Little Things Add Up

With Sam Austin after hanging artwork in his new gallery.

It started with three gallons of yellow paint, rotting rafters, and a glass of lemonade.

Nine years later, I sit in my studio as a full-time artist writing a blog post. I never would have guessed it would turn out this way.

Knowing that we needed to paint the trim on our little 1954 brick ranch house, Jack and I spent most of the summer negotiating over paint chips. I was pushing for dark, dusky purple, and Jack wanted anything but that. We finally compromised on a nice safe yellow. I went out to buy paint, and Jack started the prep work, scraping the fascia in back.

I returned with the yellow paint to learn that Jack had found an issue a coat or two of paint wasn’t going to cover: a number of rotted rafters. From the top of the ladder, I tossed out the comment that if we ever wanted to “pop the top” we should talk about it before we paid for a new roof.

That led to a tour of the neighborhood, discussing what we liked and didn’t like in the few remodels at the time. We both agreed that we should talk to Sam Austin, the architect for a number of the ones we liked. That’s where the lemonade comes in—just the week before Jack had bought a glass of lemonade from Sam and Claire’s children.

We met with Sam, and he gave us addresses for other homes he had remodeled in other neighborhoods for us to look at. When we met with Sam again, Jack famously told him that he really hated some of his remodels but we wanted to hire him anyway. When the drawings were rolled out and I got to see the upstairs with the new studio space for the first time, I knew we had picked the right architect. Sam totally understood what I needed even if I didn’t know at the time what that was.

Once I moved into the studio, I felt a need to do something that was going to be worthy of the space and all the effort that went into building it. I have shaped the space to fit my changing needs, but it has also shaped me. This is my favorite place to be, the place I’m most comfortable.

Thank you, Sam, for helping shape the badass artist I am today.

Oh, and the paint . . . I won. The trim on our remodeled home is dark, dusky purple.