Before & After: A Very Creative Use For a Former "Spider Dungeon"

Before & After: A Very Creative Use For a Former "Spider Dungeon"

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Tess Wilson
May 18, 2018
(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

Be forewarned: This makeover is going to involve a lot of white paint, but when you're attempting to make the most of a spider dungeon (or a dark, cramped space in a basement), you go with whatever works, and in this case, bright white paint worked like a charm.

(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

Wow. What a dreamy little art studio! All of that white paint on the walls and floor makes the most of the daylight coming through the small window, and the entire room is like an excitingly blank canvas and a sophisticated gallery in one. The pegboard and table were refreshed with paint but retain all of their utility. The tabletop and the ceiling beams were left unpainted, adding to the beauty and warmth of wood to the room.

Amanda Sandlin created this studio from what others saw as a lost space:

Maybe I'm crazy (my boyfriend certainly thought I was at the time) but I didn't just see a spider dungeon and THE ugliest burgundy-stained floor ever, I saw potential. With a little (correction: A LOT) scrubbing and a few coats of white paint, I knew it could be the new home to my art practice.

(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

Here's that small window, and it is indeed tiny—but so much better than nothing!

After realizing a formal studio practice wasn't right for me, I began to play with the idea of making a home studio. This is the only room in the house that's unfinished (concrete walls and floors), which, although covered in dust and cobwebs, would become perfect for a studio.

So, what that all says to me is that the floor was burgundy-stained concrete? No judgement, but I had no idea that was a thing one could even do.

(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

Looking at this space now, it is, as Amanda said, perfect for a studio. If you have a similarly overlooked, underappreciated, and/or spider-infested room in your home, Amanda has some encouragement and advice:

Paint goes such a long way. Be careful not to clutter a dark room, it makes it feel darker for some reason. Keep it minimal and clean.

(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

This corner of the room is so lovely. The hues and swirls in the wood are fascinating and beautiful, the color of the chair is just right with all of the other elements, and all in all it looks like the perfect spot for taking a breath and a break. Argh, I love this corner so much! Here's how it—and the rest of the space—came together:

It took me about one month and cost ~$300. My boyfriend helped put up the beetle kill pine wall and install a new track light, but the rest was all me.

A whole new studio for $300? Amazing! Let this inspire all of us to reevaluate our own spider dungeons—or scorpion crawlspaces or raccoon attics—to see if they can be reimagined, repurposed, and repainted!

(Image credit: Amanda Sandlin)

I'm pleased to see that Amanda is as taken with this new studio as I am:

I love how bright it is. Even though there is only a tiny window and it's totally underground, the white walls and floor makes it feel light. I wouldn't do anything differently. I did the best with what I had!

Thanks, Amanda Sandlin!

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