The Making of a Craft Studio (IV): Progress Report

This is the fourth in a series of installments on the making of my craft studio. In my first post, I reached out to fellow bloggers and readers on Hometalk to help me decide the final layout of my craft studio.  The jury is in and I thought some of you might be interested in what I decided – even though it’s still far from being finished.

All I can say is that packing up my old studio and moving to the new space has been eye opening:

You never know_final_BOF.jpg

It’s taken me so long to finalize the layout of my studio because every piece of storage was a previously loved item that was either given to me or I already owned.

Coming up with a functional layout with mismatched pieces is way more challenging than starting from scratch, however, I get satisfaction in seeing whether I can make it work – and saving perfectly usable items from the landfill!  I’m going to figure out a way to make them all cohesive (started with refacing), but for now, installing them is priority #1 – once the final electrical inspection is done.

Here is what I’ve decided for the final layout:

Studio Update_Floor Plan_BOF.jpg

I have not one, but two card catalogues to keep all the smaller stuff organized! We’ve already got the first one in place in the sewing room under the window (between where my two industrial machines will go).  I made some fresh number cards, so now I have to create all my lables.  I have 40 drawers in this one to play with, but if it’s still not enough all the overflow will go into the second card catalogue if I need it.

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I’m having some fun styling the top; my husband surprised me one day with the big letter ‘S’, but instead of hanging it, I like the way it looks on it’s side.

Card Catalogue Makeover 138

The second card catalogue is made of walnut. It was stored out in a garage for many years so it’s in rough shape as compared to the oak catalogue (you can see them both below). It has the exact same pulls, however they are silver in colour as opposed to brass – and they’re a mess.  It’s going to take a lot of TLC to whip this one back into shape.

We were originally going to cut it down and make two pieces (like this blogger did) because it’s so heavy and it would be difficult move it down to the basement. However, I don’t really have enough floor space for two pieces, so it will likely remain intact.

Card Catalogue Makeover 052_BOF.jpg

We had to take all the drawers apart and remove the pulls so we could give them a thorough cleaning.

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Here’s what one of the pulls looked like before and after it was restored; a big improvement, don’t you think? Only another 59 to go 🙁


Once those are done, we can look forward to sanding 60 drawer fronts and the rest of the cabinet!

Card Catalogue Makeover 039_bof.jpg

For the office area of the studio, I’m planning on upcycling the door that used to be on our cold room into a floating desk — as well as a floating shelf.  Some of you may have noticed in a previous post of our basement reno (Ultimate Guide to Tiling a Laundry Room Backsplash) that we’ve been using this door as a table (with the addition of some sawhorses):

Sawhorses_Laundry Room Backsplash 104_bo.jpg

The door is 80″ high by 32″ wide. We’ll cut it into two pieces along the length and use a 20″piece as a floating desk. I may use the remaining 12″ piece as a long floating shelf – as shown in the rendering below – or I may use it under the window shown on the right side. You can also see where I’d like to put the second card catalogue.

Studio Update 2_BOF.jpg

I’ve been mulling over whether I should  top off the ‘desk’ with some left over plank flooring. I don’t like the leather flooring shown below, but I’d like to add in a herringbone pattern somewhere.  For some reason, I just love herringbone, so the desk top may be the place to experiment!

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If you read the DIY I posted recently on this paint chip portrait I created of my husband, you may recall that I wanted to relocate it to my studio. Where I propped it below will be a great sight line as I enter my studio.  What could be better than being greeted by my husband’s smiling face!  He’s always been my inspiration and that’s just what I need in my craft studio 🙂

The only fly in the ointment is that I planned a long floating shelf there (as you can see in the rendering two pictures above). Another option is a really cool shelf we found at an auction that would fit perfectly into the space between the upper cabinet and bulkhead. If I install either shelf though, I won’t have room for the paint chip portrait because it’s too big 🙁

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The Paint Chip Portrait needs to be positioned a good distance from where it’s viewed to ‘blend’ the pixels and be fully appreciated

Did you spy the green light fixture on the pass-through window ledge above? I have a pair that we’ll be installing over the sewing machine and serger. When we first found them, they were rusty and crusty – just waiting to be resurrected.  They’re a nice vintage addition to the studio that I can’t wait to hang!

