It is absolutely amazing what a difference your surroundings can make to your creative energy!
I share my creative space with my husband (aka Mr SUDs) and teenage son, Aaron. The boys are both computer junkies and have half of the “study” designated to their favourite hobby. For years I had been calling this shared room, “ The teenage boys’ Den” and in doing so, as I realise now, had alienated myself from feeling like I belong.
Fortunately I realised the errors of my ways and have since re-named this room: “My new studio” – of course it is still shared – but gee it makes a difference to my sense of worth in this space!
However, I really did need to make my craft area work for me. It was cluttered and ‘busy’, I found it hard to concentrate on what I was doing and longed for a room all to myself as I thought that would be the answer to my ‘perceived’ problems. A room to myself was not an option – but thinking about the situation in a positive way - was! Determined to make the most of what I had, I set to work on a list of all the things that were important to me in order for the space to be successful. First on the list was an uncluttered, neutral working area. Secondly, storage; and thirdly – it had to look serenely beautiful.
The seeds of my ambition started to grow a few months back when I purchased a pre-loved desk from my local charity store. It was love at first sight! A bit of TLC was all that was needed, I gave it a sand-down and a new lick of paint and it was as good as new! I have utilised every bit of space I have – and the desk is working really well for all of my needs.
Let me put the kettle on and make you a virtual cup of tea…. and then I’ll take you on a tour! Are you sitting comfortably?
The ‘new studio’ is in a room situated at the front of our house. The room has large full-length windows along one wall. I took down the net curtains, as we are not overlooked, and wish I had thought to do it years ago. The sun shines through the trees outside at about 2pm and the shadows and sunbeams dance across my desk. It’s so magical! Being the fairy-fanatic that I am, my imagination goes in to full fantasy overload at this time of the day! It is like the room is living and breathing!
The studio also functions as a walk-through to the garage; a traffic route which is unavoidable. So I need to keep the space tidy on a daily basis to ensure that the access is clear and fabrics do not get trampled! I keep the majority of my fabrics and battings stored in big plastic tubs in the laundry.
I wanted a classy, “grown up” look that was neutral – so that my fabric choices did not get confused with the colour of my surroundings. A white desk was a must, and for the ‘grown up’ element I wanted to add a classy lamp. I searched everywhere for the lamp of my dreams and finally found the perfect base in Target (in the sales), and the lampshade in Bunnings. The total cost was less than twenty dollars – cheaper than any I’d seen in charity shops, and exactly what I’d envisioned. You can’t see very well from this photo, but the lamp has four little (ahem – plastic) diamonds hanging down from the top of its base! (Plastic diamonds? See, I told you I was classy!!!)
I picked up the wooden storage box at an op shop, it has heart cut-outs in each handle. I was going to paint it antique white until I realised it was made out of my favourite wood, walnut. I keep my pens, scissors, and other useful everyday tools, in this box. The cake stand serves as a pretty fabric display – the perfect size for a honey bun! A girl needs “pretties” to inspire her as well as functionality. I picked up a lot of ideas from Karen at Sew Many Ways, and the photo-frame idea was one of them. To keep track of all your passwords (for fabric stores, etc.) just print a list and add it to the back of this two-sided photo frame. The frame costs two dollars from IKEA. Check out this post for more information.
Actually, I have been hugely inspired by Karen – she is the personification of “the ideas girl” – so amazing! She has the most wonderful studio, check it out here. One of the things I took on board was Karen’s suggestion to purchase storage solutions in a limited colour palette. By keeping to one or two colours, it doesn’t matter how many different ‘types’ of storage you have available, it all has something in common to tie the design scheme together – its colour. I chose black and white as my base colours, and purchased said-colour CD storage boxes from IKEA. I also picked up some gift-boxes from my local two dollar shop, as you can see on top of my transparent fabric tubs on the left of this next photo.
The shelves are used for book and fabric storage, plus some buttons, notions, paintbrushes and a few other pretties!
I have ambient lighting from my ‘classy’ desk lamp, overhead lighting, and task lighting from this functional lamp that utilises a daylight bulb.
My sewing machine is constantly plugged in, the cables are out of the way and it’s as easy as just pulling it forward…
If I need to cut fabric, I push the machine back and set up the cutting mat…
I store my cutting mats, template plastic (and three huge fabric tubs) in the desk space beside me allocated for the computer… because I use a laptop (I’ll show you where that lives in a minute) the disused space is an ideal storage solution.
Under my desk there is dedicated storage for my light box and sewing-machine table:
My laptop is situated on a small printing table beside my desk, on a bright pink shelf that used to be on my old desk. On top sits the printer, and beneath is a cabinet containing printing papers and filing.
Even my mouse-mat is functional! A pad of weekly planners that can be torn off each week to reveal a new page.
To my left is a plastic storage system and pine buffet where most of my everyday tools and fabrics are kept. I will share more photos of that part of the room in my next post, together with some other storage solutions. In the meantime, here’s a photo to give you the lay of the land.
If you are new to my blog, this is what my space looked like before the transformation:
An eclectic (ahem… overstimulating!) arrangement don’t you think?!!
I hope you enjoyed the tour?! It has taken me a while to get things how I’ve wanted them, and I’m really glad I didn’t rush it. It’s a compact space but it works really well for me. I used to wish for a studio space of my own, but having thought on it a lot, even if we could afford to do it right now, I’m not sure that I would actually want to be in a room away from my family. That feeling has been a real eye-opener for me. When the boys are noisy, I will put my headphones on. When I need to concentrate, they will put their headphones on! Now that I have a serene space in which to work, I feel so much more relaxed and happy – and its certainly helping with my mojo – which has been bursting from its seams of late!
It seems only fitting to quote Karen’s motto: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything… They just make the best of everything they have.”
Lots of love to you all! I’ve finished my virtual cup of tea and just about to sip on a real one!
Till next time! Vikki x