From Bonus Room to Art Studio, A Homeowner Story

The bonus room above the garage is becoming an art studio & here's the laminate flooringAre you a frustrated artist without an art studio? See if you can get some times from this homeowner story, turning an unused bonus room into a fantastic art studio.

Homeowner: Ramona Beville, Bend Oregon
Project: Converting a bonus room to an artist’s studio
Budget: As inexpensively as possible.

Ramona Beville is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who uses art personally to live a full and nourishing life. She lives on the Northeast side of Bend Oregon. At an elevation of 4000 feet, Bend is considered a high desert and is surrounded by the beautiful, snow capped, Cascade Mountain Range. When house hunting, Ramona encountered many unique (to put it mildly) homes. Some had doors that lead to nowhere, one even had eight doorways into one room! Ramona was looking for a well maintained, conventional styled home with an art studio.

In the fall of 2012, she purchased a three bedroom, two and a half bath home with an unfinished bonus room over the two car garage. This house had only one previous owner and was immaculately maintained. The bonus room over the garage was unfinished and with minimal modification would make for an excellent art studio. The downside is that the room can only be accessed via the master bedroom or a pull down staircase in the garage. The home had so many other benefits, Ramona felt the trade off was worth it … and now she’s busy transforming this space into her art studio.

Challenges of a DIY Art Studio

Art Studio in process wiith homeowner tools Ramona and her boyfriend decided to complete the transformation themselves. Her boyfriend has the necessary skills to complete most of the work. The upside is lower costs, the downside is that work on the project only takes place during rare moments of downtime.

Ramona wants to feel free to be creative in this space and doesn’t want to worry about making a mess. The finishes will all be inexpensive, but she has invested heavily in infrastructure, installing numerous electrical circuits and outlets to accommodate tools (burners, and glue guns), lighting, a heater and a box air conditioner. She wants to maximize the available space so she paid someone to cut particle board for storage in the eaves. The boxes were assembled on-site so that they fit precisely. The space will store regular household items (suitcases etc.) along with completed artwork and supplies.

Storage bins in the eaves and electrical outlets every six feet, in new art studioThe 300 square foot room was literally bare bones when they started. First her boyfriend laid down inexpensive laminate flooring to make it easier to work. He has installed the electrical and is awaiting for the electrical building inspector to sign-off on the work.

Once he has approval, he’ll be hanging chip board (smooth side out) for the walls. Then Ramona will paint them white to give a neutral background that won’t compete with the artists’ work. Once the weather warms, her boyfriend will be installing sky lights on the north side of  the roof for the even light (more consistent lighting without shadows).

Ramon has also asked her boyfriend to install a ventilation fan in the bottom of the fold down stairway to remove the caustic fumes that some art materials can create … which is a really good idea for all artists.

Tips For Creating an Art Studio

Ramona reminds potential DIY remodelers to first lay out your space and determine what activities you’ll do where. That way you know where you need lighting, electrical outlets and other remodeling requirements. Precious finishes are fine for show places, but if you want to make a mess and really live in a space, Ramona suggests going the inexpensive route. That way, when paint spatters or something gets stained, it’s not a big deal.

Her second piece of advice relates to time. Remodeling yourself (or with a partner who works full time and has other hobbies and interests) takes time. Don’t wait for your perfect space. Ramona can’t just whip out her oil paints and beeswax, so she has channeled her creative energy into making gourmet chocolates in her kitchen, while she waits for her art studio to be completed.

Ramona Beville.jpg After years of working as a personal trainer, Pilates instructor and credentialed adult teacher, Ramona Beville combined all of her passions into her business, EnJOY with Ramona Beville.  For more information visit her web site www.enjoywithramonabeville.com or visit her on Facebook

About Lee Laughlin

Lee Laughlin has owned two homes, one was built in the late 1890's. She and her husband learned many things about hiring contractors, and DIY repairs in that house. Her current home is a modular home built in the early 2000's. She scratched out the design on two sheets of notebook paper then factory and the general contractor brought her vision to reality. She is a freelance writer who lives in wilds of New Hampshire with family.

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