This was a dream long in the making.
|Demo of Top Floor|
|Green Tile Fireplace we found, was covered up with fake fireplace.|
For several years we just spent time looking. We really loved the idea of finding a store front so we could have are studio space on the first floor and live above. This did limit our search slightly. One of the scary things we experienced as we started to look for buildings, was that we could not afford to buy a house in the neighborhood we had been living in, Tower Grove, and other neighborhoods we were looking at, like Cherokee Street, were being bought up by outside developers or current property owners were sitting on their vacant buildings waiting for things to increase in value.
I should say that we were lucky, my parents were willing to help us initially buy the building and pay for the rehabbing supplies with the agreement that when the rehab was complete, we would get a mortgage and pay them back. I don't know how or if we could have done this without them. As artists, with erratic income, we probably would have had a hard time getting a loan without their support. There didn't seem to be resources for artists wanting home loans. So often the arts community wanted to help build artists lofts, why didn't they consider that artists might want a home? I didn't want to live downtown, I wanted to live in a neighborhood where we could have a garden and neighbors next to us. I didn't want to be surrounded by other artists, I wanted to be in a diverse neighborhood with people that didn't look of think like me.
|Dutchtown Green Lawn|
One year later
Which I guess technically we are- in that we have the bedroom and bathroom finished and we are now living in the building, although we still have a ton of work.
|Me in window during first weeks of Demo.|
|My favorite diamond wall paper we found.|
|Crazy patriotic wall paper found in kitchen.|
I find so many parts of fixing up the space to be healing and beautiful. When we pulled off the paneled walls and scraped away the layers of wall paper, we saw the layers of time. When I knocked off the crumbling plaster and then later cleaned and filled the holes with spackle, I felt like I was doing surgery on the building. When my family came over and helped us put a support under a slightly sagging floor, it had the community feel of a barn raising. I've learned about the fine art of "hiding your work" through mudding, a process where the goal is to make the work invisible. The same would go for filling nail holes and then sanding away their "evidence" bump. Priming the walls and trim reminds me of how I prepare a canvas, each layer shifting the surface a little whiter, a little smoother. I guess what I am trying to say is that despite the time I've lost making, I think skill wise I've gained something for my making.
Nonetheless, I had to still clearly create time for studio practice.
|All the old materials we pulled out of the house.|
My readiness to be in the building was an anxious hunger. After our honeymoon, Cam and I had to spend a month living at my parents as we finished the final aspects of the bedroom and bathroom. We'd moved out of our apartment to save money. I am so thankful for my parent's graciousness in hosting us, but I was also so ready to return to city living and lose the commute and backpack living. Backpacking was fun when we were traveling in other places, but when we were back home, it started to feel desperate and un-grounding. Plus living at my parent's home, made my inner teenage angst return. I wanted to unpack, to organize, and
|First Floor Early days. Future Studio|
|Top Floor with framing.|
|Bedroom before pic.|
|After pic: Bedroom painted with wood floor.|