Studio Update

Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

Front view before renovation.

I’ve promised a few times to update you on the progress of my studio space, so here we go! The last few months of the renovation went by at such a fast pace. Not that things got done extra quickly, but there were so many things happening at once. It was a full-time job to keep up with scheduling contractors and doing some of the work ourselves as well. It really was a full-time job in itself.

I think the last time I showed some video of what the space looked like just before the drywall was scheduled to go in. If you go to my Instagram stories it’s saved under “Studio”. So it took about 9 months to get to that point! And up until then it’s all the ugly uninteresting, expensive stuff. We had really started from scratch once we got all the demolition wrapped up. A few unexpected surprises came up along the way.Studio Space Update - NoodleheadStudio Space Update - NoodleheadStudio Space Update - NoodleheadStudio Space Update - NoodleheadStudio Space Update - Noodlehead

Early in the spring we removed all the aluminum siding and a large awning from the front of the building. That was hard work! Underneath was the old brick facade, which was very exciting! It was so fun to see the year the building was built – 1890! It was a happy surprise because none of the pictures we had of the building showed a clear view of the date. We hired a masonry restoration specialist come in and try to remove the layers of paint from the brick. I had high hopes that the paint would be stripped away to reveal the beautiful brick. Unfortunately that’s not what happened. Over the years there were many layers of paint applied by previous owners. The first few layers were probably latex paint which came off fairly easily, but the much older layers were oil based and then finally a layer that was much more like tar. It wasn’t going to come off! I felt really sad that the old brick was damaged so much, but there wasn’t anymore we could do without completely ruining the face of the brick. They tuck pointed all the loose joints and repaired some of the damaged brick. Then they recommended a special masonry coating (we chose a gray color). I’m hoping this coming spring we can have some of the details brought out a bit more with some hand painted details, but for now I think it looks classic and much improved from its previous self.Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

When we first purchased the building, we had crossed our fingers in hopes that its original iron columns were still in place and they were! Over the years, the building’s facade had been completely covered with layers of paints and then with a whole front of aluminum siding. So it seemed to preserve the posts quite nicely. I spent a lot of time stripping the layers of paint (a taupe color, and under that was a grass green/gold layer and then finally a layer of white) and cleaning up all the details. It was kind of fun actually and a lot of time on a scissors lift! The columns are 12 1/2 feet tall, so the lift was essential in getting the job done. We removed the remaining aluminum siding and heavy!!! windows and doors. It was so hard! So at one point the whole front of the building was wide open (from the iron beam underneath the brick and below) with only the columns left. Not sure when but there was a fire in 1912 in our downtown area that may have originally damaged the original facade. So the only original parts left on the front of the building was the brick, the columns, and the front foundation wall – which is all now preserved. I painted the columns with an oil based primer and paint specifically for the iron.Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

I painted all the new front siding that was installed below the windows. We tried to mimic the original details of the building the best we could. While this wasn’t a totally accurate restoration job, I feel like the front facade turned out so well. The week the windows were being installed was sooooo stressful for me. I almost couldn’t watch! I think I was mostly worried that they wouldn’t fit or they would break, but the installers were so talented and skilled – they made it look easy and it turned out beautifully.

Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

View looking to the back wall of the building.

Before the front windows went in, our carpenters had worked on installing the back wall. When we purchased the building, it had no back wall and had been condemned because an addition in the back had collapsed. There was a temporary wall installed, but as part of our plan, we set the new back wall back on the original foundation. An old collapsed stairwell into the basement had to be patched with concrete block and backfilled. It was definitely exciting when the new back wall was finally up! The slow spring weather definitely played a part in slowing things up a bit.Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

The interior got framed out. We have a sort of ‘divider’ wall that separates the inventory area from the main front areas. We have two bathrooms (for code) and a mechanical room. In the mechanical room there’s a hatch to get to the basement which is really nothing more than where the plumbing pipes and drains exist.

