Thursday, January 16, 2014

Closet Remodel: Make a Music Studio

That's Noah second from right. 

My 14-year-old, Noah, is a rock musician. He's been playing guitar since he was four, and electric since he was eleven.

More than anything else, this is who he is. Sometimes, our house is pretty loud, and I never know what I'm going to get-- Nirvana, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd.

Some moms wonder how I can take it, but really? I love it. I enjoy listening to his practice become something concert-worthy. He was in his first band last summer as part of a "school of rock"-type project, and he was a natural on stage.

But his bedroom was slowly becoming a shambling pile of equipment, and we were trying to figure out a great way to deal with it.

Luckily he has two closets, side-by-side, in his room, and he and I decided to figure out what we could do with one of them for what he called a "fold out studio." It was part of his birthday present.

This was not a project about getting things perfect. The interior of this closet is missing trim, is full of nail holes, and even has a cold air return rough-cut into the bottom right side.

I didn't care. It's a closet. We weren't going to get bogged down in the (slightly shabby) details.

Noah chose a color scheme: turquoise, red, black, and metallic gold.

We picked up a quart of Valspar's Aqua Dance paint:

And got right down to business:

This is a teenage rock star looking dubious about being photographed, and how the paint color looks on the first coat:

And he's right. The first coat in bright/dark/intense colors always looks terrible:

But with a full three coats, it got dark and rich in there, and was a perfect backdrop for red, white, black, and metallic gold art and furnishings:

Meet D.J. Max. He was named as a pun on the chain store, and in honor of Max Headroom (remember him, Generation Xers?) He's a foam head, painted with metallic gold acrylic craft paint. He's mounted on a wood craft square, spray-painted glitter black. Max is there to hold Noah's head phones when not in use. The sun glasses are just because he too cool.

The letter "N" (which Noah says stands for "notorious" rather than his name) is also a craft store item, spray painted red.

I bought a piece of metal lattice screen at the hardware store to cover up the cold air return near the floor, but we got the idea to use it as a template for street-graffiti-like paint on the wall. I held it up and spray painted over the piece horizontally in gold, and vertically in black. I didn't try to make it perfect, or nice. I just went with it.

The record turntable graphic is from Etsy seller Benton Park Prints, and both the colors and quotes are customizable. The Jimmy Page quote is one of Noah's favorites, and the print was a birthday present for him.

The closet organizer shelf is one I had in my own closet upstairs, but it was so far in a deep corner it was always empty. The magazine organizer is from Ikea and is for sheet music and notebooks. The bottom soft-sided basket I found at the grocery store, of all places, in the back-to-school section. It holds smaller pieces of gear. Since these photos were taken we've added a pencil/pen holder, a small tray to hold guitar picks, and his metronome on the empty shelf.

You can see in the photo above the metal lattice panel that covers the cold air return. Right now it's not even fastened to the wall, but it will be as I finish up little details. It's spray painted gold, and adds to the industrial look. The posters we hung with binder clips nailed to the wall, so Noah could switch things out as his tastes change.

There is room for Noah's guitar stand (with the beloved Fender Strat) and his mini-amp. When it's all closed up he can also tuck in a folding stool and sheet music stand. We spray painted the closet shelves black (one is missing from the photo above), and left the hanging bar in so the space will convert back to conventional storage quickly if it needs to.

It's at its best as a stage for what Noah does every day: practice. Because it's a long way to the top if you want to rock-n-roll.

That's a laid-back, practice version of the guitar hook from "Good Times," by Led Zeppelin. And we had a good time putting this together. It was nice to just shoot for the effect, have fun, and not worry about the details. Kind of like a good jam session.


Design Note: 

This is the weirdest design note ever. Trust me. It has to do with the making of D.J. Max:

Uh. If you ever get the idea that you need a painted craft foam head in your life (and I'm sure that happens almost daily, right?), please remember this.

DO NOT use spray paint.

When Noah and I first conceived of this idea as a cool way to park his headphones, I just thought I'd pick up one of those mini-cans of metallic spray paint, and away we'd go.

Only, as I sprayed, it was clear something wasn't going right. It was kind of a horror show. The first Max began melting before our eyes.

His skin became pitted, and he had a severe cranial depression right on top of his skull. We learned the hard way that the solvents in spray paint dissolve styrofoam.

Now you know. If you need to know. Really, did anyone need to know this?

1 comment:

  1. You ROCK (pun intended) my awesome cousin! What a lucky guy to have such a cool Mom!