Friday, September 24, 2010

From the Ground Up: Robin's Labor of Love

Prologue: This post is going to be a two-fer. We're going to be catching up with Robin Luciano Beaty in Byfield, Massacheusetts, and I'm going to ramble a bit about the things that shape us. Grab your cuppa, because this is going to be a long post. (or you can skip to the pretty pictures and leave comments like" luks gud"....I promise I won't mind, because I need some closure to accept and move on with life as it is, not life as I wish it could be. This post needs to be written for my peace of mind.) This post is a goodbye (maybe a see ya later, alligator?, please?) to a place and time that left its indelible mark on me and mine. A place we called home for the past five years (Jan '05-Jan '10) of our lives [Edited to add: we moved to the midwest in Jan '10]. A place that will probably maintain that status in my mind and heart, forever. I've had this ache and pull for home for a while now. It's the weather and the season, you see. About this time of the year the peepers would descend in droves on our sleepy little new england town, a town in a country I wasn't born in, wasn't raised in, yet felt perfectly at home in. How is that? Is it possible for a person to have more than one home? Is it possible for a person to love two places and countries and cultures? Yes, when it, they, you, open your hearts. I know by now that a lot of my blogger friends who have have lived through this, feel the same way about their adopted homes, while still being fiercely in love with the country and culture they were born of. And I know they, we, are richer in our hearts and thoughts because of it. Because love doesn't take away--it only gives and snowballs into more love. (Edited to add: Gosh that sounds sappy, but I can't think of any less clichéd way of putting it across. I'm going to leave this as is. So sue me!) What does this have to do with Robin's studio?  Read on....

Her barn-studio.

(if this were a book, the story would start here..............)

The Studio and the Tour: When I first saw Robin's studio up on Apartment Therapy, I was spellbound. I flipped through the pictures first and then decided that I would actually read the article. I felt it in my gut. I'm glad I did --I actually went back and read and re-read the whole article from start to finish about three times over. And then I went on with my life. Till Leigha published a post on the studio, and rekindled my interest in it (Thank you Leigha, for that and the much-needed nudge!). Then I knew that I had to share it with you. And that I also had to share why it felt so special, so right.

You see, Robin is an artist and artists need space to create. And the space needs to be inspiring, for creativity to flow. Before the studio, Robin had a space--in the basement of her home. Space, but no inspiration. And that's when Robin decided to take matters in her own hands, literally. She researched her options and settled on a Vermont- based company to source the raw materials from. The studio was built, from the ground up, by just two people--the proprietor of the company and Robin. Have I ever mentioned how much in awe I am of people who have the DIY gene in them? It took her a year to create the studio of her dreams. From scratch. To finish. As far as she could, Robin stuck with eco-friendly materials. She built her studio with her own hands. This then is what I miss most- the spirit of the people I knew and met in our quiet little town. The get-it-done attitude. The desire to do it right by mother earth. The all-cycle recycle. Other things too, the smiles, the warmth, the decency. The gentlemen who held doors open. The ladies who stopped and talked about their grandkids. The folks who waved hello from their cars. sigh.

From the ground up.

I saw something in this space, I cannot define it. But I can feel it. I hope I've manged to convey part of the magic. This is her place to create.

The sitting room area for guests and lounging. She built the coffee table as well.

On her coffee table. Flowers in a repurposed can.

A stunning display of her art. She creates these panels out of hot wax. The art form is called encaustic painting. Her art deserves a dedicated post, and I will work on it as soon as possible. Meanwhile you can go check out her gallery and blog for more deets.

Her artwork in the foreground. Another view of the seating area, the screen delineates the studio.

Paint-spattered scissors. Art supplies in the studio.

Details of her heirloom-doily covered curtains.

Another perspective. Notice the stone fireplace in the corner? The perfect antidote for new england winters!!


Perfection. The art. The vintage turntable.

Her office in the loft.

Upstairs, in her office. The daybed is made from an upcycled door.

Dresser next to the bed.

The view from her office. Looking down at her studio.

The fireplace, from above.

The back entrance.... a retreat in itself!

Would you like to see more of her studio? Let me re-direct you to the original article on Apartment Therapy, there are 49 photographs in all. All images were taken by Violet Marsh, via. You can also find out more about Robin at her blog, website,and facebook page. Are you as curious as I am about her home? (if this is the studio, then her home must be as charming!!). Well, watch this space then!!

Robin, it was an honor being invited into your world. Thank you.

Epilogue: Land of the beat up subaru, I never felt I had said my goodbyes to you. This is my tribute to you and your people. You will live in my heart forever.


  1. Beautiful have way with words too ...the pictures are beautiful as always but the story tugs at heart....I have too many homes in my ten years of married life ...Next month moving to another one so can completely relate .Thanks for sharing.

  2. In my excitement I forgot to mention that thanks for introducing us to Robin...She is truly inspiring ...

  3. Stunning...thats all I can say is stunning! From the doily curtain to the aprons to the bedspread to the encaustic paintings. Simply amazing! Thanks for sharing this incredible post!

  4. I am at a loss of words Gagan. I love spaces that has a warmth to it a lived in kind of feeling and this place welcomes you with open hands. magical place and love each and every post.
    when I was in school my uncle introduced me to a person who built his own home and by that I mean he built everything on his own...starting from the foundation to the laying of was nothing fancy but he did pretty well. that was amazing for me to remember him till now but this house is simply stunning. love certain ideas and bookmarking for some DIY in my home.

