It's been a year and a half since we got the keys to our studio space. The place was in desperate need of truckloads of TLC. A project to say the least.
This three-storey Georgian townhouse hasn't been properly taken care of for years and felt sad and run down. Along with some of the problems such as no heating and light shining through the window frames, there was one which forever ingrained a mark in mine and Jamie's worried hearts - a great big hole in the floor of what was to be our main art and filming space. The hole led to the downstairs shop, which by the way also needed a lot of work to allow a tenant in. And with bills from the council (unused property) piling up, we needed to take care of it asap.
Now you may think "Why on earth would you buy that then?". I have to say that Jamie was posing a very similar question in the weeks preceding the purchase completion. We had several long talks in the middle of the night and were just millimetres away from pulling out. Why didn't we?
Deep down, under all the layers of worry and uncertaintiy, we both had a good feeling about it. Most of all, the location was our dream. The building is situated on the high street of Wirksworth. And if you've watched this video you know it's a place we always wanted to be.
Buying a separate studio space (rather than working from home) also made sense on a different level. We were on constant lookout for a house at Wirksworth, but with very few properties available, we knew we are going to go for something smaller and it will have no space to film. Plus we had a new baby coming and things felt super uncertain with the pandemic still being in full swing. I aged a lot that Summer :)
I don't know if you believe in magic but once we got the keys to the studio somehow unbelievablly everything has fallen into place. Most of all the Universe has come together and put a brilliant builder on our path - Blair. His "everything is doable" attitude was a great source of comfort for us.
That's how it looked right after the work started:
Just three months later all the serious issues were fixed, walls plastered, holes filled and all belly-aches soothed. We allowed ourselves to do all the decorating and to take time with it. That's why the place is not finished yet (and in fact I never want it to be finished, I want it to evolve and change all the time), but it's definitely loved by us already.
Here are a few pictures of the main studio space, the large room that together with the kitchen makes up all of the middle floor. This is the room that had a hole in the floor (haphazardly cut by someone overly enthusiastic about saws I think). This is where we currently film most of our studio-based videos. There are still many things that I would like to do there, but this is how it looks right now.
Exposing the original brick chimney breast was definitely one of the best ideas. It adds lots of character and warmth to the space, even though we don't plan on using it as a fireplace.
I've used John Derian Picture Book images to cover the alcove next to the chimney breast.
As of the end of February 2022 we are now painting the large staircases (can you guess the colours? Of course yellow, pink and orange!). There isn't much more to do once that's finished so I'll soon be showing you some more before and afters. Our studio kitchen next!
And if you're ever at Wirksworth, pop in to visit the shop downstairs which is Fox's Den run by Jamie's sister Anneliese and sells up-cycled furniture.
ps. Here's a bonus for the true fans of before and after. The electrics in the cellar. Top picture is before Blair (who's actually an electrician!) hit the dance floor and underneath is the soothing, gorgeous, calming after. :D
Thank you for reading,