Do you? Do you, do you, do you?
It really does not matter if your answer to the above question is ‘no’. I am absolutely and totally in love with my new workspace and am going to share it with you anyway. A little backstory first…
For ten years I have worked from home, screen printing on my dining table, washing screens in my kitchen, storing boxes of shirts and onesies in my basement. My laundry closet was full of screens, every surface in my living room was covered in drying shirts, and my home office was really a glorified storage cupboard full of summer camp materials. It has been hard on the rest of my family. They have been tiptoeing around my work for years, and I have had annoyingly short work days due to the essential need for a big clean up every afternoon so that my house would be safe and liveable for the kids.
We looked into renting a studio, but nothing quite fitted my needs. I read The Time Traveler’s Wife and decided that a luxurious art shed in our backyard would be just perfect, thank you very much. Alas, there are strict rules against those sorts of structures in our neighborhood. Our basement is nice and big, but it has no natural light, so that would not work. I thought about working in someone else’s basement, but that could get a little contentious. Finally, we decided the only way forward was to extend our house out on top of our garage. That way, I would still have zero commute, and could design my own space. Construction started in late November, and was finished by the beginning of May. This is how the room turned out:
Non Negotiable Things:
I made sure that a wall was left free for a mood board/inspiration wall. Pretty much every design studio has something like this as a touchstone for their visually minded workers to turn to for motivation. It is also a good place for me to lean unfinished paintings against as a reminder to return to them sometime.
The guys building my room turned an old closet into a paper storage area for me. This was the first request I made when I sat down with them. Running a summer camp leaves you with a lot of different types and sizes of paper, film, board and card. Finally, I have them all in one place and off the floor! It makes doing inventory and ordering new materials much simpler.
This pegboard is for all those everyday things that I seem to be continually looking for. Hopefully, I will never waste time searching for tape/ fabric scissors/string again (you would think, right?).
Lots of light, moveable pieces of furniture.
The tiered cart for printing supplies is from IKEA and can be easily pulled around my printing table as I work. The Z frame clothes rail is huge and displays clothes for customers, but it is also on wheels and really easy to roll around the room. My heat pressing table is an old piece of wood from my garage mounted on IKEA trestle legs and not precious at all, so I can move it around and add a Costco folding table or two for extra folding surfaces during busy times.
A dedicated space for exposing screens. This is nothing fancy. Just a hanging basket holder with a lamp attached. However, it is there permanently and it doesn’t have to be set up again and again. Also, it is next to a giant sink for washing screens. A definite improvement from my old set up (the kitchen).
A space for tea and pondering.
What? Yes of course it is vital! I asked for lots of natural daylight, and a big double window at the front of the studio. The logical thing seemed to be to have a little table right there in the sunshine. It is a happy space for everyone. The kids have started doing their homework there. See that stool? IKEA again (I swear this isn’t a sponsored post!). The Bekvam stool is the best piece of furniture ever for a smallish person. It is slightly taller than a regular chair, doubles as a step stool for all the high places, and is highly satisfying to put together.
A friend gave me the kettle when I moved into the studio, and now I don’t even have to leave to make tea! I truly love being in this space. Autumn/Winter is going to bring a lot of productivity and new prints this year! If you need me, you know where to find me.