  5. What a studio ! And a dream one for me . But to build it myself? Very daunting. I have great admiration for Robin!

  6. lovely place.. like the wall art and the daybed so much to name a few....

  7. too good....i miss ur posts as an when it happens ...but i hv added u to dashboard..hope not to miss from next time..r u on FB?

  8. sheesh that is one hellofa good looking everythin about it

  9. Beautiful words Gagan!...Can completely relate with it!
    Great admiration for Robin..incredible home!

  10. What a beautiful awe-inducing home!

  11. really stunning post. and inspiring too! thanks for sharing!

    xo Alison

  12. just wow!! wow!! How do people manage to have such picture perfect places.. i adore.. adore the day bed!!

  13. I know what you are talking about. Each place has its own character and that's what I mostly miss (apart from people) when I move from one place to another.

    Btw, good pick as usual. Loved the bed.

  14. oh! We are the nomadic generation. People before us probably lived in one home, raised their families there, got old there and saw the sunset of their lives at the same place. I do not have such a place. I have moved and moved and moved and now if i do not move every 2 years I have the itch to move. But I do miss every place/city/country I have lived in and have an ache in my heart to revisit the memories. Not the current times, but to go back in history and live it all again just for a day or two! Phew! [This was long eh?] ...

    Lovely studio, btw! I wonder if I have such vision or even an ounce of artistic vision in me. You have greta picks.

  15. A wonderful home tour and a brilliant write up..thank you for sharing...Robin is soooooooo talented...:)

  16. Those encaustic paintings are wonderful! I also love the gentle colour palette used throughout the house - a lovely creative space.

  17. It's a wonderful space (I'm sure I could live there happily, never mind just work there) and to have been so heavily involved in building it must make it extra special.
    Yes, human beings can definitely love multiple places as home and it's not hard to see how this part of the world would tug heavily on your heartstrings.

  18. This is absolutely adorable and you write to well!

  19. I really like her home and I love how she has created her studio. The curtains, the dresser, ther's all so beautiful. So, I am confused though. Are you moving somewhere? I tried to follow along but I am missing a piece somewhere along the way :)
    I will certainly check out her blog. Thanks for sharing this.

  20. Dear all,

    Thanks for your kind words. I knew a lot of you could relate to what we went through and just needed to get it out of my system. Robin's beautiful space simply acted as the catalyst here.

    In case you're wondering, as Naina was (sorry for the confusion Naina), we moved from our home of five years in Januaray, 2010. I never really got over the move. Hence the post.

    C'est la vie.


  21. Oh boy!!! I am in process of moving too. To Chicago.... and its scary. right now i am in chicago but don't even know where to begin. The suburbs are so many and everything feels so crowded. we were in a small town in texas for the past 17 years where the roads did not have much traffic, lots of greenery etc. Though things began to change there too.

    Even though chicago is exciting still very confusing.

  22. Vinita,

    Best of luck! I found that "moms like me"

    ( helped immensely--our local chapter. I've only been to chicago once, as a tourist---I liked the lake (!!) and the navy pier, but they def. had some very shady areas. The traffic was nutso!

    Make sure you get a good school district (if you have kids). We didn't want to commit to any locality before we ironed out the finer points--safety, environment, schools, distance.--that's why we rent. Perhaps these parameters will work for you too.

    Any readers from Chicago? Any pointers for her? Feel free to borrow my space with any tips if you feel they'll help her!!

    Best of luck vineeta,


  23. Thanks GB. This really feels good when somebody offers immediate help and advice. So welcoming.
    I thought you were in chicago area too.

    I will definetly look into that website. we are planning to rent too till (as you said) a little sure of the area. Because right now I feel completely lost.

    I have heard names like naperville and aurora and visited the temple in aurora and lemont. Other than that just driving around to get a feel of the area.

    Real estate ofcourse is thru the roof and till i like the feel of the place its difficult to make a decision.

  24. Vinita,

    we're about 4 hours away from Chicago. ;)

    Lets see if any readers have ideas, otherwise I'll mention it in my next post. I am clueless as to the chicago geography...I spent most of my time there in the children's museum/navy pier.

    I found that posting a new question/searching an old thread on "moms like me" really helped. it helped find my gyne, our dentist, and much more.

    Good luck and stay in touch!


  25. Thanks sweetie. This feels really good...lot of help, lot of support. I will definetely looking up this space.

  26. Those doily curtains are so beautiful! LOVE!

  27. Hi Gagan! (and hello to all of your lovely readers!)
    I just wanted to say thanks so much for your beautiful and genuine post. I'm so happy to hear my space could bring you back to such a memorable place in your life and be a source of inspiration to you.
    I appreciate everyones kind words about my studio and especially my artwork since that is solely what drove me to create this very personal space.
    Its truly been a 'labor of love' for me so I'm extremely flattered and grateful that so many people seem to love it as much as I do. : )
    thank you. thank you.

    oh...and I'd just like to add, the bed and curtains are my favorites as well! Mostly because I made them from scratch using items so very personal to me. (I made the daybed from the doors and windows salvaged from my childhood home. Nothing could be more comforting... truly.)

    Thanks again Gagan!
    much love

    I welcome anyone to email me personally or check out my blog

  28. Robin,

    The pleasure was all mine. Please keep doing what you're doing because it's pure magic! Thank you for the inspiration!



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