Friday, July 11, 2014

Artist Studio Search: Atlanta

The rad daddy in the Phillies hat holding the ADORABLE baby girl is my husband, Jason Espey.  He is a Studio Incamminati alum in search of a studio space here in Atlanta.  Together we are on a journey to seek out the perfect working studio space for him to thrive as a fine art painter.  For information on portrait paintings, commissions, current works, classes, etc. check out Jason's Facebook page, Jason Espey Art or Twitter page @JasonEspey.

What got us started...

1.) Jason needs a place to work.  
2.) We need our home to return to a living quarters.
3.) I love real estate and a good bargain.

So there you have it...

Follow our journey on Instagram or Twitter #studioespey

But First... A Little BACKGROUND:

We are Atlanta transplants via Philadelphia via Alabama.  We are still getting our feet wet here in The Dirty South, The Big Peach, The ATL... the list goes on.  Although it has been almost a year now, and it is time to dive-in!  You may have read my first post about Atlanta.  Reverse culture shock is a real thing!  I was not happy.  I was also pregnant and hormonal.  So, Atlanta, I am sorry.  You may have more to offer than what I led on.  Here goes nothing.  A little commitment may be a good thing after all.  If you think we are joking, just look at that baby.  She means business.  Don't mess with her daddy! 



Ok, this place is just cool.  A hidden gem ITP (that means Inside the Perimeter... a little ATL slang.  I'm still learning).  This is inside the city, folks!  I am stepping on the grounds of every hipsters' dream.  True living off the grid in a sense with the accessibility of the city, coffee shops and whatever else up and coming Riverside has to offer.  I met a shepherd! In what modern day world does one meet a shepherd (a person who herds sheep)?  Need I remind you that we are in Atlanta?  This is far from Lancaster, PA (Amish Country).  Meeting a shepherd is peculiar, and I for one am intrigued.  Ok, enough about shepherds.  On with the studio space.  Here are the digs.

Soooo, it's a shed.  Maybe a mini-barn.  Whatever it is a shack, but it might just be perfect.  The space is good. Here we have a one room open studio with some windows allowing natural light, but zippo electricity.  Depending on the way you look at it, that could be a good (no utility bills) or a bad thing (hot summer heat).  There is a remedy!  The landlord is willing to provide an electrical cord for extra lighting or a small fan.  The heat should not be too unmanageable.  We have been fortunate to experience a mild summer thus far, and we are moving towards Fall soon.

Ok, so it is a bit wild, a bit gritty.  What do you think?  Could this work for a fine art painter's personal studio space?  While I let you wrap your brain around that, let us break for lunch.  Philly style!

Lunch Break: WOODY'S

Jason did the honors of ordering the grub.  Did you know that there is a proper way to order a cheese steak?  Seriously, check it out here.  No worries. We got this!  Wit!

My recommendation, forget all the rules and make friends with the employees and the locals.   You are in the South after all.  We talk to everyone like we have known them since kindergarten. 

Ok, back to business...

Studio DOS:  The B Complex

Next we headed over to West End to check out The B Complex.  This is located in the "Don't go there" part of town, but we like to remind ourselves that we lived next to a drug dealer in Philly, and he was the nicest person on the block (of course he was... he is a business man)!  Artists are brave (poor) souls who are not overly concerned with what is currently hip.  Places like Decatur, Avondale Estates, and Cabbagetown have priced-out new artists in town.  If you are in one of those areas and you were lucky enough to get locked-in before the prices sky-rocketed then that is great.  Stay put while we search out the digs on cheap.  

We were not able to speak with an actual landlord, but we were able to mosey around a bit.  This is the current studio that is available.

Pros: We hear it is fairly cheap, and local artists are all around.
Cons: This is a room where traffic flows, and it is poor lighting.

Meet the Artist:  Sylvia Gbaby Cohen

Sylvia was nice enough to invite us into her studio space at The B-Complex.  This will give you an idea on what an empty room can become.   Sylvia works with all types of mediums and has very vibrant collection of works varying from portraits to wearable art such as handbags.  Sylvia's work celebrates women of color and their individuality.  Her motto, "Be You. Be Proud.  Be Noticed in a Crowd."  Sylvia will be showing her work at the Heritage Arts & Soul Festival July 25 - 27.   

So what are your thoughts?  Should an artist invest his time in a space which is secluded but accessible or a place where he will be surrounded by other like-minded individuals?  The tour does not stop here! We will be venturing to one... possibly two more locations this week.  So stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Free your mind and the rest will follow!"

This is what I feel like shouting from the rooftops!  Has it really been five months since I last blogged?  Yes.  Yes, it has.  


To celebrate our little comeback at The Tiny Abode, I am teaming up with in this blog post. contacted me to do a review on one of their products.  I felt that this would be the perfect motivation to get me back into the joys of blogging.  More importantly, I cleaned my desk!!

