Now that I've spent almost 12 months in my new studio, I'm able to offer a few thoughts on the choices I made back when it was under construction.
The PaintFirst, let's talk about the paint colors.Ultimately I had settled on Behr's Invitation Ivory #310-A1 for the gallery wall and Behr's Gold Buttercup #310-A2 for the other three walls. Now, with my paintings and jewelry on display on the gallery wall, the Invitation Ivory has proven to be a good choice. It looks great with everything and clashes with nothing. Under the halogen track lights it imparts a subtle, soft tone to the room but doesn't compete with or detract from the artwork in any way.
As for the other three walls, which were painted with Gold Buttercup, I remain delighted with that color too. On winter days when the weather was cold, gray and dismal, I'd enter the studio, turn on the lights, and the room would instantly feel as if it were bathed in sunlight. You might think, being a pale shade of yellow, it would feel too "warm" during the summer months but somehow it doesn't. It reflects light well but seems quite "neutral." It also makes the studio seem larger than it actually is.
If I had to do it over again, I'd choose these same two colors. They've worked really well for me.
After weeks of research and sample-gathering, I had selected modified loose lay sheet vinyl flooring from Lowes. It has turned out to be a snap to keep clean, despite the fact that it's light cream-and-beige in color. It's surprisingly easy to spot tiny beads I've dropped on it -- even microscopic 2mm crimps! A quick swipe with a water dampened rag or paper towel takes care of fresh paint spills. Dried on paint peels off it easily too. (Note that I paint almost exclusively with acrylics. I'd advise testing a sample first if you paint with other types of media.) The vinyl I chose was extra thick, making it very comfortable to stand or walk on. That had been a strong selling point for me, because I paint standing up and also have back problems.
The only criticism I have is that the flooring developed two subtle "ripples" earlier this spring. The ripples persisted for a few weeks, but disappeared when outside temperatures began to rise into the 80s. The cause of the rippling is a mystery to me. Possibly there are places where the edges weren't trimmed back sufficiently to allow for the flooring to contract and expand, as this type of flooring inevitably does. If we ever move the heavier pieces of furniture we'll trim the vinyl's edges back a bit more. That will probably take care of the problem, but until then I'll just live with it. It wasn't a major issue, just more of an inconvenience.
The LightingHalogen track lighting is what I chose for general illumination and highlighting the gallery wall. It produces a nice clear light that doesn't skew colors. I've been very pleased with it and feel it was the right choice for my needs and budget. The only downside I've noticed is that the halogen bulbs generate a fair amount of heat. This is an advantage in cold weather but not so desirable in the summer. To keep the air conditioner from working overtime, I tend to use only the track over my work area when I need general illumination on that side of the studio. (A ceiling fan installed directly over my worktable helps keep me comfortable.) Two fluorescent task lights on my work table provide plenty of light for doing close work like making jewelry. And the studio's four large windows admit plenty of natural light. With so many light sources, I don't need to use the halogens very much. When I do, I enjoy their clarity, the quality of light they produce and the way they make artwork look so vivid. All in all, they definitely were a good choice.
There are several other considerations you may want to keep in mind if you're building or rehabbing a studio. We'll be covering those in a future post.