Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Art Shed: Part 1

I have spent several weeks (actually months) working with my dear friend, Judith making her shed into an art studio, or as we refer to it, her "Art Shed". 

We are excited about the transformation and want to share it with you. Because it involved numerous steps to get to the "big reveal," we'll break it into two parts for you to see. It is quite amazing what can be done to a shed with just a little bit of time, energy, creativity, and a minimum investment of money.

Here is what we started with. These are photos of the exterior of the shed which Judith had used for storage for several years.

The exterior side view

The front doors
  The floors were plywood. There was some mold in one area which we easily remedied with applications of Clorax.

To begin the makeover, insulation was added between the studs to the shed walls and ceiling.

The insulation made a huge difference
to the inside temperature.

We considered several different options to cover the walls...sheetrock, plywood, beadboard, recycled barnwood, paneling, old doors, etc. We had to take into consideration the cost, the application, the look, as well as Judith's sensitivity to smells and chemicals.
  I brought samples of several different options from home.
Judith finally decided her preference was to cover the walls with a product called Waferboard. The 4' x 8' sheets cost only $11.78 each. She liked the texture as well as the cost and the ease of putting it up. The lumber yard would cut the sheets to the 75" overall height we needed and deliver them for a small fee. The shed measured approximately 10' by 12', so we would need eleven sheets. We knew some cutting and fitting would be involved (as well as help from Judith's husband, Larry). We would also be thrifty by using those 21" pieces that the lumber yard had trimmed off.

Before we started putting the waferboard on the walls, we took a creative approach to the ceiling. We covered it with Painter's Dropcloths purchased at Sherwin Williams. We purchased two packages of the 6 oz. dropcloths that each measured 9' x 12'. We put them in the washing machine separately and laundered them with detergent on the warm setting. We then put them in the dryer too...they did shrink a little.  Prepare to empty your lint trap several times. They produce a lot of lint!!!  

I feel that laundering is an important step when working with dropcloths. Otherwise they do have quite an odor. Also, remember these are not perfect. You'll notice flaws in the fabric and stitching. However, we liked the look.

Getting these huge sheets onto the ceiling was a challenge. I had a tall ladder in the center and one stepstool on either side. I moved across the room back and forth, partially holding up the fabric with my head, stapling as I went. It was not easy and I can not exactly tell you how to do it...if you try this, you will just need to figure out what works best for you. Regardless of all the sweat and anxiety (did I mention that it was a hot day and I am still prone to having HOT FLASHES), the ceiling turned out quite well.
The ceiling almost looks like a mattress. I felt like that was what was on top of me while I was stapling!

After admiring how well the ceiling turned out, it was time to move on to the walls. I screwed the sheets of waferboard to the wall studs with deck screws. I kept two drills handy, one to make the pilot hole, and one to screw. I started in the center of each wall, applying a full 4' sheet, lining up on the center of the wall studs. The other pieces then had to be cut down, centering them on the wall studs as well. It became a group effort. Judith and I measured, her husband then trimmed the pieces, and then I "screwed" them to the wall. Thank goodness for two drills so I didn't have to keep changing the bits!

The pieces of blue tape mark the center of the wall studs for the screw placement.

After the waferboard sheets were all in place, we applied caulk where needed to fill in any gaps (using a paintable caulk) and then I applied two coats of primer to the walls and floors. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer. It is mold and mildew resistant, goes on thick and has a stain blocker in it. It worked well for covering the Waferboard. Primer doesn't make for exciting pictures, so I won't even show you.

Then came the fun part. Judith chose to have the wall color a neutral, almost matching the ceiling. Her artwork is to be the focus of the room, so we needed a calm background. We used two coats of Sherwin Williams, Harmony paint, Kestrel White, in a flat finish. 
Sherwin Williams Harmony paint is Zero VOC. The neutral background will let the artwork be the focus.

Then we got a little crazy with the floor. Judith had left over paint in almost every color.
I started out with a coat of red.

The red on the floor was just the first of many coats.

The floor took several more steps. On top of the red, we brushed green and then yellow paint in random areas, not completely covering the floor. The last color applied was blue. I used a really wide brush and tried to create the look of floor boards, letting some of the other colors show through in places.
The effect of all the paint layers is a time-worn distressed look. It is hard to tell that it is sheets of plywood, not floorboards.

Finally, after all those layers, a coat of Polyurethane was applied. This will protect the floor paint as well as making it easier to sweep.

Next came the addition of trim. We used 3 1/4" MDF baseboard for all the areas. It came pre-primed and we painted it the same color as the walls. We applied it as baseboard
along the edge of the floor, around the windows and on top of the Waferboard walls.

This window trim is designed to match the trim on the outside of the shed.

Well, we are just about ready for the really fun part...putting all of Judith's art and furniture into the "Art Shed."  Check out the next post (coming soon) to see the big reveal.


1 comment:

  1. I had a chance to see this beautiful little "shed" / retreat space just yesterday; SO beautiful and the perfect combination of hideaway and artist sanctuary; or maybe even tea room. Every artist longs for a space like this.