Finding a new place in which to start over proved to be a positive transition and a bit of an adventure for artist and designer Stephanie Ryan. After becoming single for the first time in her adult life, Stephanie packed up her dog Luna almost a year ago and began searching for a home and studio environment that would refresh and inspire her ART + ALCHEMY watercolor painting brand. When she found an early-1800s stone farmhouse overlooking a gentleman’s farm — with cows and horses roaming in the pasture and a quaint little church across the street — she knew it was the right decision to relocate there to Honey Brook, PA. It was essential for Stephanie to find a place with a lot of character, a great view of the sky, and one surrounded by nature to nurture her creative spirit. Random-width wood floors, deep sills, exposed beams, and antique hardware made her decision easy. The 234-square-foot formal dining room quickly became her painting studio because of its beautiful built-in cabinetry, including a hidden wet bar that’s perfect for cleaning paintbrushes.
Stephanie makes watercolor florals, abstract landscapes, and organic intuitive paintings, and is currently in the process of translating her art into products like pillows, fabric, and stationery. “It was very important to find a house and studio that really supported me and my creative life and vision,” she shares. “I feel like my art fits so perfectly in this space — almost like it was meant to be!” Stephanie already had the two functional flat files and a table from the Martha Stewart Craft Series, but she needed a new desk that would complement the style of the house, be a focal point of the room, and help her look forward to spending time there. Luckily, the house is a short drive to Lancaster County where she picked up a stunning handcrafted wood piece, a table for her sewing machine, and a great rustic bench to use as a styling prop and for project display. Linen pin boards from Pottery Barn hold inspiration as well as current works. As Stephanie creates new art, she likes to hang it on the walls and experiment with frames. She is always on the lookout for objects that can be used for styling her photography, so the room is full of glass bottles, crystals, fabrics, and unique pieces that complement her aesthetic. She added some temporary lighting from IKEA over her work station using Command Strips and linen sleeves to hide the wires, providing better visual clarity to her workspace.
The historic qualities of the studio make it feel unique, and the countryside view keeps her grounded while working. Stephanie wanted to create an inspiring and nurturing environment that supports her practice on a daily basis. “Even though finding this space came from a difficult place,” she reflects, “It has opened up a new door for my creativity and a new chapter in my life.” —Annie
Photography by Chaucee Stillman