For a very long time I have dreamed about having a studio. One that wasn’t in my spare bedroom. One that had lots of room to move around and natural light coming through the windows. One that I could keep away from my children! It seemed so unrealistic for me. I could envision it but everytime I would drive around town looking for leased space, nothing caught my eye. We live on a lot that was once two separate lots. The original owners of our house had them combined so they wouldn’t have to share a driveway with a potential neighbor. It made sense, and when we bought the house one of the things that drew us in was the fact that it was on a huge lot, one that could have a pool…or whatever we wanted!
The years went by and this huge yard became a huge problem because our lawn cost a fortune to water every summer, and the kids only used a tiny portion of it. It was a total waste. I bet you know where I am going….After converting my spare bedroom into studio and shooting in it for 3 years, it just kept getting more and more crowded. I literally could only fit 2 adults in this space! Pretty soon I moved into my living room where I could actually photograph people taller than 2 feet high. But then my living room became crowded with props and paper rolls. Not to mention that fact that I have two kids and no matter how long I cleaned before a session, the place was ALWAYS a mess. One day I had the realization that if my work was ever going to grow to the next level, I was going to need a studio. My husband thought I was a crazy person. “Why do you need a studio? How is that going to make you any money???” The subject got ignored for months. But when I went to sleep at night I could picture it all….the windows, the flooring, the photos coming out of it. So I kept pressing. Anyone that knows me knows that when I want something badly enough, I am going to get it – regardless of how many people tell me I can’t.
So it was, and Travis finally relented. I figured out how I was going to pay for it and had hired a contractor. The county approved the building permit and on August 27, 2012 ground was broken. I stood out in the yard watching the backho – and I couldn’t believe it was real. My dream was finally coming true right in front of me. About an hour later I heard loud knocking on my front door. When I answered it it was my neighbor who adamantly insisted that the county had NOT in fact approved the permit and I should not be able to build in this neighborhood. I was floored. Why would someone NOT want this 750 sq ft building? What would the problem be? As diplomatically as I could, I tried to explain to this man that I have been doing business (legally) out of my house for the last 3 years, and the only thing that would change was a small building in the back. Same number of clients, no more traffic, etc. But there was no consoling him. I found out later that day that the county did in fact issue the building permit in error and I had to wait 6 weeks to allow anyone in the neighborhood to voice their concerns about the building. I was so mad, so depressed and so completely dumbfounded that this was happening.
After the 8 LOOOOONG weeks (and several bottles of wine), my permit was finally reinstated. In November of 2012 the project reconvened. But this time I was VERY timid. I wondered, “what next? is an astroid going to fall from the sky and destroy it?” I wasn’t optimistic at all (so many more details about the super unorganized county that I will spare you), but when the studio was finally complete on December 7th, I felt the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders. I shot my very first baby in the studio the very next morning. The studio was a dusty mess, nothing was in it except a beanbag and a roll of paper! My poor clients even sat on the floor! But wow…it was a real studio and it was mine all mine!
Once again it is a reminder that nothing in life (that really matters) is going to be easy to achieve. You must work hard, you must not take no for an answer and you must keep trudging forward. This is what I know for sure and what I will always teach my children. Take a look at one of the biggest accomplishments of my life:
The first time it actually looked like something was being constructed (excuse my cell phone photo)!
Drywall being finished. I could finally tell what it would look like from the inside!
From the outside. I have to wait until it’s over 45 degrees to paint it, but you get the idea
The bay window that I dreamed about!
After the 2nd paint job, I finally like the grey/white combo
I like to call this corner the “lobby”
I want to thank all of my clients for coming to me over the last few years. I honestly could NEVER have done this without you. Your support and loyalty will never be forgotten! xo Kelly