I am reviewing the Adesso Graham Desk Lamp

I chose this lamp due to its sleek design and pharmacy / industrial style.  As you can see, I have a quite traditional French Provincial desk. I needed something to modernize the room... add a little pizazz, if you will.  I was not too familiar with LED lighting prior to using this lamp.  I was quite intrigued!  See that tiny circle in the middle in the pic below... that's it!  Crazy, I know.  It's so tiny!

 But check this out!

For such a tiny bulb, it gives off substantial lighting.  I purposely took this photograph at night so that you could see the real affect.  The lighting was not what I expected at first, and it took me some time to get use to it.  Most of the standard bulbs which we purchase in stores are more of a warm light.  Warm lighting definitely has its place.  However, having the right type of lighting in the appropriate setting is what makes a space work.  I might not choose to have an LED light in my living room; a space where I want to feel warm and inviting... cozy... go ahead fall asleep on my couch.   In my work space, I need something that is going to keep me awake!  It's not unbearable, by no means.   It's appropriate. My husband, who is a painter, is always proclaiming how essential it is to have the right type of lighting.  Any photographer would second that!

Here are some perks about LED lighting provided by Adesso: 

* Energy Efficient
* LED's last up to 50,000 hours
* SAFE: does not get hot
* SAFE: shatterproof, vibration resistant

Oh, and I added some original oil paintings by Jason Espey Art.  That wall was crying for some attention.  See what a little ol' lamp can inspire you to do!  The space really does feel so much more inviting!  We have a lot of work to do in the bedroom still, but this is definitely a nice start!  

And here's a lil' something to get you motivated! 

Disclaimer:  The information provided in this post is based on my own research and experience.  None of the above should be considered as a substitute for your own product research.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

SMS: Super Mom Syndrome

I recently signed up for Apartment Therapy's January Cure putting rather high expectations on myself.    We definitely have been putting our fair share into organizing our tiny abode in preparation for baby (Holy Heck!  Am I 35 weeks already!?), but by no means am I following the guidelines or email notifications that Apartment Therapy has been sending me (in which I signed up for).  On the other hand, I think that you should!  It's really a great tool, but there are WAY too many distractions and baby preparations going down in this apartment to seriously follow the this year's January Cure.  Being a perfectionist, I can't help but be a bit disappointed that I was not able to meet this expectation.  News Flash to Self:  I am not a Super Mom nor Super Woman for that matter. 

Now let's all take a moment to breathe, shall we?

If you follow my Facebook page, you will recognize this cute lil' cloud (available here).  This is one of the inspiration pieces I have found while designing our Sunshine themed nursery.  You can read more about our nursery inspiration here.  

This weekend we managed to attend a pregnancy preparation course... WOWZA!  The videos I watched.  Nuff said.  Thank God I now have this glider to come home to... in which I will be sure to practice my pelvic tilt rocking and breathing exercises.  

And here's where it gets real, Y'all!  This was and practically still is our current state of the room we refer to as "the nursery."  Oh, yes.  As hard as it is to tell, it's coming along!  Jason, the hubs / soon to be new dad, has been doing a great job applying layers of perfection into this massive piece of furniture.  

It's hard to tell now, but we are using Behr's Nocturnal Sea.  

Also, if you look really hard, you may even spy a crib.  More on that later.  5 WEEKS (at least I hope)!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Little Sunshine...

This weekend was supposed to be full-on baby preparation.  Meaning, get the crap out of the nursery and organize or else TRASH (I would donate it... don't hate) everything!!  How in the world did we accumulate so much anyways?  Prior to our big move, we donated many items for the sake of not having to haul our junk across the eastern coastline.  Somehow it seems like we have more stuff!  I miss our basement.  At least we could hide our mess.  This is forcing me to become a minimalist. Something I aspire to be, but my parents could potentially be on Hoarders!  Just kidding, Mom.  Well, maybe.  

I decided that the best way to spend this Saturday was to organize the nursery in my head rather than  physically removing our crap from the nursery only to stuff it in some closet somewhere in which would more than likely be moved 15 more times in efforts to "organize."  Sorry for the massive run-on.  

I'm a visual learner.  Just looking at a mess gives me anxiety.  Where to even begin!?  Do you feel me?  For me organizing my ideas on paper, or in this case by creating a mood board, helps me know what steps to take.  Starting with the end in mind really is motivating!  Here's the direction I plan to take: 

Click on the image above for a better view.


