2020 was a year unlike any other. It brought, and still continues to bring challenges. It’s forced me to reevaluate whatI hold important in life. My relationships. My own mental state… But also my business.
Sept 2019 I moved into a new home. It’s a fixer upper, but had so much potential – the biggest being a detached double car garage at the back of the property. When I looked at the house I saw that and immediately envisioned a studio and I knew it was the home for me.
If it wasn’t for coronavirus and the lockdown… it would still be a garage looking like this.
I was lucky that when corona hit and we were in the first lockdown, I was off my regular full time employment job, and my dad was also off from his job. Which happened to be a contractor. See where I’m going with this? It was like it was meant to be! So the night of the lockdown orders I was stress cleaning and decided to clear out the garage.
A week later Daddy said “Lets get started on the garage since we are both off of work”. After a big ol happy dance and squeal (I won’t burn your eyes by sharing video of that… you’re welcome), we got to work. After the garage was cleared out of everything we wouldn’t need, it was time to build up some floors! We wanted to make sure that the floor was high enough off the floor that snow and rain and such wouldn’t be able to get in. So we curb side ordered the lumber and insulation and off we went!
We made sure that the floor was insulated with some pretty beefy insulation. Energy efficiency for one, but also the studio sometimes has little babies and parents sitting on the floor, and we don’t want their tushies getting cold!!
In addition to building up the floor and insulating, we had to also weather proof the face of the floor. Cinder blocks, tar, more insulation… and we were good to go! You can tell by the photos the next thing that came was…. WALLS!!
The original building was not built square. Believe it or not one of the walls was out by almost a foot! and the other way almost half a foot, so we had to figure out what square was, and frame in the room properly. That was a treat!! One batch of wood we got was absolutely AWFUL. Full of knots, and so twisted. But I got to learn how to twist the wood to make a straight stud. Yay for learning new skills! We also had to add a few beams in the ceiling since they weren’t spaced properly because of the room not being square.
I also got some bigger, more beautiful windows so we framed those in too. I was so anxious to get those windows in and get the big beautiful light!!
Before we get to windows… We had to dig a trench. Not the funnest thing I have ever done, but it was a great workout. We wanted to run the gas line (which was stolen when I moved in…), a proper electrical line, and a few other blank lines for future water and internet if we chose to, or the next owner chooses to.
Next was the phase that made me go “WOW… It’s actually starting to look like a studio”. New bigger windows and replacing the garage doors with the beautiful sliding doors I picked up for a STEAL on marketplace. Yes I’m going to brag that I got BOTH big beautiful sliding doors for $500. Later we found out they retailed for about $1200 each. Those are HEAVY doors! But wow, what a difference it made!
While that was happening, I was also insulating the walls. Yes there was spray insulation already, but it wasn’t very even, and it was worth the added cost to add a layer of insulation over it, just to make sure and also to stop any drafts that may come from the ceiling. I swear I still get itchy looking at the photos.
Then the real transforming stage happened… Drywall. Look how happy my face was the day it arrived!
The drywalling really made it look like a studio. It went up pretty fast, and then it was mud and tape… so much mud. But it was oddly relaxing to do. Then the sanding… OMG the sanding!! But I had a pretty amazing clean up crew haha! My oldest also liked to come out to the studio and do her school work on the days she was with me. Next stage was… paint. One of the final stages!!
Priming was the easy choice… Choosing a wall colour? Oh man… Hours of deliberation on that one! However it makes me happy that in the end the colour I chose was beautiful! It was a huge relief! It felt so very close to done.. After many many MANY HOT HOT HOT days of painting and mudding. We actually had to take 2 days off because it was too hot and humid nothing would dry properly so those days were spent in the pool at my contractors house 😉
Next came the floors. Another thing I debated over. I would have loved to do all white floors, but one thing I learned in my old studio is white floors… they don’t stay white for long and require alot of maintenance. Also I know this is not my forever home. Yes I have it for a few years, but I know it’s not my forever home so I decided to do a soft blonde floor instead. Partly to give me different floors to shoot on increasing versatility, but also for resale. But look how much it pulled everything together! We were almost done!!!
Lastly, was the finishing touches. Baseboards, light switches, potlights… OH MY! Oh and a heater (which was added a few months later once it got too cold!).
That’s it… It was done! My daddy and I built a studio!! All that was left was hauling in all my stuff, and then getting my clients in! I’ll leave you with some photos of it all finished!
So this is the home of Rachel Limebeer Photography right now and for the next long while. I am so in love with my space. I’m so happy to offer a warm and welcoming space for my clients. And I hope to see everyone in there as soon as this lockdown is done!
Be well. Be healthy. All the best,