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How photographer and stylist Chelsae Anne Sahlman created the space of her dreams.

| By Bed Threads | Home tours

The Remarkable Transformation That Took This Florida Home from Rental to Regal

How photographer and stylist Chelsae Anne Sahlman created the space of her dreams.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour photographer and stylist Chelsae Anne Sahlman’s old-world loft in Florida.

You don’t have to own your home to make your home your own. Case in point: photographer and stylist Chelsae Anne’s show-stopping studio space in West Palm Beach, Florida, which she shares with her husband, and “biggest creative influence,” artist Evan Sahlman. Dubbed ‘Sahlman Studio Loft’, the creative couple have spent just over two and a half years designing, building, and styling their dream home – which also happens to be a rental.

“I think our biggest limitation was we knew we didn’t ever want to invest too much money into something we wouldn’t own, but we were more than willing to invest our time to create our dream,” says Chelsae Anne. “Any time we could buy pieces secondhand and put in more work for something higher quality, we would. Our floors in the loft came from reclaimed wood we had to cut down into pieces that we could lay out in herringbone pattern.”

The handcrafted herringbone is just one of the many expertly executed DIY projects Chelsae Anne and Evan have accomplished at Sahlman Studio Loft, a one-of-a-kind space that oozes old-world charm and originality. “When we first started working on the space, it was not wonderful, but the opportunity to create something extraordinary was. It was basically an empty space, a shell with four walls and a high ceiling,” Chelsae explains. But where others might have felt overwhelmed, Chelsae Anne and Evan felt motivated.

I wanted our studio loft to be the epitome of form meets function.

- Chelsae Anne Sahlman

“We felt very inspired to make it a canvas for things we appreciated and loved; plaster walls, shelves filled with all of our books, and beautiful finds. One piece that made a huge impact was our curved staircase, which Evan designed and built. We knew that was going to be important from the start when we sketched out our designs. It softened a very linear geometric space and created an opportunity to create this functional sculpture.”

By the end of the project, Chelsae Anne was no stranger to plaster either, having painstakingly plastered every 22-foot-high wall in the studio. “It was a bit dicey at times near the top, but I was determined, and it is my masterpiece,” she says.

Truth be told, it is one masterpiece of many. While it should come as no surprise that two people who make works of art for a living have also made a work of art to live in, their combined aesthetic imagination still astonishes. Every design decision conveys contemplation and authenticity – there are no afterthoughts here. “I wanted our studio loft to be the epitome of form meets function. I wanted every corner to have its moment. So along with designing for functionality, we thought how we would make a statement with each angle.”

Every surface and shelf in the Sahlman Studio Loft pays homage to the handmade, with the showstopping living room bookshelves filled with found treasures fit for a museum. “We try to fill our home and space only with what we love and adore. It has become a grand collection of art books, sculptures and vintage and antique furniture we get to surround ourselves with and draw inspiration from,” Chelsae Anne says. And while the bookshelves house an eclectic exhibition, they double as a room divider. “Our bookshelves are primarily there for storing and displaying our favourite objects one side, while creating a separation for a back workroom that is pure workspace.” Form, meet function.

While their rented studio is the ultimate labour of love, Chelsae Anne and Evan are readying to embark on their next endeavour armed with the lessons they’ve learnt over the past two and a half years. “We have bought our first house! We hope to implement all the skills that we have learned here into this next chapter of creating our dream home on a larger scale.”

Along the way, they’ll be asking their favourite question when sourcing pieces for their new home: “Is it well made and well designed?” If Sahlman Studio Loft is anything to go by, I think we already know the answer.

Shop Chelsae Anne’s edit.

For more from Chelsae Anne, follow her @chelsaeanne

Photography and styling by Chelsae Anne Sahlman.

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