Junk Room to Studio Makeover Part 1


This is the dreaded junk room. Big, Victorian houses have so many rooms that it’s easy to end up with one (or more!) that are just piled up with stuff.  It’s the only room in the house that I haven’t touched at all. The house was a foreclosure, and in pretty rough shape when I bought it, so this room still has the filthy green carpet, ugly green valances, and stenciled star decoration, My goal is to turn it into a studio/office/workroom while spending as little as possible and making use of stuff I already have.

more mess

Still more mess, and most of it really isn’t junk. There are many pastel paintings by my stepdad, artist Richard Miles. He and my mom live in the other half of my duplex, and they don’t have a climate-controlled area to store his paintings that overflow from his studio. Pastels are very delicate, so they’ve been laid out all over the room. The first thing I needed to do was to box up all of the paintings.

I layered the pastels between sheets of glassine, laid them in shallow boxes, and stored them in the big closet of this room (it has a window, and was probably a nursery at one time). You can see it (with the lovely orange floral wallpaper) in the photo above. The shelves of the closet had just a few paintings laid on each shelf, so I needed to make much better use of the space.

Here’s what it looks like now:


I didn’t disturb paintings that had already been layered with glassine (they’re just too delicate), but I did photograph each painting that I boxed up and numbered the boxes. That way my stepdad can look through the files on the computer to find a particular painting.

pastel painting

Here is one I photographed as I was boxing it up. Isn’t his work beautiful?

pastel storage with shelf system

Here is the rest of the storage. The cabinet is a shelf I built him for Christmas a few years ago. It holds 48 paintings on foamcore.

With the paintings safely stored, the room was looking much better!


I  recycled a giant load of cardboard, took a few bags to goodwill, and sold several items to a local antique dealer. I’m a packrat by nature, but I’ve become pretty ruthless about getting rid of stuff. It doesn’t help to keep things around “just in case” if it prevents you from using the space you have. After four two-hour cleaning sessions (less than I expected), the room was looking much better.


That’s a lot of progress already! I’ll post again tomorrow with Part 2.

— Loryn

2 thoughts on “Junk Room to Studio Makeover Part 1

    1. I’ve had the house for six years. The beautiful woodwork was one of the things that made me fall in love with it! Thanks!

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