After years of painting trips, holidays and a rollercoaster of a property search, we’ve finally found our dream studio in Cornwall.
The process has seenus deal with leaking roofs, copious amounts of whitewashing, and numerous skips. The result is an epic space that was once the working studio of Royal Academy artist Sandra Blow in glorious St Ives. It’s been a privilege (and a challenge) to bring this important space back to life as a working space for art, once more.
I’ve taken lots of photographs, and Vanessa has been writing a monthly journal.
The renovation diary follows our progress in bringing this eclectic empty property back to life, our highs and lows of creating a studio, home and new life fuelled by large amounts of ice cream.
November 2019 - Rain, Sandra Blow & First Viewing
The start of our journey renovating a new art studio by the sea.
January 2021 - The Ivy & the Window
Ripping up carpets, dealing with overflowing water butts and driving rain coming through windows.
February 2021 - The House That Keeps on Giving
This property keeps on giving, nothing in it is in premium health, but everything’s still functional. Just.
March 2021 - First things first, the Annexe
It seemed like the most logical place to start. Small, manageable, single-storey, and far enough away from living conditions to be contained. The Annexe is where it would all begin.
April 2021 - The Wall
On closer inspection, the wall had gaps, ivy and weeds growing abundantly. We’d made a half-hearted attempt over the Winter but now Spring was here, we had renewed energy.
May 2021 - Under Pressure
By day 3 cleaning up the courtyard was definitely against all odds. Disconcerting grumbling noises from the jet washer with spectacular downpours.
June 2021 - The Guest Room & Rose Hilton
Shabby glamour covered the bathroom’s current state, gold taps encrusted with limescale and quite a fancy linoleum floor. We attacked with gusto and the sonic little cleaning brush worked overtime.
July 2021 - Seagull and the Nest
A group of rowdy seagulls congregate in the spot on our roof we call the snack bar, by May we realised one never went home.
August 2021 – All Problems are Solved with Great Design
Work has started on the old leaky Annexe roof. The design for the new one has caused much discussion, fuelled mostly by Margaret’s traditional buttered saffron buns.
September 2021 – Art Coding
The new boiler is being fitted and we’ve got a restriction on our pipework. Earlier in the year, I’d painted over the red and blue stripes that boldly adorned the front of the pebbledash, or were they art clues?
October 2021 – Building the Garden of Compromise
I have ideas of grandeur for a Sorolla-style garden, tiled steps, palm trees and copious pot plants after our visit to Seville. It becomes apparent early on everyone is on a slightly different page with the new design.
December 2021 - Waste not want not
The ‘waste not want not’ mantra for this project continues, reusing blockwork and upcycling shelves.