The "What a Difference the Floor Makes" Studio Makeover

The "What a Difference the Floor Makes" Studio Makeover

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Janel Laban
Apr 16, 2015
(Image credit: Brainstorm)

Project by: Brainstorm (they make really cute stuff!)
Location: Dover, NH

Creative work (such as illustration and printmaking!) just seems to flow more easily in a space that is warm, inviting and homey. It's just tougher to make art in a corporate office environment somehow. Well, Briana sent us in the story of how the team at Brainstorm turned the above office into a truly inspiring artist-friendly workplace by starting from the ground up...

(Image credit: Brainstorm)

Hi! I'm Briana, I run an art print and illustration studio (Brainstorm) based in Dover, New Hampshire (via Philadelphia, via NJ). We have moved around a ton in the last 7 years, waiting to find a great space to run our illustration and screenprinting business. We found it in New Hampshire, in a beautiful old mill.

"Back in August 2013, about a month before we officially moved into an early 1900's mill studio space, we had a big decision to make. We could either leave the floors carpeted and move right in, or risk (potential) hours of painstaking, backbreaking work to lift the carpet and see if there was hardwood underneath. Well, clearly nothing can get between us and the potential of a hardwood floor (even if it's just a rental...we've renovated more rentals than we'd like to admit...we like the thought of leaving things better than we found them). So we opted to take the risk.

(Image credit: Brainstorm)



We’d rather spend time over money for projects like this, and we aren't afraid of hard work, so we thought that a DIY game plan was the way to go. How hard could it be? Carpet, plywood, easy peasy. We got approval from the building managers and dug in. The berber carpet came up quickly and easily. Then came the plywood and masonite. And the sheet metal. And more plywood. And the particle board subfloor. All laid haphazardly in random chunks. We finally broke through...and there was hardwood underneath! But just getting to the base of the floor was really, really difficult. It was the two of us, with the help of two teenage brothers, but after two full days of pulling out staples and nails, having the particle board disintegrate with every crowbar pull, we had to call in the reserves. Craigslist provided us with three extra guys with roofing shovels, power tools and a can-do attitude. We had the whole floor ripped out and down to the aged hardwood in about three full days when all was said and done.

The floors hadn't been exposed to the air in decades, the wood could breathe for the first time. It definitely smelled like it but it was truly fantastic to see. Over the next two weeks, we hired someone to sand and stain the floors. We were so beat from the labor of exposing them that we didn't want to risk messing them up in the home stretch.

The wood floors have so much character and it makes the room a happier place to be. We love every weird and uneven floorboard. It may have been three days of hard labor, but we love our studio even more knowing that we are respecting the history of the old mill. We even found out later that this room was used as a printing studio at one time in its history. We brought the floors back to life so they could tell the story."

Check out their site to see the goodies they make in this lovely studio —> Brainstorm

Thanks, Briana!

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