We ended up replacing half of the building’s concrete floors, too. It was definitely unexpected. There was an extra layer of leveler that had been put down by a previous owner that ended up cracking and shifting large plates of concrete. Once we removed that layer we discovered the concrete underneath was in worse shape than anticipated. It was very old concrete that had many large areas where it had sunk down and cracked. Not something you’d put a brand new floor on. We had to jack hammer and hand carry the old concrete from the building. Luckily we had quite a few friends to help with the heavy labor. It took a lot of sweat and work gloves!Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

Even though the metal roof was in okay shape, it still had lots of repair work. We applied two coats of a specialty roof sealant to hopefully allow us to keep the roof for a few more years before it might need to be replaced. It was of course during the most humid and hot part of summer that we were up on the roof, of course!

Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

Next the back wall was sided and we (eventually) added an awning. During that time the floors inside were being prepared for the new flooring. There was a fair amount of grinding and leveling that had to be done. Thankfully we had a flooring specialist that did that work! Also the new electrical was installed and the plumbing had been roughed in.Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

So the last step in the not so pretty stuff was the drywall which totally transformed the space! It was so amazing to walk into the space that we had spent so long doing demolition and repair work on and finally see something look improved! I was mind-blowing!!! That took place in the middle of August.Studio Space Update - Noodlehead Studio Space Update - Noodlehead

I think I’ll leave the update at that for now. It was a lot! So even though the final product makes everything look simple, this will hopefully be a good reminder of some of the trials an tribulations of renovating and repairing an old building! Next time we’ll get to the fun stuff, I promise! 🙂

In case you’re curious, here a couple previous posts that I’ve written:

Studio Update 1
Studio Update 2

37 thoughts on “Studio Update

  1. Tennille says:

    OMG!!! When i first scrolled through the pictures I thought you had dry walled over all that beautiful rust colored brick. Upon closer inspection I realized I was wrong. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong 🙂 I think you’ve made some amazing choices. I love the simple exterior. Black and grey is classic, edgy, calm, bold, modern, clean all at the same time. And removing that strange roof line and just exposing the brick was genius. I can’t wait to see how you finish and style the inside. Maybe it’ll inspire me to organize my craft room. Well done!

  2. nhquilter says:

    Wow! What a transformation!! Great job and good luck in the new space!

  3. Jeni says:

    Such an amazing transformation!! It looks so incredibly different, I absolutely love the way the front turned out, it looks very classic!

  4. Allison says:

    Oh it’s so beautiful Anna!!! You did SO much work! It’s a completely different space!!! The outside fits you perfectly…so sleek and modern but still so classic. I’m so excited for you!

  5. Megan says:

    It looks wonderful, you’ve done such a great job in giving that lovely old building a new life. I wonder why anyone would have thought that the addition of aluminium siding was a good idea? At least it helped to protect that beautiful brickwork and date. So many people would have demolished and build again but it was so worth the effort, time and money. You should congratulate yourself, your husband and family and the specialist contractors who have made this great transformation. May I ask where this building is? I can’t wait for the next post.

  6. Karen says:

    It’s wonderful you are bringing it back to life. The shops in my town are that vintage, and some still have their tin ceilings.

  7. janequiltsslowly says:

    What an amazing change to the front of the building! I would never have guessed the elegance that was beneath that storefront! The brick & the columns! Looking forward to seeing the final renovations, as I am sure you are! (Also what is next door? Le Coulee Cheese Castle? Sounds yummy!)

  8. I’m with Karen. It IS wondeful how you are bringing this building back to life! Your community must be so pleased!

    Can’t wait to see the finished inside!

  9. Donna Baker says:

    This is fantastic, what a labor of love that you will enjoy for many years. So proud of you!!

  10. Laura says:

    This is gorgeous! The storefront is amazing now!! Can’t wait to see what your finished interior looks like!

