Meme Hill Gets A Studio
It’s been 18 years since I bid farewell to my beloved studio at Village Gate in Downtown Rochester. At the time I had just given birth to my daughter Chloe and studio time was swapped out for playdates and stroller rides. It was the best decision to base my operations from home. Fast forward to 2020 with Chloe in her first year of college and my basement home studio bursting at the seems. Time for a new chapter and a new location. Come take a peek into the new Meme Hill Studio brick and mortar space!
A Diamond in the Rough?
Last December I began looking for a space to rent or buy. A professional space to meet with clients, get back into painting and work on expanding my brand was long overdue. I had a short criteria list for this new location. It had to be close to home, bright, affordable and first floor accessible for clients. Three out of four wasn’t a bad start.
After weeks of exploring commercial rentals I signed a lease on a two room 900 square foot space in Fairport Office Park just a 5 minute drive from home. The above photo is prior to the split and just before to the wall and door being removed. The 6-panel door on the left would be replaced with a commercial black glass door and side light. Below is my raw space with three tiny windows letting minimum light in. Those windows would be replaced with larger picture windows to fill out my four requirements… and a sink was a must!
The Studio Floor Plan
Once the lease was signed there were many sleepless nights. I’d wake up and dream up the layout. Don’t we all have the best ideas in the middle of the night? First order of importance was my painting area near the window where the natural light was best. Second, was a space for the large 16′ conference table. Third, was a wall of bookcases to artfully display my staging props. Then a living room area to relax but mostly use for photo vignettes and event gatherings. Next, a desk and last a closet to hold all my supplies and junk!
It’s safe to say at this time I was nervous and second guessing my choice. What did I get myself into? It got worse before it got better. The old carpet was removed and trim and old electric demoed.
The Elephant in the Room
Let me introduce you to the table of all tables! When I first walked in my landlord quickly said “Don’t worry about the table. We need to get rid of it.” I enthusiastically told him that I would gladly take it off his hands and save him the work. It was the ABSOLUTE perfect table for art classes and sprawling out all my design projects. One thing…. faux cherry veneer just wasn’t my idea of bright and modern.
Meme Hill Studio’s business tag line is “Life is too short for white walls.” Well, guess what? I was painting the whole dang space white. That’s right, my vision was a bright, white space with the accessories and art adding the color. First, was painting the dingy cream ceiling tiles. Ross and I taped off over 60 light boxes in preparation for spraying.
Let There Be Light
The new picture window was in and what a difference with double the amount of natural light coming in! The six panel door was replaced with a five foot glass door and sidelight. Now I could see who was at the door. Amen.
Time To Paint
The caulk was barely dry and I enlisted my painter friends Hank and Sean to lighten the work load. With both their commercial sprayers, we painted the ceiling and walls in under 5 hours. Nothing like the smell of new paint!
Back to the beast. As I mentioned before this dark, dated, very 80’s conference table was not welcome. And before you gasp it was not constructed of real cherry. It was a veneered top and stained particle board base. Ross sanded and I began priming. It took three of us to lean it on it’s side to access the bases. After two coats of primer I painted the massive table with semi-gloss white enamel paint.
Building a Closet
While minding my budget, I tried to use as much as what I had from my home studio as possible. We began building a closet using 4 shelving units, a few 2 by 4’s, 2 sheets of T-111, extra trim from the lake bunkhouse project, and a leftover door a client gave me. In image 1 you can see the backs of the bookcases. We quickly framed them out and added the planked panels. T-111 is an exterior siding that resembles shiplap and is very affordable at just $35. for a 4′ by 8′ sheet. Once painted it became the perfect textural accent wall and welcoming niche.
Assembling Ikea Furniture
If you have ever bought anything from Ikea then you know how many parts come in a box! Assembling nine plus bookcases, a paint cart, floating shelves and a desk would have take me a year. But thanks to my supportive family we assembled it all in a few hours. We alternated a wide bookcase with a thinner tower to give us a graphic wall of bookcases to display all our staging props, books, artwork, and giftware.