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Here’s that other shelf I mentioned earlier; it used to be part of someone’s hutch. I bought it at an auction for only $5 because it was so sad looking that no one could see the potential. Hubs didn’t like it either, but he still stripped and refinished it for me! Should I use it instead of the paint chip portrait of hubs or elsewhere?  Decisions, decisions!

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The shelf would also look good in the sewing room over my serger where I can arrange some of my serger threads on it – so that might be a practical solution for where to place it.

Here’s a rendering looking into the sewing room where the shelf could be positioned over the serger.

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For now, the shelf is sitting on the floor in the sewing room while I try to imagine how it will look and decide where it will would look best – or even fit into the space!

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Until the lower cabinets are installed and the sewing machines moved from my old studio, I’ll probably defer the final placement until then.

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I used pegboard in the space where the mirror once so I can hang some of my essentials – scissors etc.  Hubs painted the pegboard orange to match the colour of accent paint I may use for my pocket doors (seen below).

Thinking of the bottle green and the orangey stain on my maple cabinets, I chickened out from my original plan (as you’ll see below) and changed my accent colour from teal to orange. I figured orange would be a great complimentary colour to the green shade of the light fixtures and base of my pattern table.  Hubs painted up a scrap of the pegboard for the shelf so I could carry it around with me and determine if I like it enough for the doors:

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It’s funny how I have no problem choosing paint colours for everyone else, but when it comes to my own projects it’s so hard!

There are so many variables to consider in selecting the accent colour: the flooring, the colour of the hand-me-down maple cabinets (which could be painted, but I like the wood), and the color of my card catalogues (again, I don’t have the heart to paint over the wood). They all have to work with whatever I choose as an accent colour.  In retrospect, I really should have started with an inspiration board and stuck with it – even if it meant painting things I don’t want to!

The neutral space really needs a pop of colour and I’ve always loved this teal that I found adorning the doors of a retailer in a U.S. mall. The picture doesn’t really do the actual colour justice! I’m not even a huge fan of teal, but in real life this particular teal is the best balance between blue and green that I’ve ever come across.

Teal door inspiration_bof2.jpg

I’ve been wanting to use this teal from the get-go, but it would have to be custom mixed and I was nervous about how close to my expectations it would turn out. It also clashes with my bottle green light fixtures and pattern table base, which I didn’t want to paint because I like the enameled /powder coated finishes of the metal.

The orange you saw above on the pegboard was supposed to be more crimson and have more depth. Strangely enough, even though I chose a pre-formulated colour and had it mixed by a paint expert,  it didn’t even come close to the colour on the paint chip. The paint store tried to fix it, but it still isn’t quite what I wanted. Since my husband bought the base coat from a different supplier, I thought we’d be stuck with it. Turns out that the other supplier happily provided a new base – free of charge – even though they had nothing to do with colourizing it. Phew!

Now that I have a second chance I’m wondering whether I should reconsider the teal again.  I know it’s only paint, but I don’t want to make a career out of painting – or repainting – stuff either!

I’ll have to give this accent colour some further thought! Leave me a comment and let me know if you would stick with the orange or change the accent to teal… or another colour altogether!

For more storage, I’m adding these two drawer units into the craft studio/office area. They used to be a temporary storage solution for our kitchen before we renovated:

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The drawer cabinets will add additional storage space

Our contractor would’ve thrown the cabinets into the dumpster but I couldn’t let perfectly usable storage go to waste.  We never did put drawer faces on the two units, so that’s something we’ll have to get around to doing for my studio! I have something very special and incredible planned for them that no one else has ever done! You won’t want to miss my final reveal for that alone!

I also designed, and my husband built, this amazing pullout for our kitchen that never got used. It’s a more upscale version of the pullout we built in our new kitchen. One side has metal pegboard, so I can store my tools, and the other side has baskets for craft paints and such! Again, we’ll have to add a face onto it to match what we’re doing with the rest of the cabinets.