Window Treatments - Santa Maria Desert Flower by Waverly
Vintage Lucite Lamps - Thrift store find
Vintage cocktail table - Philly curb alert
Vintage Faux Bamboo chest (not this exact one) - Atlanta Craigslist find
Lambskin rug - Atlanta Craigslist find
"Bee Happy" print - Spread the Love (Etsy store now closed)
Smile pillow - Pillow Talk
Crib skirt - Doodle Stripe Lime / Pure Organic Bright Pink by P. Kaufmann

Sunday, November 10, 2013

An Impromptu Gender Reveal

Posting regularly has definitely been a challenge for me.  Sometimes I don't even know why I try to maintain a blog.  Then I remember that this is a creative outlet for me.  This is a way I am able to express my love for design, art, gardening, and well, life.  I have been thinking about life a lot lately seeing that I am carrying one inside of me.  It's a crazy wild experience, and it's not always an easy one.  The back pain and penguin walk are in full swing!  I will be 26 weeks pregnant on Monday.  

Moving to Atlanta from Philadelphia has been a very challenging experience.  New job.  New home.  New people.  New city.  We will soon add "new baby" to the list.  None-the-less, it is a blessing to be within driving distance to family and a few close friends.  Here's a little snippet on what's been going down at The Tiny Abode.

Gender Reveal

 This party was definitely impromptu!  I wasn't even sure if I was going to do a gender reveal.  It just seemed like a lot of unnecessary work and planning for a tired pregnant woman.  Almost everything you see in the pictures was stuff we had lying around the house or stuffed in moving boxes.  This just goes to show that you can plan a party without spending a lot of dough.  Here's what we did...

With the help of my mother and sister, we were able to make a cute pendant banner out of scrapbook paper and twine.  The fabric on the tables was purchased years ago at Jomar in Philly and was in the hub's box of fabric that he uses for still-life backdrops.  Jomar has a huge selection of fabric at wholesale prices.  I'd recommend it to anyone who is willing to dig.  I purchased the teal Mason jars from a vendor at Phila Flea Markets about 3 years ago for only $2 each.  That's a steal!  I was lucky enough to find the vintage Fiesta Ware at B & R Thrift Store here in Atlanta.  I bought it for myself weeks before the party with intentions on reselling it on Etsy (I'm considering opening an online seller's account... hasn't happened yet).  Throw on some pumpkins and add some florals... BAM!  You are ready for a party!

I am very fortunate to have talented to friends that I can call up on a moments notice.  My childhood neighbor who has her own business, Charlsie's Catering and Cakes, made my cake as a gift!  I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

All of the photos were taken by my very talented friend Ashley, the husband of my college roommate.  If it wasn't for them, I may not have been reunited with Jason back in San Francisco May of 2007. We'll save that story for another day.  

It's A...


Sorry Jason.  Better luck next time.

 We took the photo shoot above prior to revealing the gender to our families.  The BIG gender reveal actually happened during the cutting of the cake!

My mother's expression was priceless.  I'm not sure I would want to see her expression if it ended up being a boy.   We would have been happy either way.

 Lastly, I couldn't have pulled off this impromptu party without the help of my family.  We only invited immediate family with the exception of my college roommate.  I swear she's got my blood in her somewhere!  Keeping things simple eliminated the unnecessary stresses when it comes to party planning (in the matter of a moment's notice might I add).  Each person contributed in some form.  Whether it was bringing triangle tuna sandwiches or helping a preggo climb up a table to hang a paper banner.

Thankfully, Blount County is beautiful.  The pictures were taken at Palisades's Park in Oneonta, AL where the party was also held.  It was great for the kids to have a place to play while the adult's mingled.  I had some of my childhood parties here as well, so it made it a bit sentimental. 

Our little one is expected to arrive February 17th 2014.  Let's hope and pray that she stays inside her incubator for that time-frame!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Craigslist Crawl: Atlanta

As you may know if you've been keeping up with the blog post, I am in search for chairs (again).  My farmhouse table has had many different styles of chairs accompany him over the years.  While in West Philly, Mr. Farmhouse had to spend some hard time in the basement.  He just would not fit in our eat-in-kitchen.  Now that we are back in Atlanta, we are once again trying to find some friendly and sophisticated company to surround him.  I spotted this set on Craigslist for $100!!

Image: Craigslist

I would more than likely paint the backs white and reupholster the seat cushions.  This isn't exactly what I'm looking for, but they do have a few things in their favor: 

1.) Super Affordable - 6 chairs for $100 (table would go in storage or resale)
2.) Faux bamboo backing - hard to find
3.) Mid-Century Modern look - give some balance to my traditional rug.

What do you think?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wild Thang!

We have been waiting to share...

Video Created By: The Tiny Abode
(Image credits listed below)

It's TRUE!!!!
There is a beast growing inside of me!  

