If you've been watching my Instagram stories, you'll know that we've spent the last month renovating the sleepout on our property to become the new Shout & Co. studio. When we bought this house just over a year ago, we renovated the main house and decided to keep the sleepout renovation for a later date. Since we moved in, it's been a storage room, then a craft / rumpus room of sorts and now finally, a studio for Shout & Co. We employed the skills of my hubby's colleague's partner who is a builder extraordinaire and gave him the task of completely overhauling the space: from insulation right up to a new ceiling.
We started by reworking the wiring: I shifted a few plug points around and repositioned the ceiling lights. We then needed to add insulation, put up gib walls and a new ceiling, install new light fittings and paint every surface white. I am a real fan of white, especially for creative spaces because it provides the perfect canvas to plan, craft and create. Having a light space also helps me think better - so everything including the curtains - went white.
I wanted a navy and white scheme, layering in houseplants, wood, brass and rattan to round it off. I separated the studio into 2 work areas: the first is the "PLAN" area - i.e. my desk, sideboard (which holds stationery, camera accessories, paper, my printer, etc) and my client dashboard and the "CREATE" area - i.e. where I would actually take photographs. On this latter side of the room, I have my props, space for my flatlay table, tripods, lighting, diffusers, scrims and backgrounds. To segment these 2 spaces, I used rugs: the blue / white one under my desk and a cow hide under the flatlay table. I also positioned the 2 navy chairs in such a way so as to help demarcate the flow.
I focused quite closely on the lighting for the studio: I wanted a bamboo cloche style and searched high and low to find them. I needed 3 in a particular size and came very close to giving up: every retailer I found them in either wanted a kajillion dollars for them or didn't have 3 available. But I knew what I wanted and was prepared to wait until I found the perfect ones. My patience was eventually rewarded when I stumbled on them at The Shelter in Ponsonby, made even better by the fact that there were 3 left and all on sale: clearly it was meant to be. I sourced the pendants and bulbs from Lighting Direct, selecting the brass finish to complement the colour scheme of the room and the colour of the bamboo. I then chose extra large round bulbs to complete the look.
Houseplants are a key element throughout my home so this studio space is no exception. I have 7 houseplants in this space already and I'm sure more will come.
Texture is an important consideration for me, so along with the velvet chairs, I have layered in a bit of marble, a sheepskin throw on one chair, a fringed pillow on the other, a shaggy rug and dried flowers. Around the rest of the room, you'll find baskets, macrame, ceramics, brass planters and wood grain.
Behind the desk, I have put an old wooden sideboard: here, I've stashed my stationery, camera accessories, printer, paper, envelopes as well as a craft drawer for the girls when they join me in here.
Would you believe that we found this sideboard on the side of the road, ironically after an afternoon spent trying to a sideboard? Nothing I had seen in the stores had really grabbed me, so I gave up and drove home feeling a bit defeated and frustrated. A couple of blocks from our street, I saw a sideboard standing forlornly on the berm, so hubby went and picked it up to find that it was in perfect condition. I gave it a bit of a clean and it's worked out to be the perfect colour and size for this space. I'd say that that was also meant to be!
Next to this sideboard, I have put the bar fridge (stocked with all sorts of goodies), a tea station as well as my client dashboard: here at a glance, I can see what stage I'm at with each client, what tasks I need to do and the deadlines that I'm working to.
I have always been partial to a clean, neat, minimalist desk. At every office job I've ever worked at, I have always ensured my desk was wiped clean on a regular basis, my stationery packed away, trinkets and accessories kept to a minimum and before leaving for the day that my desk was cleared and ready for the next morning. Working from home and this approach seems to be even more important to me. This is why the sideboard has become such a key feature in this area - less stationery on the desktop means less clutter.
The CREATE space: On the left as you walk in from the deck is my prop cupboard. I didn't realise I had so many props until I had to categorise and display them all (won't stop me sourcing more, of course). I finally colour-coded my linen which has also helped me identify the gaps in the colours and prints. Each level on the bookshelf is a different category: food, personal care, lifestyle, etc. That way, I can easily find what I'm looking for when I'm planning and executing my shoots.
On the other side of this area, I keep my tripods, diffusers, scrims, lighting, stands and backgrounds. Aesthetics are important, but the flow (especially on this side of the room) needs to be as efficient as possible.
And now for my favourite part: some BEFOREs & AFTERs side by side:
And that's that for the new Shout Studio HQ! Thanks for reading and following along - now I need to get back to work and make some magic...
Navy chairs: Freedom
White / Navy rug: Freedom
Marble sidetable: Freedom
Trestle tabletop: Bunnings
Trestle table legs: Trademe
Swivel chair: Thrifted
Sideboard: the side of the road!
Sideboard Lamp: Farmers
Bar fridge: The The Warehouse
Curtain rods: Spotlight
Bamboo cloches: The Shelter in Ponsonby
Brass pendants & extra large bulbs: Lighting Direct
Hanging planters: (Macrame) The Warehouse; (Brass) Freedom
Framed artwork: Pippa - Shout & Co.
Throw over desk chair: Izzy & Jean
Prop bookshelf: Thrifted
Wooden box next to bookshelf: Thrifted
Cow hide: The Warehouse
White paint: Deluxe "Okarito" - the same as what we've used in the house and now the only white we'll ever use...