scary basement > lovely studio

In early March 2019, I announced my plans to turn our 100 year-old {quite creepy} basement into a fully-functioning home studio. We’ve been in this house for almost seven years, and the “creepy basement” has only ever been used for storage / a home for spiders. I needed more space to work – as my pieces were going from small paper to larger panel – and this seemed like the smartest, most cost-effective way to make that happen. NOTE: I picked the cheapest paneling for the wall and ceiling that I could source! I also did all of the painting myself to bring costs down.

It’s been six months since I said, “Stay tuned for photos”. Okay, it took me a little longer than planned to put this post together, but can you blame me? I have a gorgeous new studio to play in every day!

Anywho, the day has come. These first few photos take you through the evolution from 100 year-old stone foundation and cobweb-covered fir beams, to almost done but not quite:

Gah! Yeah, that was a very exciting month. Poor Eric and John {the two fantastic guys who made this happen}… I was down there every hour or so “checking on the progress”, especially during that custom desk build! She’s a big, beautiful gal and I asked you guys, via Instagram, to name her. There were quite a few contenders, but I had to follow my heart and went with BROAD MAUD. Four feet deep and fourteen feet long … Broad Maud, indeed. Here she is in all her glory:

Oh my word, I love her so much. Now, as a hoarder of art supplies, I had a really fun time getting all set up down there. Eric and John made sure that Maud came equipped with shelves for paper, tools, and other random bits of stuff, and since she’s so big up top {it’s ok, she’s not offended by that}, I have lots of space for brushes, lamps, trays, and a bit of artwork by other artists. During the build, while I was giving sneak peeks on Instagram, the lovely folks at Society6 swooped in and offered to add some art-covered accessories… um, I’m no fool so I said, HELL YEAH:

Boob mugs, badass trays and stylish cutting boards! And, yes, my Creative Juice XXX jug by Canadian artist Susannah Montague is in the middle of everything, right below a ceramic portrait American artist Amanda Smith made for me. Being surrounded by the work of other artists always fuels my creative mojo… that must be ‘the jealous curator’ in me.

Now, while I love Broad Maud, sometimes I need to sit down, relax, flip through old books and, let’s be honest, take the occasional nap. While I’m sure Maud would be happy to accommodate, I’d be worried about splinters. So, since this previously scary basement is kinda giganticI reached out to my interior design friends {and fellow art-lovers}, The Novogratz, to see if their furniture line could help add a cozy factor to my new space. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I know for sure I didn’t expect desk lamps {basements are dark}, a HUGE area rug {concrete floors are cold}, and a super cozy sectional sofa {sometimes a girl needs to watch Netflix}. Check this out:

WHAT?! I know. They’re a really nice family. Thank you, Robert and Cortney! Hm, I just realized I haven’t named the couch yet. Any thoughts? Cozy Carol? Anyway, the throw pillows, floor pillow and blanket {also a key part in studio-napping} are from Society6. Every item I picked from them features the work of a different artist but, clearly, I decided to keep a black and white theme going – a nice contrast to the colorful paint all over me and Broad Maud.

Now, I’m sure you think we’re finished, but nope. This space wouldn’t be “me” without at least one reference to my favorite movie of all time:

And I put it in a corner! Ahhh, good times.

Okay, that’s it. If you’re still reading, I’ll finish off by saying I totally know that I’m hashtag blessed to have had enough space in my house to pull this off, and I’m super grateful to Society6 and The Novogratz for helping turn a cold, spooky place into a warm, creative studio. I’m gonna wrap up this realllllllly long post with a photo of me getting all zen in the backyard. This is where I go when I’m feeling overwhelmed and just need a bit of fresh Canadian air to clear my head… well, unless of course I’m napping:

Om. Zzzz…

*The photos {except my iPhone “in progress” shots} are by Stephanie Seaton of Unlimited Vision. Thanks Stephanie!





comments (24)

  1. Kristi Kohut /// 09.14.2019 /// 4:47am

    Congrats on your gorgeous new studio!!! Looks amazing!! Can’t wait to see what beauties you create in it ❤️

  2. Kelly /// 09.14.2019 /// 5:46am

    Wow – this looks so great. Congratulations on making this move. Into this space. Thanks for sharing these pics. I was wondering if we would ever get a better look at the transformation. Happy making!

