I live in a center hall colonial in northwestern New Jersey together with my husband, Gary and Radar and Shadow the cats. Somewhere around Thanksgiving my husband agreed to allow me to move my sewing studio and painting area from their respective places - upstairs in a small office space and downstairs in a partially finished basement, to our woefully underused formal living room. We donated our furniture to a young couple just starting out and whoosh empty space! We painted the walls - my husband calls the color white - but I keep reminding him it is actually called "spun cotton",
I was so excited that I started to map out the space. I used graph paper and measured all the furniture, floor space and wall space. I proceeded to map the room out to scale to be sure that moving all of my stuff into one place would make sense. I mapped the northwest corner, the southwest corner the approach and the getaway. This was done using both aerial views and a scale diagram of each wall and all of the things that I planned to hang on each wall. With circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. I repurposed as many items as possible and I also used a vintage cabinet that I bought impulsively at an auction for $10. (It was a small impulse, dumb, but not financially impacting.) I also took all the dividers out of a cabinet that held CDs and stereo components. Finally, I had to purchase some new plastic storage containers.
And so we removed the Christmas trimmings on December 26th, prepared the room on December 27th and painted on the 28th. After that the task of sorting and organizing was all mine. I admit that there was a little bit of self loathing when I realized all that I had accumulated. Some purchased but many things that were given to me and I just couldn't say no. There were also items that were purchased to take or teach a class and the leftovers piled up. I just kept putting it all in bins and a closet so I wouldn't have to take out the garbage for a very long time. However, this move produced at least 4 or possibly 5 large Hefty bags worth of garbage - which we threw in the garage for later removal. I started by leaving the garbage bags in the upstairs studio and downstairs but finally decided that rather than have 2 small piles of garbage it would be better to have one large pile and so we threw them in the garage. Today my wonderful husband will be putting them in his red CRV (updated version of a VW microbus) and taking them to the dump.
And so after a productive and non-stop Winter Break from school, here is my completed studio. I finished last night just before dinner and am anxious to get in there and actually create something - now that I have created a great space.
The Northwest Corner
This area holds the sewing machine, thread, sewing tools and some bins of sorted and labelled fabric. It has a little natural light but the whole room is illuminated by a 4 foot long LED fixture that is so bright you need very little extra lighting. And according to the package, I can leave it on for 35 years or so 24/7 before it burns out.
The Northeast Corner
This area has the painting table, buttons, fabric, mixed media and my extensive collection of painted papers and ephemera. There is also a shelf with all of my mediums. It is jammed with supplies both on shelves and in the cabinet. There is a stool back there too.
The French doors lead into the family room. The table folds down on both sides so I can have more space when I need to move around and more surface area when I need to work. On the far wall is a design wall that I created from a piece of foam insulation sewn into a sleeve of white flannel and white duck cloth.
The Southwest Wall
This side of the room has the $10 auction purchase on the left, a track with steel cables to hang my finished work and the CD cabinet on the right. The hanging system is made by Gallery One and is very easy to use. The work you see hanging is headed to a Skylands Gallery in Wantage, NJ for exhibit today.
Here are some additional images.
Vintage linens below, fabric sorted by color or type inside and on top.
A view from behind the sewing machine. I tried to keep the most used tools within arms reach.
A view from behind the painting area. Everything in this picture was repurposed from the original area. Notice how bright the ceiling light fixture makes the room from corner to corner.
So thanks for visiting my new studio with me. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. I'd be happy to help you if you are deciding to take over a space that could be put to better use. In fact, I recommend it whole heartedly.
So imagine if one person creates a new space, they might call it an inspiration. If two people create a new space they might call them rebels and stay out of their way. But if three people, can you imagine, three people create a new space well, they'd call it a movement. And that's what it is the The New Studio Anti-Wasted Space Movement.
Sing it with me:
You can get anything you want
At Claude's new studio
You can get anything you want (exceptin' Gary)
At Claude's new studio
Walk right in, it's around the back
Just your favorite things and a cool thread rack
You can get anything you want
At Claude's new studio.
Da - Da - Da - Da - Da -Da - Da - Da
At Claude's new studio....