After years of painting trips, holidays and a rollercoaster of a property search, we’ve finally found our dream studio in Cornwall.
Leaking roofs, copious amounts of whitewashing, numerous skips, and an epic space once the working studio of Royal Academy artist Sandra Blow, in glorious St Ives.
I’ve been taking lots of photographs and Vanessa has been writing a monthly journal following our highs and lows of creating a studio and new life by the sea (with 12 short videos of the progress). The Renovation Diaries, 12-months in 12 minutes
Phase 1, The Garden Room, (formerly the Annexe) completed
Hook, mirrors and shelves have gone up. Final paint coats applied, window ledges made, sanded and oiled and all the electrics signed off.
Letting in the Light
Installing the tilt and turn drawing-room window
The windows and sliding doors arrived mid-March in the end, but they were definitely worth the wait. The mid-grey powder coating is the perfect value against the metal cladding on the studio, and once they were fitted the whole space was transformed with light.
We wanted the tiles to feel illustrative with a mix of herringbone in the bathroom, grey grout and a natural leaf pattern in the kitchen. The shelves on the wall unit have been upcycled reusing Sandra’s old shelving from the studio, leaving exposed Mortise and Tenon Joints on the ends for detail.
The ceiling height was raised and a sun tunnel was installed to give a more directional strong light source above the shower.
By April the crew had begun working on the exterior turning it into a huge jigsaw puzzle of painted sealed ply. This was prep for the cedar cladding to go on top of. The other side boarded out ready for a render finish.
Cedar cladding starting to go on with over 300 individual ‘soldiers’ to sit on the fascia.
The workmanship that went into installing the cedar cladding was incredible and it looks absolutely stunning.
A strip of cedar had been routed out so a LED strip light could be hidden behind the facia
We wanted to angle the sofit to mirror the roof pitch, so from the side elevation, you get a lovely subtle design detail.
Luke & Jon from Build St Ives Ltd & Tim stepped in for an improntu portrait. What a fab crew!
Ben the plasterer came back to K-rend the exterior, also incorporating where there had previously been a window, it makes for a much cleaner design.
Before, check out the down pipe over the window
The terrace decking is as level with the interior floor height as possible for a flat, easy-access entrance. The risers on the steps just need a pattern tiled finish that Vanessa is going to install over the Summer.
The resinstated drawing room
Renovating the tall Cezanne-style doors.
Although they’ll need replacing in the future, for the time being, have a new lease of life. Loving using U-Pol, a car body filler for quick filling of the woodwork.
The void where the glazed window had been, now allowed for some alcove shelving to be installed and when the top of the painting door is open it lets in a beautiful high light and view of the sky.
A quiet corner for contemplation…and biscuits
Phase 2 starts in the Autumn/Winter but for now, we are enjoying planning the planting, the summer, the new garden room space, the reclaimed studio and finding time to create again!