The dream studio tour – in the beginning


Because this is definitely not the end!

In my mind I’ve made both of my beautiful girls a couple of summer dresses each this year.  My imagination sees them floating around, cool and comfy in loose cotton, sewn if not completely expertly, then definitely with love and good intentions.  But you know what they say about good intentions.  I have fabric, I have patterns, I have thread, a sewing machine and even new sewing machine needles, and I have an excuse.


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Once upon a time on the side of our house there was a room called a conservatory.  It’s glass all the way around but with a solid ceiling so it’s not exactly a typical conservatory.  The previous owners used it as a dining room; or at least presented it as a dining room when we looked around the house, but we thought that was far to grown up and sedentary a use so it has in its turn been a sort of home gym (well it had H’s weights’ bench in it), the home of H’s darts board, his art studio, and most recently, when the imminent arrival of Elma evicted my crafty things from our remaining bedroom in favour of another cot and a changing table, our studio.

And then. Well it’s still our studio in name.  But it’s been a while since either of us could do more in there than the ironing.  Even the darts became a bit of a challenge.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Because the door between the studio and the kitchen is the original outside door to the house, it’s got a lock, and that means you can put all sorts of spiky, sharp, toxic toddler-enticing things on the other side, and they can’t get to them.  And as Kitty grows taller and taller we’ve discovered we’ve got more than a few of those, and not quite enough ceiling height shelves!

But enough is enough.  We want our studio back, and as the perfect time to start any major house project is when you’re so heavily pregnant you can’t reach the floor any more, we thought we’d go for it.  Well actually it was more along the lines of, if we don’t sort this now, we never will.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The plan was to evict the final chair of our very first sofa suite (bonus points if you can actually spot the chair) move the canvas rack from behind the ironing board to where the chair had been, and put in as much storage as we could squeeze into the remaining space.

And then de-clutter.  Well a little bit, and only within reason.

So we measured, went to IKEA, and bought what used to be called an Expedit and is now called something that sounds a bit like it should be cough medicine.  And as of a Sunday afternoon we have achieved stage 1.  We opened the doors, pulled out most of the contents and plonked them on the patio table and now – we have bookcases, thanks to some stunning work by H armed with an alun key and the curiosity that is a set of IKEA instructions.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Clearly we’ve some way to go, and my next challenge is to unearth my desk, but I think I can see enough progress to at least start dreaming of my Pinterest-worthy dream studio. I know I’m only going to get snippets of time to actually sit at my desk and play over the next few years so I want to make sure that I make the best use of that time when I can steal it. I have visions of a clear desk ready to work on anything that takes my fancy; the fabric and yarn neatly organised onto the shelves or bagged up as projects and tucked into canvas boxes, and I’ve got a plan for a terribly cunning sort of wall hanging system so that I’ve got all my scissors and rotary cutters and different sorts of marker pens all within reach.

So given that I’m starting, if not with a blank canvas, then a preloved but prepared to be whitewashed over sort of a one, I’m in search of ideas so tell me, what would you have in your dream studio?

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  • Eline 06/08/2014 at 11:03 am

    Sounds absolutely like the best kind of project to be doing when you can no longer touch your toes 🙂
    I long for the day we have a house big enough for a studio (right now we don’t even have room to set up or store my sewing machine so it’s living at my parents’…).
    I love the idea of a yarn & fabric storage system, and I would also have a gigantic corner desk so that it would hold EVERYTHING I wanted on there at once: sewing machine, then patterns, next to that sketch pads and pens, many cups of half-drunk tea. You get the idea. Because clearing up at the end of your snippet of time isn’t going to happen so you might as well leave it all out!

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:47 pm

      That does sound like a good dream studio – I’m still figuring out the yarn and fabric storage – at the moment the plan is basically to knit and sew what I’ve got and try not to buy much more until I’ve got a bit more space for it – there are still three cupboards upstairs to get through so it could take a little time!

  • tracey bowden 06/08/2014 at 6:18 pm

    What a perfect pregnancy job 😉 Totally what you should be doing right now! I actually decorated my whole house at 7 months pregnant the things we do hey. Good luck hope you get it all sorted soon x

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:45 pm

      Me too – I think all I really want is to be able to get to my desk to do a little sewing before the baby appears which might be achievable!

  • Christine 06/08/2014 at 9:21 pm

    Ah, I think I’d have to convert it into a library and reading area. I have dreams of having such a room one day…. Sounds like your studio will be a great space when it’s finished, don’t let it morph into a playroom though!

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:42 pm

      Oh it’s never going to be a playroom; well only for the grown ups – the children have the lounge!

  • Vickie 06/08/2014 at 9:48 pm

    Oooh what I wouldn’t give to have a studio of my own! I’d love to but every available space here is taken up with bright pink plastic toys, oddly enough. I do harbour dreams of getting one of these though distant, highly unlikely, dreams.

    Please post some after shots when your studio is all finished as I’d love to see them. Vx

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:42 pm

      Oh wow – that looks incredible – just look at all those little drawers and clever folding bits!

  • Katie 06/08/2014 at 10:31 pm

    Firstly I would like the space to have a studio so you are one up on me already! 😉 x

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:40 pm

      It’s one of the things we loved about it when we saw the house for the first time – even if H did have to tear up the floor and completely rebuild it after it rotted away!

  • Mandycharlie 06/08/2014 at 11:11 pm

    If you have room a cutting table at worktop height. Ikea do a range of tops which you then buy the adjustable legs, it was by far the cheapest option. Being able to have the sewing machine and overlocker plugged in and ready at the same time saves a lot of time. I haven’t got it at the moment but an office chair on wheels to scoot over to whichever machine you want to use is amusing. And the rest is various storage solutions of which your already having fun with.

    • Carie 07/08/2014 at 9:39 pm

      Oh I’d love a cutting table – but I might have to persuade H to do without a canvas rack to fit that in – unlikely to happen any time soon. Wouldn’t it be great to have one that stored in the ceiling like a laundry rack and you just lower it down when you need it!!

  • Robin 07/08/2014 at 9:35 pm

    Seems like a touch of nesting is setting in. This is a great project and you’re off to a good start! I’d love to have this room.

  • Jenny 07/08/2014 at 10:05 pm

    Oh how exciting to create your own space, I am dying to do that very thing myself. My projects keep getting tucked away in various spots. I love the room it has lots of light. You could do so much with this space. I recently shared my dream office space, if you want to peak for ideas. thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • Carie 09/08/2014 at 12:08 pm

      Oh I remember thinking your dream office sounded rather gorgeous – I’ll have to go and take another peek! I think I’m lucky in that many of my projects are fairly portable, I just long to get back to a little sewing again!

  • sally 08/08/2014 at 11:09 pm

    Crazy pregnant lady! My dream studio would be a studio, rather than my kitchen! Lots of storage, ideally open so you can see what’s there, as large a table as possible and a design board of some kind would be heavenly. Good luck with yours.

    • Carie 09/08/2014 at 12:31 pm

      Always crazy, occasionally pregnant!! I just have to keep reminding myself that I’ve only got half of it – both of us could easily use the whole space but we’re having to be good and share (and in a way that doesn’t get paint too near the fabric!!)