We have yet to determine the gender of this little creature.  In fact, upon moving to Atlanta, I was under the impression that I would be having an ultrasound at my first appointment here at 17 weeks.  When I was informed by the midwife (that's right... not a doctor, not yet anyway) that I was being delusional these were the words that I managed to utter out of my mouth, "I think I'm going to cry."  Yep.  Damn hormones.  I know that 17 weeks is a little early to determine the gender, but I have had friends who found out early.

18 Weeks here...

 Image: The Tiny Abode

Here are the images that are in the video with information on how you can purchase them for your nursery, a client's room, or as a gift to an expecting parent!  I think they would be great in a child's room!  They're so imaginative and playful!

The print above is by an artist from Omaha, Nebraska, Jennifer Walsh.  She is the monster mind behind Creative Wild Child.  You can purchase the print on her Etsy store here.

I love this quote!!  Allyssa Zemke, designer / crafter, of Olive + Birch based in Salt Lake City has the image above available as a digital downloadable print at the size of your choice.  This is an affordable option to get a great print!  The image is available to purchase on her Etsy shop here

I hope you enjoyed our announcement!  I know we have been keeping it a secret for way too long!  For those of you who already knew, a BIG thanks for keeping your lips sealed too!  We know it was hard!!

Baby and nursery updates are on the horizon!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What's so Hot in Atlanta?

Moving from a major city to a city that feels so small you wonder how it can even be referred to a as a city in the first place is in a word... depressing.  Living in Atlanta definitely has its perks, but at times all I can see is a BIG commercialized piece of crap!  Where are all the mom and pop stores, yo?  No offense Atlantians.  I know there are some really cool places inside the perimeter.  Grace Bonney from Design Sponge did a really great post about what all Atlanta has to offer design-wise.  Check it out here!  I'm super excited to check some of these places out!
The problem with Atlanta is the horrific traffic... HORRIFIC, I say!  This city does not have a sophisticated public transportation system which makes commuting by car a death wish.  If you are going to live in Atlanta one rule of thumb is to live in close proximity to where you work.    Therefore, I live in a boring suburbia neighborhood right outside of the perimeter.  That's my problem with Atlanta.  If Marta is so much Smarta, then why is there so many people on the roads.  And why does every household need at minimum two cars?

 Living in Philly for five years, I became accustomed to walking to work, hopping on the train (a mere block away) to go to some other cool neighborhood in one hot second, and eating at a new restaurant every date night.   I'm afraid I'm just experiencing the relocation blues. 

It's surprises such as these that make me miss where I once lived.  While searching for an image to use, I thought the one above suited my said, "relocation blues."  As I click through the images and see the front of the model, I smile.  I know this beautiful person.  She and I attended the same church in Philadelphia. 

Images (3): Raverly
The irony gives me hope.
Atlanta, you're not so horrible.  I'm just getting to know you after all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mod-ing Up a Traditional Rug in the Dining Room

I have a GIANT red rug.  I found it on Craigslist a while back thinking, "OMG... I have to have that!"  Sound familiar?  The rug really was quite the steal.  I even spotted it's fraternal twin on One King's Lane for $$$$ more than what I emptied my pockets for. You can take a peak the version I scored here.   This all sounds dandy I'm sure, but there is a problem.  It's SOoooo traditional.  Bleck!   Since having this blog, my taste has had a tendency to change.  I think I was in the process of figuring out my style.  This is something that will forever be adapting, as it should.

It's All About the Chair

It's easy to style a room in a traditional format unintentionally.  Especially when you grew up in a very traditional style home.  I haven't quite figured out how to describe my taste, but if I were to name it I would say that I am more inclined to gravitate towards a Frenchy Boheme composition than anything.  What the heck is that anyway?

Image: A Cup of Joe
I think my best solution to tone down the trAd is to go for a much more modern chair and skimp on the French Country.  I really like how the Eames style chairs above are intermixed into an otherwise country farmhouse setting. 
Image:  Unknown
Ok, so this rug is not a traditional Persian, BUT the colors are very similar to the colors in my rug (red, blue, gold, navy), and the farmhouse table is nearly an exact replica to mine.  Thus, I am inspired!  My artsy hubs keeps telling me that there is too much white in our space. He's right.  How awesome are these blue Bertoia chairs above!?  If I could only score these on CLs or Goodwill for pennies... my life (or at least my dining room) would be complete!

Image:  House Beautiful
Ok, this may look familiar.  It's been floating around the internet for at least a year now, and I may have even featured it on the blog once.  So there is no rug here, but I'm eyeballing the chairs.  What do you think about the industrial look with a traditional rug underneath?  I almost scored these charis on Craigslist, but the seller bailed on me.  Errrr.... we had a time / location, and she sold them to someone else!  I think there needs to be a Craigslist Etiquitte 101 course.
Still bummed.
Image:  Overstock
They're still priced very reasonably on Overstock, but I was going to get them for 1/2 the cost.   Bigger and better chairs await me I'm sure (I hope).


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