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My family and I live in a 160 year old farmhouse in rural southwestern New Jersey. We are surrounded by acres of soybean and corn fields, horse and cattle farms, and we actually live just 2 miles from a rodeo- yes, a real rodeo with real cowboys and everything! (New Jersey really is The Garden State…)
I am so blessed to be able to live and work in this old house, I love the character that the hardwood floors and original moldings provide. It’s fun to imagine what life was like for the families who lived here before us…. Lucky for me, it is also a big house, and I have 3 rooms for studio space.
Two adjoining rooms downstairs (which were the original parlor and dining room of the house) provide me with space to paint, sew, and work on my computer. One of my favorite things about these rooms is that there’s lots of light from several windows.
Here is where I paint and sketch:
I love the big countertop where I can spread out all of my stuff. It is usually covered with art supplies, reference photos and materials, books, etc.
This long counter top on the left provides a lot of work surface for doing crafts and piling up my “works in progress.” I also have my lightbox stationed there for tracing patterns, etc. “Reference materials” (which is really just a fancy way of saying collections, junk, & stuff) are lined up on top of the cabinets and along the counter top. In the corner to the right, there is another desk with my computer, extra monitor, printer, etc.
In the adjoining room is my sewing area. The table is just an old kitchen table that we found at a yard sale- I stained the top a dark color and painted the legs very pale blue for contrast. I have an Amish-made quilt rack (purchased in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) which is not only good for displaying quilts, but it also has a shelf where I can display other knick-knacks and more “reference materials.” The quilt hanging up is one my favorite designs, called “A Peck of Pears.” The chair, which has a needlepoint cushion cover, belonged to my husband’s grandfather.
Vintage ribbons and trim (a real weakness of mine!) spill out of bowls and buckets.
My cat Maddie likes to snuggle up on a pile of quilts that I stow under the table.
And my Chihuahua, Alfie, is always willing and able to be a “quilt model” for me!!
Every work area needs a little space to relax and dream… I created a little reading nook with a chair from a thrift shop and shelves from Ikea. The baskets on the shelves contain fabric (you will see, there is fabric stashed everywhere in my studio.)
This cabinet was actually piece of a desk that I rescued from a salvage shop. I dry-brushed pale blue paint over the top of it to highlight the fabulous carving in the wood. I use it to store buttons and notions. More buttons find a home in buckets and boxes that sit on top.
This armoire houses lots of fabric and notions. It was dated-looking 1980’s television cabinet- I white washed it with pale blue paint (I used a lot of that pale blue paint in my studio!), put a curtain behind the glass door, and replaced the old pulls with some that had a vintage look. Voila! We piled up old wooden crates on the top for more storage- perfect shelving and organization for books…
My fabric cutting table- this was also an old kitchen table found at a yard sale. It had a top made of white tiles (remember how popular those tables were several years ago?). Again, I painted the legs pale blue. I stained the edge of the table top dark brown, then replaced the tiles with a piece of plywood. I designed a painting with one of my favorite Bible quotes and painted it onto the new plywood top.
Another favorite quilt, called Merry-Go-Round, is displayed. The scissors on the wall are actual vintage sewing shears from the dress factory where my grandmother worked in the 1950’s. (They are huge and weigh a ton!)
Hooks on the wall are great for storing embroidery hoops. Wire baskets hold more fabric.
This ribbon rack was made from curtain rod holders and small curtain rods found at the hardware store. It’s a very practical and pretty use for wall space.
Are you tired yet? Because you still haven’t seen the “upstairs tour”….
When our oldest daughter got married and moved out, we found ourselves with an extra bedroom. We had originally decorated the room when my daughter was about 8 years old. It had yellow bead board and lilac wall paper. My daughter tried to talk me into re-painting when I converted it into extra studio space, but I just didn’t have the energy for that! I decided that the colors worked fine with my stuff- it’s cheerful.
In addition to the yellow bead board and lilac wall paper, the room also already had shelving all around (for displaying my daughter’s doll collection). This, I discovered, was prime real estate for storing and displaying fat quarter bundles which are waiting to be purchased & go to their new homes, as well as many of my project samples:
I already had many of the furniture pieces in the room. The dresser is a vintage piece from my grandmother- great for storing all kinds of stuff. I had the rug, and the cedar chest. The cedar chest used to belong to my oldest daughter, but it’s not her style and she left it behind when she moved out. It is perfect for storing all of my wool and protecting it from moths:
This cabinet used to be in my youngest daughter’s room. When she decided she didn’t need it anymore, it became a great place for me to store piles of quilts that used to be hidden away in plastic bins:
I did buy a couple of pieces of furniture for the room from Ikea. My favorite is this gate-leg table. You can have one side of the table up, or both, or neither, so it’s really convenient. There are drawers on both sides for more storage. Plus, I think it’s just really cute. It works out really well when I have lots of fabric to cut (like when I’m assembling bundle after bundle of fat quarters…)
I also got some shelves from Ikea so I have a convenient place to store my bolts of fabric, and other cute stuff:
A bonus of this room, which I didn’t even realize until we got it all done, is that with 3 east and south facing windows, the light is great! So it makes a perfect little photography studio. And since I have managed to keep it pretty neat and clean so far, it also means that I don’t find myself spending half an hour to find a clear surface so I can set up a photo.
Thanks for joining me on this tour of my studio! I hope you have enjoyed it and that you have found it a bit inspiring. Now maybe we should all go and “make something”
P.S. You can also take a “video tour” of my studio!