Friday, April 22, 2011
The workroom is done, and ready for company. Come on in! I have wanted a room like this for so long. My whole life, I think. Years ago, I read A Room of One’s Own and I so clearly remember thinking, Yes. I mentally furnished it with an old wooden desk and swiveling chair, a drippy beeswax candle in a brass holder, and a grim little fire in a tiny grate, probably burning the crumpled pages of my rejected manuscript…well, that’s how your mind works when you’re an undergrad in English Literature. Anyway, even when I was reading in English Lit and writing long weepy poems about abolishing apartheid, I was staying up late into the night with my needle and thread, making (super ugly) quilts and ruffle-edged pillows and denim bookbags with rope handles and anarchy symbols on them. I crept down to the basement at midnight and sewed patchwork (I cut out thousands of individual one-inch squares with scissors and then pieced them into nine-patch blocks, one at a time; it took months) under a bare bulb and surrounded by spiders. I really, really loved crafting. I didn’t really realize that making things is my real and true work until much later, but I knew I wanted a quiet and dedicated place to be creative.
Our little house is very cozy, and it never seemed like there was a good place to semi-permanently set up a sewing machine, but eventually, it dawned on us that our “dining room” was really not much more than a wide hallway with a big table in it. You have to go through it to get anywhere else in the house, and the front door opens into it, which is a little bit odd, but nobody ever uses that door anyway. (Aside—I wish we used the front door.) Anyway, two years ago, I decided to take the room over, and salvaged a wire shelf and some fabric bins from the garage storage and made do, happily. It was so lovely to have a place to spread out. So fantastic to not have to clear everything away when we needed the kitchen table for something else. I can’t say enough about that, and I’m so grateful.
Then I got some big ideas. These things are what come from repainting your kitchen, and I know you all know what I mean. The minute one room looks good, the room next to it suddenly looks as dingy as an old shoe, am I right? Well, the old dining room is attached to pretty much every single other room in the house, so when I painted those rooms too, it just got worse and worse and worse looking, and of course I continued to work in there, and to accumulate stuff, create stash, and finally, I knew it was time. It was my turn! I was going to get my room. Really, after I saw this, it was a done deal, at least somewhere in the back of my mind. I saw it and knew. I went back and looked at that blog post a dozen times, just kept studying it, trying to figure out what about it was shouting at me so hard, loving the way everything had its own tidy place and there was space to move around, to walk all the way around a project, not having to rearrange the furniture to finish something. Oh, lovely! I also knew I was going to IKEA, even though it was hours away. Worth it, people!
Oh, mercyme, I did truly adore IKEA. I couldn’t believe how much of the stuff in that store I wanted. From IKEA, we bought the Expedit shelves (one 4 x 4 unit and one 2 x 4 unit), five white door inserts, and five Branas baskets. Honestly, the Expedit shelves are the key to this whole shebang—I really had so many little plastic tubs of teeny little things just stacked up on top of each other, and having these individual baskets and cubbies to sort it all into was just heaven. My fifteen-year old son put them together by himself, and wouldn’t let anybody help him. He said, “It’s like Legos for adults!” I got the humongous Martha Stewart farmhouse table at a church rummage sale (I know, right?) and it’s so big and huge that I had to have them deliver it. It’s got a shallow drawer in the side which is just barely too small for my self-healing mat—the only thing that hasn’t worked out perfectly. To get an idea of the size of the table, the mat up there in that photo is 18” x 24”—the size of a fat quarter of fabric. Yikes, that’s a huge table!
This antique cupboard holds my fabric stash. It’s not new to me, and in fact it’s still in the same spot it was when we started the redo. To the right, you can see my comfy chair, which I really lobbied hard to keep. That chair is a cozy cottage chair.
I also was not ready to get rid of my great-granny’s marble-topped table, nor my grandma’s oil painting of me, done from my fifth-grade school picture. So this is the real furniture side of the room. With a basket full of lambswool spilling out behind it. I’m still spinning like crazy…
That big cupboard holds all my yarn. Dean built it when we first moved here, almost twenty years ago. He won’t let me paint it white, and I can’t say I blame him.
I went out this morning to get some fabric to make some curtains—my first project in the new studio. I’m so excited, it feels like Christmas Eve. Thanks for visiting!