Before children, Jeff & I built this big new kit home. The kind you buy off plans & feels impressive because there is so much more space than you ever think you'll need & its all new & nice. Its not really what I would consider to be a super quality built home. They are kinda cheap in terms of housing. Anyway, its home.
For many years while we were trying for babies, we did have all this extra space! I took over the top floor landing area which on the house plans is known as the kids retreat area, for my art room. It is actually pretty huge. But then I've been collecting art supplies & merrily making things since I first became a teenager. Stationery & art supply addict, shall we say?
So what started as a couple trestle tables & a bookshelf or two to house my crafty passions+ sewing machine & fabric addiction..... expanded somewhat, particularly after discovering scrapbooking..... add more trestle tables, more shelving & the great wall of expedits.... suddenly I have a very full room. I now have 5 children too who need to walk right through the art space so a whole corridor runs right through it to their bedrooms. The kids also use some of my space for their artwork too.
Basically I am at the point where I am overloaded with stuff on top of stuff & very little room to actually sit & work. I have to block off the artroom each night so the kids won't walk into the area that holds potentially dangerous paints & mediums + knives & carving tools. I also have to climb onto my chair to face one desk and then when I want to turn around, I have to get up and lift my legs over to face the other desk behind me. Slightly crazy. You can see more here in this post from back in 2008. Its even more cramped now!
Everything is very organised, its just that is has become very very cramped. I am actually still productive in the space but it is hard to get in & out freely & to work in relative comfort.
So I have been trying to think of alternatives to my artworking for the last couple of years. I have moved my office space downstairs, then brought it back up. I have moved my sewing stuff downstairs, where it is now & share the kids playroom space. Its not ideal & its not very comfortable. I don't have any permanent table space to cut out fabrics. I hardly have any room to dry painted canvases upstairs so am limited to how many paintings I can be working on. Then there's despatch for my little growing business which is difficult to fit in too.
I've thought how lovely it would be to have a professional working space outide the home but realistically, we can't afford it and I couldn't cope with it. I NEED to have both my babies & my art supplies close to me.
Recently some of my lovely friends have been sharing their plans & set ups of their new studio spaces & I've been both inspired & dissolutioned about how I could improve my space. Its encouraged me to think outside the square.
And then, just this week it hit me. Just perhaps, there was another way for me too. Afterall, the playroom space downstairs, right by the front door, is a constant source of frustration for me. I prefer not to have messy messy messy as soon as you step foot in the house!
So I have been madly measuring away, looking at our home spaces, talking to Jeff, working out possibilities and......
I think I just may have hatched a brilliant plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By pulling out all my trestles and bookcases & art stuff from the landing upstairs, it leaves a huge space. A space that could accommodate kids craft table, a computer bench in an open area, a couch, a TV and of course the 'great wall of expedit' could house ALL their toys + more......
It would be a dream come true for the kids to have all their stuff in one area and multiple activities set up permanently. I have high shelving on the wall in addition to the expedits so their supervised craft stuff could be stored appropriately too. A lovely large floor rug would be the only expense to make this a true kids retreat. And upstairs too! Toys out of my formal areas! Yay! And it is as the house plans originally intended. It makes sense.
So that then leaves me & my art stuff a bit homeless. But the playroom ['office' on the house plans] is then empty. At approx 3m x 3m, its certainly not big enough for all my art stuff but it would make a brilliant office, as it was intended to be! There's already good shelving in place and a long bench the width of one wall. Perfect!
Now for the biggest change & move our family has made in our home. I'm going to take over the garage! Its the perfect compromise while the children are still small and I want to be close by. At 6m x 6m, there is certainly lots of scope to house all my things, and more importantly, be able to house my things in a spread out & more organised & comfortable way.
Our cars will have to sit in the driveway of course but with a house bulging at the seams with people & stuff, there is nowhere else to go. I've demonstrated that art is something I'll never give up. That I have had some successes & its worthy of a decent space. Ok so a garage doesn't sound that exciting but really, it isn't so bad. The walls are either gyprocked or rendered. The foor is cement.
Lighting is the only expense in the short term. Maybe some more powerpoints at some stage too.
So, now I have the big task ahead to make it all happen. It will be a staged affair. I will first get the garage ready.
* I need to move some stuff - sell it, donate it, throw it.
* I want to paint all the gyprocked walls & rendered walls a nice warm chalky white
* I want to paint all the odd bookshelves & second hand furniture in our garage & home, that same nice chalky white & it will all sit up against the walls in the garage
* I will then slowly dismantle my art room and move it all into the garage & into the office
* Lastly, the kids things can be moved & set up upstairs
I estimate it will take several weeks of moving and sorting and setting up. I estimate it will also take me several weeks to sort the garage & paint furniture too. But thats ok. I also have two trips away in the next couple of months so the timing isn't brilliant but I will just keep working away at it. The kids are super excited too!
I really hope my vision of my future art space comes together. I think I can totally make this work & its going to be fabulous for everyone. Considering my husbands work hours are changing, it all ties in very nicely.
I have a board on Pinterest for art room/office spaces & in the last few days I've been ramping up my search for ideas.
Here's the link to my Pinterest board. Some are a bit sterile looking for my liking [do people actually make art in those spaces?] and some others will be beyond my reach financially & space wise.
I love the idea of higgledy piggledy mismatched furniture all painted white, up against the walls. Then a few large trestle tables puched together in the centre of the room. Lots if interesting & whimsical things to be displayed around the place & tons of colour pop all over the room against the crisp white backdrop. Coloured baskets on shelves, colourful paints & books, chairs & ottomans.
I want paper lanterns, fairy lights, a colourful framed mirror, clippy wires on spare walls to clip up inspirational pics, my homemade wored bircage, bunting, fave art book nook and definitely my old record player & record collection. 70's & 80's here I come.
Anyway, here are some of my favourites...
Picture sources from top to bottom:
So there you go. I am so excited about our plans. It'll be a work in progress for many months but I hope it will be well worth it for everyone. Naturally, I'll share my progress along the way!