  11. Jenifer Farrell says:

    I’m really enjoying following your journey in this! Thank you for taking time to post about this 🙂 I can’t wait to see the end product !

  12. Lisa K. Faiss says:

    Wow. Just wow. You must have boundless energy. I have a brick home that I sandblasted paint off. I actually like the brick painted in this case. I think it highlights the clever brick design.

  13. I love seeing what you’ve done with the place – I’m so excited to see it finished! It’s wonderful to see you preserving the history as well.
    I’m glad to see everyone wearing all the appropriate protective gear – gloves, eye protection – but I have to tell you, you’ve forgotten the most important piece of kit. You MUST install a stair master or a treadmill to protect yourself from the dangers of the cheese shop. Those cheese shops can be REALLY dangerous.

  14. Isabella says:

    Awesome renovation! Love it ! Greetins from Belgium ?

    1. Fragulina says:

      Great work! I cannot imagine the excitement when you discover the old bricks and the data ?

  15. yvette says:

    This is AMAZING ! So much hard work, and a beautiful result !! The facade is gorgeous !! a big BRAVO to all the workers

  16. Wapiti says:

    Wow! I love the new front. It’s marvelous and very inviting. I think you’re a happy girl now.

  17. It’s amazing the changes a building can go through over time. Thank goodness you and your husband and team have restored it to its former glory and even made it better. Wonderful before/during/after photos. And such a lot of very hard work! Looking forward to the final reveal.

  18. Dixie Torrech says:

    Wow!!! What a journey. Thanks for sharing it with us. Looking forward to seeing it all come together and open in all its glory. Well done.

  19. Lin says:

    Fantastic! I love the way you have transformed the front of the building but kept all the lovely ol details. It looks very smart. What an amazing amount of work you have put in to this project. xx

  20. Betz White says:

    Fantastic! So much work involved but the result is beautiful. Your neighbors are going to need to up their games!

  21. Terry Prichard says:

    You have done a beautiful renovation. What a jewel you have revealed that will showcase your art in the best possible light. Kudos to you.

  22. Vanessa Hewell says:

    WOW!!! I didn’t realize so much work was going into this project – seriously looks amazing! Well done.

  23. Erin says:

    Anna, it is so beautiful! What a tremendous undertaking and labor of love. Thank you for sharing.

  24. ShirleyC says:

    That’s a very impressive makeover! It looks like some of the buildings in our little town. The owners wanted so much for them that no one would buy them so now they’re just dissolving pretty much.

  25. kristin says:

    Lookin Good

  26. Lizzy says:

    Well y’all are amazing. I’m never not amazed by you.

  27. Kelly says:


  28. Abby says:

    Oh Anna!! I’ve been excited to see another update! You’ve done such a beautiful job. The exterior is GORGEOUS – I love those huge windows! I can’t imagine all of the work you’ve put into it!

  29. Dee says:

    The studio looks amazing Anna! I love how you’ve kept the character of the building. I’m so excited for you!

  30. says:

    Wow Anna, you guys have been working hard! Love seeing pictures of your girls helping out! It really looks amazing—-you are such an inspiring woman ❤️

  31. Kim b. says:

    You have worked so hard to bring this building back to its essence. I really love the gray color for the bricks on the facade. It lets the brickwork tell the story. It’s amazing what was hiding behind all that white!

    Incredible what you all did on the floors alone. What a contribution you have made to your community in rehabilitating this 130-year-old building!!! This looks so much like Main Street in my heometown — I can just see it.


  32. Kim B. says:

    Also — it’s so cool to see the old photos of the buIlding and the street that you have been able to find (shown in the prior posts). To think of that history and heritage that you are bringing back to life.

  33. Regina says:

    Anna I’m so happy for you….you’re very inspiring!!

  34. Kristin says:

    How cool is this??!!?? I can’t even imagine all the work you have done. When your studio is complete, it will be a truly amazing place. Way to go!!

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