before & after: craft studio makeover

Raw, open spaces like this can be exciting but also overwhelming, especially if they arrive in this kind of chaotic condition. How do you fill the space and make it welcoming but stay within a modest budget? The answer in Renee’s case was lots of fresh, white paint and cleverly repurposed materials to create storage and furniture. Renee is using the space to launch her new business, Re: Creative, a DIY and craft studio in Toronto where she offers classes and workshops. I love the limited palette, which includes pops of bright neon and warm wood, and the industrial touches that double as furniture are so smart. I wish I lived in the area so I could stop by and take a class. Nice work, Renee! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

See the full post after the jump . . .

Time: one month

Cost: $2000 (includes all accessories, paint, drywall, baseboards, lighting, furniture, etc.)

Basic Steps: We had to insulate and drywall the entire space. Everything, including the wood ceiling, was given a fresh coat of white paint to brighten up the space. We cleaned up the cement floor and put on a semi-gloss coating to keep the look of the concrete. The paint colour is Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White, crates on the walls are from Michael’s, and fabric for the sofa is from Designer Fabrics. Most things in the space were some sort of DIY: an old door was turned into a console table using plumbing pipes as the base; old skids were used as a sofa; the craft tables were made out of plywood and spooled legs we painted; the chairs were Craigslist finds that we painted black; the armoire was also a Craigslist find that we revamped; the pendant lights are IKEA and we spray painted them; and most of the art was all DIY.

My biggest piece of advice is to have a concrete plan. Make a renovation schedule so that everything is broken down into steps. This really helps to make things feel not so overwhelming. And get your friends and family to help out — made a world of a difference to me! — Renee

  1. Nothing would make me more happy than having my own space to create! I adore this makeover. I’m in need of one of these. :)


  2. What an awesome space! So big and light! I just did a craftroom makeover myself – my room is not nearly as big but it makes me smile:

  3. Faith says:

    I need this space in my life… sigh… in my dreams.

  4. That is just insane! I have never seen such a horrible space turned into something so beautiful. Great work!


  5. Leanne says:

    Well Done!!!Also recently revamped a exterior guest room on our farm. Check it out over here:

  6. Wow! Amazing and so well done!

  7. Wow! I LOVE the ceiling. I would love a space like that. She did a great job and the wall art/frames is pretty cool to :)

  8. Wow, what a difference! Your hard work has really paid off.

  9. So gorgeous! I love that it was kept simple and minimal. This is an amazing transformation!

  10. Space looks awesome and the classes are tons of fun! I’ve already taken a couple and plan on signing up for many more!

  11. My mind is blown. The formerly chaotic interior was transformed into a slightly-weathered, warehousey space. I adore the new look!

  12. Brenda says:

    How wonderful and on a tight budget!! great job.

  13. Rachel says:

    This is a serious makeover. Love the pallet benches. Hooray for Toronto creatives!

  14. cori says:

    So awesome. I am wishing for a space like this to call my own

  15. Amy says:

    Love the space and would love to know your tips on painting the ceiling. We’re going to do the same thing to our DIY basement redo and would love to hear what you think you did right and what you would do differently. Thanks

  16. Wyetha says:

    I would just love to have a space for all my project + especially to paint my commissioned work. I’m so jealous.

  17. Jane says:

    Wow, that is amazing and I love the pallets as seating- great job!

  18. Mallory says:

    Wow! It’s amazing the transformation that took place on such a small budget.

  19. Thanks for all the nice comments!

    @amy – we used a sprayer to paint the ceiling. So much easier than rolling!

  20. Hyun says:

    What a great way to show the different usage of the found objects. Simple painting and creative ideas make wonderful interior design. Thanks for sharing.

  21. With that space…and with that budget…unbelievable! I am thoroughly impressed.

  22. Leone says:

    Fantastic! Especially when you consider the small budget.

  23. Rachel May says:

    This is super cute! I would love to craft in this space.

  24. kathy farrell says:

    Inspirational. This too was my plan for my garage. I have carved out a section for me to use as mosaic studio. Had hoped to enlarge my space to access the entire garage space, until my daughter and in-laws decided it was time for each of them to move, downsize and they need a place to store their stuff. Guess where??? Some day. Going to save this as a favorite.

  25. The ceiling really makes the room. Looks great!

  26. Katie says:

    Wow! Just… wow! What a transformation! This space turned out absolutely stunning!

  27. This is awesome! Proper great job, Renee. But what happened to those cool glass pyramid displays in the first pic?? I can totally see a terrarium, or crystals going under there.. or, you know, cookies or whatever…

  28. cristina says:

    wow great job! looks like a good place to put a few plastic bottle lights in the ceiling to let more natural light in & save on energy costs

  29. Maggie says:


  30. margarita says:

    nice transformation, I wish I had a space like this where to work.

  31. Britney says:

    oh thats so pretty!

  32. Carolyn L says:

    Those custom cushions on the palettes are so perfect – I would love that in my studio!
    xo, carolyn

  33. Jenn says:

    I love the crate couch! After spending an hour trying to wrestle a too-big couch through a too-small door last night (it never did work), this looks like the perfect solution. Did you have to have the foam custom made for the cushions?

  34. Sheetal says:

    looks wonderful after change, liked it so much.

  35. @Jenn – The foam is custom cut to the correct size. Switch Studios in Toronto made them for me :)

  36. Jenn says:

    Thanks, Renee! Very inspiring before & after. Enjoy your new space! :)

  37. Laura says:

    Great job…now if I could only increase the SIZE of the room I need to make over I’d be in business! I’m an artist in a small house with a very tiny bedroom. Just my easel takes up a large portion of the room…not even counting my large canvas’s! It’ll happen….

  38. Marlo says:

    I don’t mean to be a debbie downer, but I see pressure treated stamps all over those pallets… I know it seems like a good idea, but the chemicals those things are baked in are carcinogens, people! Not to mention pallets being blamed as the carrier for the e.coli spinach epidemic a few summers ago… just, please do your research D*S readers before snuggling up to used pallets!

  39. Chrystina says:

    This looks incredible!! I love how bright and airy it looks!!

  40. jen says:

    Holy crap! I had that same armoire (recently sold it on Criag’s list). I always wondered what it would look like painted (great!). I love how you left the hinges rusty. That thing must have sucked up the paint! Great job!

  41. Anthea Grob says:

    Love the cotton reel heart.


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