Ocean Fresh

I love the ocean, and I am saturated with peace when I am near the water.  I grew up on the lake and looking back, I realize too often that I took for granted the beauty that was before me on a daily basis and now I miss it so very much.  I dream of having a space that I am energized by and would love to share with all of my clients.  I dream of a place that envelops those that enter with a sense of peace, tranquility, and rejuvenation.  I am inspired by blue, teal, turquoise, white, silver, grey.  I want to feel the ocean, even if I cannot see it…

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The studio is very large.  The portion that I will be using is 1,200 sq. ft. and that is amazing, but to cover a floor that large, no matter what medium, is quite intimidating.  I considered carpet, tile, wood, vinyl, laminate, paint, stain and even a brown paper application that looked totally cool like I found on this blog by Freckle Face Girl and this blog by Domestic Imperfection. I still want to do the brown paper/faux wood look somewhere at some point down the road, but not on 1,200 sq. ft. of space.  I am considering doing the stairs to the studio, however.

So, I settled on staining.  I considered acid staining until I got quotes to have it done.  Upwards of $6,000 quotes from a few companies got me thinking if I could do it on my own.  I spent hours and hours culling over websites and photos and videos on the process. I am well-versed on how to stain floors, that’s for sure.  The process of applying the acid stain, neutralizing, washing, sucking up the water, cleaning, etc., etc. was daunting.  Especially the not so appealing part with fumes, gas masks, and potentially splashing acid onto my skin didn’t sound like a viable option. I needed something awesome that was easy to apply, was available directly to consumers, and was low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or the stinky stuff in stains/paints, etc.

I searched and searched, and found that the common, everyday stuff found at the big home improvement stores were not what I was looking for.  I was looking for the color of the ocean and that was hard to come by.  I then came across two companies.  One, Direct Colors, sold acid stain and another company, RadonSeal, sold a water based radon sealer stain called LastiSeal. I ordered samples from both companies and the winner was RadonSeal.  Their product, LastiSeal not only had a product that came in my favorite color, but it would also protect and seal the cement I was putting it on and waterproof all in one!  Oh, and non-toxic, non-flammable, non-hazardous and VERY LOW VOC.  I barely smelled it, and I am an extremely sensitive sniffer! LOL  However, I did return to Direct Colors to purchase their sealer, because it too is low VOC and water based.  While I technically didn’t need it, I wanted the extra shine it provided and to protect the stain even further from scratches that might occur with all the moving of my equipment. I am extremely happy with both companies and highly recommend them.  For those DIY’ers, I used 6 gallons of each product for this 1,200 sq. ft. project.  I have quite a bit of stain left, but I have barely any sealer left.

I hired a contractor to do the work for me, and they cleaned and prepped the surface and applied the first coat.  But, after seeing it dry, it was not at all what I wanted, so I took over the project to apply my artistic touch.  Here is what it looked like during and after the first coat.

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Not exactly what it looks like in the sample photos at the top of this blog… but just wait.  I took over and applied the stain with a garden sprayer and then used a rag/faux technique to work it into the cement to create movement and variations.  (Think ocean.)  Here it is after another coat of stain while it is still wet.  You can see how I used a figure 8 motion across the entire floor.

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A total of 5 coats of stain and 6 coats of clear sealer later, my shoulders were killing me!!! It took me a couple of weeks to get all of the coats applied because there is drying time required between coats, and it took several more weeks before I could put anything heavy on the floor to allow it to cure, but the results are in!  The floor looks amazing and I am SUPER happy with the outcome!

Drumroll please…. (I promise to get better photos once the space it completed.)

Lights on…

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Lights off… the color changes with the time of day too!

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I am super happy!  Now it’s time to fill that space and bring in the clients!

 

Inspiration and Exploration

As I journey forward on this studio quest, I am constantly inspired while I explore the possibilities.  I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, Google, and my fellow photographer friends. Here are just a few of my findings that inspire me through this process.

I want the space to feel comfortable, peaceful, elegant and sophisticated, but with a touch of artistic flair.  It is an artistic space, and a place that I can feel inspired and give my clients a memorable experience, and create beautiful portraits.

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