The Grand Plan
I broke away from my all white plan in the kitchen area because it was too safe. The studio needed a pop of color to anchor this long kitchenette wall. I chose inexpensive ready to paint cabinets from Home Depot. The conference table was painted and the bookcases were up and I eagerly awaited the delivery of my oversized statement pendant fixtures.
Getting out the Paintbrush, Spray Can & Roller
Wouldn’t it be nice to get absolutely everything new and shiny? Yes, and no. I like pieces with stories and furniture that stands out. Below is an armoire that was left for the trash at one of my mother’s listings. It has been housing my paint supplies in the basement and was practically falling apart. On afternoon, I repaired loose shelves, hammered on a the backing, and vacuumed 20 years of cobwebs from underneath. I primed this beauty and began to paint her a dark gray. In addition, a perfectly good vintage Kitchen Aid refrigerator that I traded a few hours of design for came in. The putty color would get painted with an appliance grade premium spray paint from Color Shot in Stamped Passport (navy) for a total transformation. (stay tuned for an upcoming finished look post)
Commercial Stainless Steel Sinks
The new Studio sink would be getting a lot of use and seeing a whole lot of paint. One day while cleaning my paint supplies at a recent restaurant mural project it hit me that a commercial stainless steel sink was the best option for a sleek look and easy clean up. I searched Craigslist. After seeing the price tag for a used one at just a $100 less than a new one the choice was obvious. I turned to Rochester Store Fixture a local restaurant equipment supplier. In one week my 60 inch shiny new sink arrived. Assembly was quick and no ordinary kitchen faucet would do. It was go big or stay home time. I chose this convertible deck mounted faucet with hand spray and I never looked back. Carrera marble knobs and a stunning quartz counter from Empire Fabricators would be next up on the list.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets
A tinted primer and two coats of a custom navy blue transform these ho-hum cabinets to statement beauties in one afternoon. The white marble hardware would pop! My vision was shaping up quickly.
Move In Day
A few weeks later a moving company transported all my art supplies, new chairs, and design props to the new space. How was this all in my home? Time to unpack….
Curtains rods and lighting were hung up, accent walls were painted and the new branding tags came in. The generic room was getting warmth and style.
Now to get painting art, ordering new furniture, styling shelves, host design and art classes and use this fabulous new space to host events. If you follow along on the Meme Hill Studio Instagram feed you know that nights and weekends were spent getting ready for the Grand Opening and then Covid19 put it all on hold……
Classes and Event
This nightmare has not dampened our lofty goals and 2020 plans. Although the door at Meme Hill Studio door remains locked and events and classes are on hold I have been dreaming up new ideas to share with you. Choosing to look on the bright side of quarantine, this time has given me more time for my true passion….painting. Prints and reproductions of my canvas will soon be available for sale and you will even be able to choose the size of your reproduction!
After several requests Meme Hill Studio is excited to finally offer both group and private classes. Our conference table can hold up to 18 students. Gather up your friends, workmates and family members and let the fun begin! Below is a partial list of topics from design to painting to real estate staging and even learning to navigate social media. Please leave a comment with your email below to be added to our mailing list. And feel free to leave any class ideas you’d like to see us offer.
- Mastering Social Media
- Tips & Tricks for Styling bookcases, Coffee Tables & more
- Understanding the Color Wheel
- Real Estate Home Staging
- Getting organized in style and a whole lot more………
- Painting Spring Florals
- Watercolor Techniques
- Hand-Painted Christmas Ornaments
- Block printing greeting cards
- Map art
- Painting furniture and much more! I CANNOT WAIT TO SHARE THIS FUN SPACE WITH YOU! In the next weeks it will be all furnished and the artwork hung! So come back. We will get through this together and come out on the other side of this nightmare stronger with a deeper appreciation of all everyday activities, gatherings and the people around us. Please stay safe and healthy! xoxox Amie
- A special thanks to the many friends and family members who got this place whipped into shape….
- Hank Williams Painting [email protected]
- Sean Carson Declan Painting [email protected]
- Sue Geiger Sewing & Window Treatments 585-721-2634