Jeff's Garage to Art Studio Conversion

Jeff's Garage to Art Studio Conversion

Bethany Nauert
Feb 20, 2012

Name: Jeff McMillan
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 200 square feet

Last time we got a peek inside Jeff's artist studio, was over a year ago when Marcia and I shot the McMillan's house tour. Jeff's wife Liv, was just a couple months pregnant and they had yet to begin converting his old studio into what is now their baby nursery. Jeff's next step, take an empty garage and transition it into his new art studio.

As a fine artist who works from home, it was essential that his new workspace be spacious enough to store all his supplies, his accessories and paintings. He took their home garage and completely renovated the interior. Adding walls over the raw wood structure, and building shelving systems he was able to leave room for other home storage necessities. Even though his studio is no longer inside the home, it's a mere few feet away which keeps him close to his daughter's nursery.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: My wife would say we're pretty eclectic and colorful in our style, and favor vintage over new. I usually agree with her.

The inspiration for my home office: When we found out Liv was pregnant, we started to make arrangements to transform the garage into my studio, since my old studio was in the house in what was to become the baby's room. It took about 2 months to clear it out and construct it, adding a partition wall, insulation, a new window, etc. It's pretty much just plain white walls and cement floors; a very basic and clean design. Of course it's been broken into now and it's not so clean anymore but still super functional. It was a major upgrade for me space-wise. The old studio was nice but it was small. There's something to be said for leaving the house to go to work, even if it's 20 feet from the house. I'm still going to work, can't beat the commute.

Favorite element in your space: The desk space and walls. I looked at several friends' studios to see how they set up their space. I always liked large desktops so I took four IKEA desktops and made a large working space. I like the idea of having a multi functional desktop area where you can have several things going on at once. The walls are the same idea where I can have several canvases and bulletin boards hanging up and inspiration/ reference photos pinned up around them. It's great to have everything I need for a project all set up around me, and now I have the space to have several projects going on at once. That's something that I couldn't have done in the other space.

Biggest challenge in designing my space: It was a blank canvas, a completely bare room. It was kind of intimidating. I had to figure out how to maximize the space and make it most useful for what I needed it for. I see it going through several metamorphoses in the future.

What friends say about my space: I'm usually told how lucky I am to have a room to myself, for work. I'm super fortunate and totally appreciate it.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: I think I need more lights, maybe a couple more flood lamps. I'd like a flat screen TV because I really enjoy listening to movies that I've seen before while I work. I look up every now and then and watch my favorite parts. Other than that, I'm totally happy with the space.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: We hired a contractor and an electrician to convert the garage for us so I can't take credit for that. We wanted an insulated/ sheet rocked room and felt that it was best to leave it to the professionals. The best DIY we did was prepping the garage before the construction started. My father-in-law is a workhorse so we had him help us rip out the old garage shelving units and do several trips to the dump getting rid of all our junk that was stashed in there. It was a good feeling to get rid of stuff and start new. We're a lot more organized now with our garden supplies and tools, etc since we cut down the garage storage space to the size of a small shed.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: The same answer Liv will give when you ask her about her office. It's all mine!! It's nice a having a space all to myself. It's detached from the house too so it's nice feeling that I'm going to work and having all my stuff in one space. I always felt bad about having my stuff creep out of the studio when it was in the house because of limited space. I have enough room where that doesn't happen anymore. Plus Liv doesn't get a say when it comes to what I have in there. She gets a say with what's in the house.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Everything is Apple. I like having all my tech stuff on one platform. Everything is all synced up. It's a fully operational battle station.

Dream source for stuff: : I'd love a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air. I need a laptop. Well, I don't need one, I just want one. I'm still not sold on the iPads yet. I could use a new Epson printer, a large format one would be ideal. Like I said earlier a flat screen TV, but I'm pretty happy with all my stuff at this point.


Home Tech Hardware: Epson Photo Printer 2200(I need a upgrade soon), 27in iMac, Wacom tablet, iPhone 4S, 3 Lacie hard drives back ups, canon power shot cameras and a Tivoli am/fm table radio. I'm getting a techniques turn table with a 1970's receiver from a friend next month, so I'll get to revisit my record collection.

Furniture: Not much, just four IKEA table-tops and some shelving units. A file cabinet and matching orange metal shelf from CB2. That's about it. It's pretty bare bones out there.

Accessories: I have way too many little things! Books, Bearbricks, kaiju figurines, a collection of random paintings that I love.

Lighting: Desk lamps (IKEA) and fluorescent daylight fixtures.

Additional Elements: (remove if none are provided or applicable)
Painting credits, there's quite a few of them going clockwise from door to the studio
• Portrait of Walt Disney Miles Thompson
• Boogeyman by Ken Garduno
• Portrait of Russian Hockey Player by Phil Hayes
• Walrus clown and Walrus ink drawings above the bearbricks by Alex Pardee
• Blue hand holding ping racket by Seth Drenner
• RVCA shirt graphics by Jeff McMillan
• Haunted Mansion Stretching portrait prints by Marc Davis
• Die Automaten by Thomas Broersma
• RVCA shirt graphics by Jeff McMillan
• 6 Blue Portraits by Jeff McMillan
• Beware Mtn by Jeff McMillan
• Legend of the Black Shawarma album cover art by Jeff McMillan
• El Porto by John Culqui
• Gun Camera Photo Collage by Phil Hale
• Tiki surfing skeleton man by Miles Thompson
• This Shit stops here! Cross stitch by Diana Trondsen
• Futura by Brendan Monroe
• Zuben Car 13 by Jeff McMillan
• Beware by Jacob Macgraw Mickelson

(Images:Bethany Nauert)

Created with Sketch.