  3. Amy Tingle /// 09.14.2019 /// 5:46am

    SWEET JESUS! Creepy basement no more. WOW! I’m so glad I came out of a strange sort of hibernation/roadtripping to read my first JC newsletter in months and see these progress photos. And, well, many Maud is a good Maude. Cheers to lots and lots of creativity in that beautiful space. (Also, I need a backyard view like yours. Manifesting THAT for our next home . . .) xo

  4. Amy Tingle /// 09.14.2019 /// 5:49am

    *any Maud not many Maud, although many Mauds are good, too. 😉

  5. Nicci Sevier-Vuyk /// 09.14.2019 /// 6:47am

    Looks like an amazing creative space! Love the white everywhere- feels calming and as though it would allow you to really focus on your work. Wishing you many more amazing pieces from your new space!

  6. Liisa Salo /// 09.14.2019 /// 7:14am

    What an inspirational transformation! So fresh, functional, and fun. Can’t wait to see the new pieces that will come to life on Broad Maud’s shoulders.

  7. Carol C. /// 09.14.2019 /// 7:45am

    Congratulations on your great new studio! Broad Maud is impressive. So MUCH space to put creative things. I also like the design of your new couch. (I vote for “Cozy Carol” : ) And the gorgeous view from your backyard is wonderful. Such an infusion of peace and source of mental clearing to both make space for your creativity and to inspire it. Wishing you many happy hours of joy and fulfillment in your studio. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Gale /// 09.14.2019 /// 7:52am

    Broad Maud and Cozy Dozey Rosie?

  9. the jealous curator /// 09.14.2019 /// 8:03am

    ooooh! cozy rosie!!! yep, that’s the one!

  10. Monica /// 09.14.2019 /// 8:55am

    Congrats in this transformation! Any lighting details you can share? Looks super well lit and I’m having a bit of a challenge in my home studio.

  11. Jude Hamilton /// 09.14.2019 /// 10:05am

    What an inspiration! LOVE your transformation of the creepy basement to the fantastic art studio!

  12. Jennifer /// 09.14.2019 /// 12:58pm

    I LOVE Broad Maud. I have a long, deep desk but it’s chair-height. Maybe I should raise it and stand rather than sit on my arsenal all day.

    You’ve done en excellent job making a wonderful space. And Congrats!

  13. Jennifer /// 09.14.2019 /// 1:00pm

    Um, above I wrote arse, but spell check changed it to arsenal. I guess that means my arse is a weapon?

  14. John-Michael Byrd /// 09.14.2019 /// 2:54pm

    Amazing! I love it. Light airy and I’m excited what you birth out of that space.

  15. ALQ /// 09.14.2019 /// 3:58pm

    Oh my–this gives me hope for our creepy basement! Well done!

  16. Kelly Witmer /// 09.14.2019 /// 4:21pm

    OMG, never in a million years will I be that organized!!! But thanks for the inspo – it makes me want to overhaul my workspace! My dream feature – two big long work tables like that, with a button I can press to have one raised and the other lowered (garage door hack?), so I can switch from painting to ceramics. I can dream, right? Can’t wait to see the new stuff you create in there!

  17. mela.art /// 09.14.2019 /// 6:34pm

    Oh Girl!!! What a Dreamy Cozy Studio! Now those walls are waiting to hang all your paintings, drawings, sketches, photos and references!!! Enjoy the ride! Wonderful!!! ; )

  18. Tricia Orchard /// 09.14.2019 /// 7:22pm

    Sooo gorgeous! I am so happy you have such a beautiful place to work in, ’cause the rest of your place is quite dingy, if I recall correctly! 🙂

  19. the jealous curator /// 09.14.2019 /// 9:42pm

    haha!!! 😉 xo

  20. Suzy Graan /// 09.15.2019 /// 6:06pm

    Loverly!! Enjoy and continue to pour your heart into it all : )

  21. bruna /// 09.16.2019 /// 9:45am

    congratulations on “getting ‘er done!” just think of all the ideas you’ll generate and produce in that wonderful space….looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour.

  22. Cheryl Hansen /// 09.16.2019 /// 10:56am

    Ok, now I will have to start the “jealous studio” artist blog. I think you need to put in some french doors to be able to access the back yard and get ample natural light. Phase II. (My architecture background can’t help it.) I submit “Notorious Nora” for napping and Netflix, etc. Maybe invite Jennifer(above) over to sit on her arsenal!!! I am sure who ever worked on the spellcheck software is messing with us all. Gotta love it!!

  23. Bradford /// 09.19.2019 /// 5:17am

    Good lord almighty, Danielle, it’s LOVELY! It’s like you worked to make it look as pretty as I am. 😉 Really, what a glorious space and I’m THRILLED for you and all the creative exploration to come. xoxo B

  24. the jealous curator /// 09.19.2019 /// 7:22am

    hahaha! thank you, bradford! it was hard trying to make it as pretty as you, but i did my best 😉 xo







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