Monday, July 23, 2012

My Studio Redo

After years of waiting we recently ripped up the carpet in our bedroom and my studio and put down wood flooring to match the rest of the house. That meant everything had to come out of the studio which was quite a task! In the process I decided I would PURGE and only keep what I really needed and was planning to use. Once those new wood floors went in I decided that an overhaul of the room was long overdue, after all I spend many, many hours in here either working at the computer or designing and stitching appliques.

So, first I will share my BEFORE photo with you and it is, well, a little scary! I did a decent job of keeping it clean and things put away, but it was very cluttered. I had lots of shelves and storage, but none of it was pretty! I was using our old kitchen table for a desk which meant no drawers or keyboard tray. And all my tables were white plastic 'church' tables. And lots and lots of plastic storage bins!!
Okay are you ready? Here's before...

Not awful, but nothing exciting. I hope this is not the pic that ends up on Pinterest!

Now, on to the good stuff! Here is my after...

Quite a change I know! My studio is actually our 4th bedroom and was once our laundry room before our house was remodeled several years ago. It is not a regular size bedroom, much smaller actually, just 9 feet wide by 11 feet long, with a closet.

When I decided to revamp I had 3 goals: more white plastic tables or plastic storage bins!

2...a vintage dresser for a work table and

3...a display wall for my samples that I could change. 


I had spotted this system on a trip to Ikea and thought it would be perfect.

The bins hold supplies for the sewing machine and a few other things. The rods, bins and hooks for the bins are all from Ikea. The rod clips that are holding the samples are curtain clips, these are from Wal Mart. They matched the Ikea things perfectly.

This little chest is a local antique mall find. It is great for storage! I lined the drawers with dollar store wrapping paper.


Now for my favorite part of the room...


Believe it or not this dresser was a freebie given to me by a friend who wanted to get it out of her garage! Now it did not look like this when I got it...Here is the before:

The bottom two drawers were missing :( My friend gave me the idea to use baskets in place of the drawers. She did have one of the drawer fronts which had two handles on it so I had my husband cut two strips out where the handles were and we mounted them in the middle for a separation for the baskets. Then I painted it all white and distressed and waxed it (Annie Sloan chalk paint). The challenge was finding just the right baskets and I tried many before I decided on these which came from Michael's.

The two shelves are from They arrived in boxes and my husband put them together. Finding the right baskets for these was challenging also. These I finally found at Homegoods and the two bottom on each shelf hold the fabric that I use most, separated into 'big dots', 'little dots', 'checks' and 'other'. The rest of my fabric is stored in the closet in the room.

Don't you just love these chalkboard tags? I got these from BradensGrace on Etsy. I used a chalk marker from Hobby Lobby to write on them, it writes darker than actual chalk and still comes off with water. I have to get some more of them!

The vintage chandelier was a $20 find from a local antique mall. It had been half spray-painted white and had no crystals, but luckily I had a stash of crystals from my days as an antique dealer (before I was a digitizer). I covered all the light sockets with little plastic bags and hung it from a tree in my backyard and spray painted it with flat white spray paint (the cheap kind from Wal Mart!). I purchased a swag light kit ($18 from Home Depot) and it had the chain, wire and hooks all included. I made the cord cover from cotton fabric. Since I have a large flourescent light in the room I really didn't need any extra lighting so I put 15 watt bulbs in just for 'atmosphere' and they are perfect! This was something I had always wanted to do in a room in my house so why not my studio?!

I made the valance from regular burlap (from Joann) and lined it with tan cotton. Made the ruffle by zig
zagging over jute string and then pulling it to ruffle and fraying the ends a bit. Took me all of about an hour!


The vintage white frame is another find that I've had stashed in my shed a while. Again, lots of flat white spray paint and a little distressing. The thread holders are from Joann and were also spray painted white. Now, this is not all the thread that I have, but it's the colors I use most. I have the rest of my thread stored in a bin close by when I need it.

I found this white desk at a local salvage furniture store that has brand name furniture that is 'less than perfect'. I thought it was just right for the room. It's so nice to finally have a keyboard drawer and a few drawers for supplies. Over top we added a couple of floating shelves (Home Depot) and that gave the desk some height and a  place to display photos and have a little storage.

And finally, my closet got a bit of a redo also, this is where I keep the rest of my fabric and the few blanks that I still keep in stock. I could have done more here but by the time I got to the closet I was getting burned out!

Here's a close up of some of my favorite details of the room.

I used a vintage glass carrier filled with dollar votive holders to hold the things I use often on my work table.

These wire baskets look vintage but are new from Big Lots...

The burlap curtain as a backdrop for the dainty vintage chandelier...

This thread catcher is from nstitches4u on Etsy. I love it! It holds pins and has a bag for threads and a pocket for your scissors.

And I love having this pic of me and the other digitizers from the Everything Applique Conference.

Thanks to my hubby for all the work he did to help me with the room...even when he thought I was crazy for hanging a chandelier over my work table he went along with it :)

I hope that my studio will inspire you to make your sewing space something that you love to work in and a place where you can be your most creative!


  1. It looks amazing, I love it! The vintage touch is great, and now it looks like the perfect "sanctuary" for you. Great job!

  2. I love it! Just a little shabby but mostly chic! Makes me want to finish my room! Thanks for sharing!

  3. LOVE it! I'm in the process of planning my craft room re-do, and when I saw your post about the chandelier, I told my husband that was definitely going to have to happen! Thanks for sharing. Love the inspiration.

  4. This is just gorgeous, Karen! You did a fabulous job! Kudos to you! :-)

  5. Beautiful, Karen!! I love it! The chandelier has been a dream of mine and you just got me thinking!!

  6. You did a beautiful job! I love the burlap valance! So jealous. I pinned it.

  7. Karen, I am putting down the same floor in my studio. What do you have under your embroidery machine? I see we have the same stand but I am concerned about the feet and outriggers. What do you have under it?
    P.S. You (and your hubby) did an amazing job.

  8. Karen it looks fantastic and sooo organized you have done an absolutely gorgeous job. When I saw the before pics I thought "my goodness she has been sneaking pics of my place as this is just what my sewing room looks like on a good day" LOL.Just wonderful you have given me some great ideas and some inspiration to get my space sorted.

  9. Thanks for inspiring me. I love your room! I want to make my craft room looking much better. Now I just have to find the time. :-)

  10. It was a great redo. :) Organization and cleanliness are the things that matter for me when it comes to my workplace. Another thing is congrats for finally having a keyboard drawer! You wouldn’t realize how much support and convenience it offers until you finally experienced using one. How was it? :) It’s better if you designed it ergonomically. This would let you type and click at a more comfortable height and depth. ;) Lance Vartanian

    1. Interesting that you should ask about the keyboard tray! I have been having some trouble with my elbow and shoulder and I am afraid it's a combination of increased hours at the computer and the new set up with the keyboard tray and mouse differently that it was before :( I may need to move the keyboard up to the top of the desk, and see if that will help me. Thanks!

  11. Do you use the table in front of the window to cut your fabric on? You did a great job and now I want to work on my room😀



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