Studio Organization: Part 1 “The Beginning”

I’ve always been one who was nosey curious about other’s crafting spaces and LOVE to see pictures of re-do’s and transformations.  I figured I can’t be the only voyeur interested party so I decided to post my story as well.  Grab yourself a cup of whatever (coffee, tea, mimosa, jack daniels…whathaveyou…) and settle in…this might get long. 😉

One of the (many) reasons that we decided to buy this fixer-upper house last year was because there was a fourth bedroom downstairs that we SPECIFICALLY tagged to function as a studio space.  In our previous home, we had a HUGE upstairs loft that we used as our studio and It. Was. Beautiful.

Should we torture me by looking at pictures of the old space?  Oh, yes…let’s.

We had a table folded up behind the futon that we could bring out to work on.

We also had homeschooling supplies up there and plenty of shelf space for anything we needed.

There was a ton of room, lots of table and floor space, and plenty of room for cabinets and storage…even a futon for lounging!  And…we never used it.  I mean, once we had kids, we never used it.  For some unknown reason, the idea of going all the way upstairs and away from the kitchen/living room was just too much…so it sat.  And got dusty.

So, knowing how much we’d missed working/crafting/creating in the studio, the need for a downstairs space in which to craft made it high onto our “needs” list.

Now…when we first walked into this space we thought…”wow…it’s super small”.  The room is only 10 x 8 feet BUT, it does have a large closet along one wall and a nice big window so that there was a lot of natural heat light to work with.  Here’s a picture of it from before we moved in, taken from the doorway (OMG, my youngest looks SO LITTLE in this pic…*snif*)…

We knew that it would be a big challenge to fit all the stuff from our old studio space into this tiny vessel since the old one was about 3x as big, but decided that, with a little creativity, we could make it work.  And so…we moved in.

And put our desk in here, and a work table (not pictured but it was to the left of the desk, running the length of the wall), and a small table for our oldest (on the right) since we’d now be sharing the studio with our children as well.

Yes, not only were we cutting our space down by two thirds, we were tasked with making the space usable by (eventually) 4 people.  Crazy?  Maybe.

Here’s a shot of the closet…packed with boxes.  What you don’t see is the boxes stuffed under all the tables and stacked up in the middle of the room.  And even more boxes of things that were supposed to fit into this space that were hanging out in the garage.

I won’t lie.  The first time I saw the room and had to wade over and through a sea of boxes, I might have shed a tear or two thinking there was NO WAY this was going to work.

And then, we began to plan.  The room was small, right?  So how were we going to maximize work space?  Tables?  No.  Tables meant lots of table legs sticking into the room and eating up space, not to mention bruising our knees/legs necessitating the purchase of costly first aid supplies.

No.  Let’s do counters that are supported by large L brackets so that there are no legs to crash into, essentially turning the whole room into one big desk!  And lets put wall cabinets up!  How much does something like that cost?  Let’s start with the countertops:  $40/per bracket you say? How many do we need!  Eleven.  $440 for some oversized L brackets?  Um…no.  Crap.

Ok, now what?

Well, we have this very handy friend, maybe he’d be willing to make/weld the brackets for us.  My hubby talked to him and he was game so all we had to do was pay for the steel.  (Everyone should have a friend like ours…he’s so nice he wouldn’t let us pay him for labor!)  So our friend made the brackets, and they stayed in a pile on the garage floor for months…why?  Because we ALSO decided that we should actually put in the wall cabinets first and after we did that, the money ran out for a while.

(If anyone knows where I might find that money tree…I could really use one…)

So…we put the cabinets in, minus a corner cabinet in the far corner because originally I’d thought to put all our periferals (printer, hard drives, routers, card readers) up on shelves to get them off the counter.

(This is a common sight when our friend comes over to lend a hand, he does the work, and we watch/assist/fetch him snacks.  Hey, he knows what he’s doing and we don’t.  Simple enough.)

Omitting the other corner cabinet was a dumb idea because it looked really weird.  We ended up putting it in later.  Since the ceilings are only 8ft in this room, we decided to snug the cabinets up to the top (just under the popcorn…aren’t popcorn ceilings great? Not.) so that we’d have a lot of wall space to use.  At the time we were discussing putting up slat wall and getting some acrylic shelves/bins to help organize our supplies up onto the wall instead of having them sit on the counter top…again…making more room to work.

Now we had cabinets!  Hooray!  I started unpacking boxes and stuffing the contents wherever they’d fit, just to rid ourselves of the boxes.  The studio was no where near organized but I felt a little less claustrophobic and that was a good thing.  We were able to clean off my oldest’s desk and he finally had a place to create and do homework.  The closet was semi-organized, using some of the base cabinets from the old studio, and worked well enough for the moment (sorry, no pic of that).

We lived with it that way for about 9, agonizing months.  Once we had the money together for counters…we were ready to move on to the next step!

If you’re still reading at this point then maybe you’ll come back next week to see the project progress?  Yup, it’s a cliffhanger post.  See you next week! 😀


2 thoughts on “Studio Organization: Part 1 “The Beginning”

  1. OH! LOVE LOVE LOVE before and after pics! I’m going over to the new house to take pics ASAP! You are an idea fire starter AND fantastic motivator, my friend!!

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