all of the window frames, and when they were finished they built us some shelves in our kitchen pantry. All in TWO days! We were so amazed at the speed at which they were working and received at the results, we hired them for an extra day and got them to sand and paint our bedroom window frames and prep and prime the bedroom floors. They really helped to take the edge off and gave us the motivation to get stuck into other smaller jobs and finishing off the bedroom.

So that’s pretty much the space. Not the most visually inspiring post, I know, but the next one will be better with the full before and after tour.

Back soon!

Holly x

Image credits: Moodboard // (clockwise from left to right) 1. Photography / Tigs Macallan via 91 Magazine 2. Puur Anders 3. IUMI Steckdesign 4. Photography / Heidi Lerkenfeldt for Elle Decor UK; 5. Styling / Pella Hedeby and Marie Ramse, Photography / Kristofer Johnsson; all other images, Holly Marder (iPhone)

2 Responses to “Studio Makeover: Before & During”

  1. Peachygoods says:

    Oh you made me sooo curious! I can’t wait to see it all finished and filled with furniture. I like your ‘streched-out-story-telling’. Looks pretty amazing already!

  2. karen Farber says:

    Love how it turned out!! It has a much more fresh and open feel now! Also, light wood and white is my favorite combination for interiors

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