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Lastly, if I have any floor space left over after all this, I’m thinking about using at least one, if not both, of these metal retail racks. These were a real coup when another bro-in-law moved retail locations and he kindly let me have them. They were handy in my old studio so I hope I have room for them in my new space 🙂

As you can see, the craft studio is still a real work in progress.  We have to get our final electrical inspection done before we can do much more.  I can’t wait to lift all the cardboard off the floor and show you the outcome when it’s done.  Until then you might be interested in catching up on my previous posts in the Making of a Craft Studio series:

  1. The Making of a Craft Studio– Calling All Crafters: Help Me Decide the Best Layout for my New Studio
  2. The Making of a Craft Studio (II)– Design Your Space Using Ikea’s Pax Planner!
  3. The Making of a Craft Studio (III) – If You Build It, She Will Come!



12 thoughts on “The Making of a Craft Studio (IV): Progress Report

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  2. Sara, I read your post this morning and now I’m back to give it a proper reply. It’s really coming together nicely.

    You have mad skills and wonderful taste, so I’m not sure I can add much, but here goes. I would definitely put the paint chip portrait of your husband on the wall to help break up the cabinets. It’s a wonderful focal piece. I love teal/blue/green and so you already know my bias, but in addition to that, that color rage is more soothing to the eyes for a work space. You can use touches of it to pull the two parts of the room together. One thought is to paint the pass-through wall in teal and see how you like it. It’s a small wall with a big opening, so it’s a small commitment of time and paint to see how you like it. You could carry that color through in other rooms with accessories. It could be something as simple as making paper covers for a handful of old books. Have you seen that done before? It’s kind of a fun look.

    That long brown shelf has a lot of character. You can use it functionally or for display.

    As for the second card catalog, and I say this with my organizer hat on, I wonder if you can get by with just the oak set of drawers? It will reduce the number of places you need to look for things. Those card catalogs are hot right now, so you could probably refinish it and make a tidy sum selling it. You’ve already started the hard work of dismantling it.

    Given the size of the room and the neutral colors on the floor and walls, I think you can easily get away with those dark green lamps, accents of teal and even touches of orange as well.

    I can’t wait to see where you with this. It’s an amazing, well-thought out space.

    • Thanks Alys – your comments are so helpful!

      About the card catalogue: long story, but I ended up with two because I didn’t think the first one would pan out and I was hedging my bets.

      The oak catalogue came from a local university: they had two but were selling only one. When I saw the picture online I could tell that there were two different woods (oak vs. maple). The drawers were all mixed up, as well as mismatched hardware – most of the real brass was missing on the oak unit and the maple unit had ugly style pulls (with worn out metal plating instead of brass).

      They just wanted to sell the maple unit as-is and I was only interested in buying it if they could restore the oak one back to the original configuration and sell me that one instead. I’m not a fan of oak – especially when it’s got that yellow tone – but with the real brass pulls it looked so beautiful to me.

      In the end, it took a lot of effort to convince them to swap out drawers and hardware to restore its integrity (they didn’t have time to spend on swapping out cards from drawers they were still using – even though I offered to help).

      After a lot of back and forth however, the lady responsible for selling it went the extra mile for me and worked on her own time to get it done. I had to talk her through what needed to be switched only by looking at pictures – she couldn’t tell the difference between the oak and maple drawers – but she did a great job 🙂 It was even more beautiful than I expected when I finally saw it in person.

      You’re right that I won’t need both. I would have sold the other one right away, but it needs SO much work. I probably overpaid for the condition it’s in; I bought it sight unseen because the seller offered to deliver it and those things are HEAVY! I didn’t have the heart to change my mind it when I saw how bad it was. Ultimately, I DO love a challenge, but I’d rather not divert time away from the studio. I’ll have to convince hubs to help restore it 🙂

      • Wow, what a story! And since I have no doubt that you do love a challenge, I’m sure the time will present itself and you can dive in and get that card catalog in tip top shape. I love the way they smell. That smell reminds me of all the wonderful days spent in the library.

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