My 8′ x 11′ “Studio”

I am NOT an interior decorator.  Design principles escape me.  I also lack a knowledge of design concepts.  Mainly proportion.  The saying “Bigger isn’t always better” is a concept I learned way too late in setting up my room.

November 2003

This was my office and sewing room.  Scrapbook things were gradually brought in.  Mostly it was a dumping place with several flat surfaces.

When I wanted to work on a scrapbook layout I had to push stuff over on the 8′ table on the left in the doorway to do any work.

Real exciting and welcoming area, don’t you think?  This place made me crazy.  My justification was that being a truck driver and hardly ever home the room didn’t need to be anything special.  I wasn’t going to be there anyway, so it would just be a storage room that I would go and play in once in a while.

With my room being only 11′ x 8′ I knew vertical was what I was going to have to do.  I began searching online in 2005 for something that I could do with this room.  With a limited budget and unlimited questions about how best to do my room I began to really think about what I needed to do and what I wanted in my room.

California Closets

I wanted this, or something like it.  I had to measure my room and draw it out on some grid paper.

I had some grid paper 8-1/2 x 11 with 1/4 inch boxes.  I figured I could use that and the math would not defeat me.

I’ll wait for the laughing to stop.

That was a challenge.  Figuring out where the window fit on the diagram since it was not placed EXACTLY an even number of feet from the back closet wall on the left side of the window and from the kitchen wall on the right side of the window.  So I sort of guessed at where it was.  The closet and adjoining wall to the door were another issue for me to draw.  Then from the left of the door (inside the room) the wall makes a couple turns because of the furnace/air conditioner.

Once I had my floor space drawing done, then I had to figure out the height of the room.  There is a peak in the roof, more towards the door near the furnace  and outer wall, while it is  lower at the window side of the room.  This entire floor plan took me, literally, all day to figure out.  Someone with knowledge of how to actually do this could have had the room layout and floor plan done in about an hour.

Using the California Closets site I figured placement for the cupboards and the vertical bookcase like shelving units.  While hunting through the site I could not find costs for the units I wanted to use.  I had to find a local dealer.  $8,000 including installation.  Definitely NOT in my budget.

I had to adapt my plan to what I could afford.  My husband is totally AWESOME.  When I told him what I wanted to do he thought of Lowe’s so we went there to have a look at what they had.  I envisioned metal shelving much like the plastic shelving I already had in the room.  I was not looking forward to the trip to Lowe’s.

Lowe's Kitchen Cabinets

We bought 4 of these cabinets and I helped my husband install them.  All 4 were a total of $375.  A LOT of assembly was required in getting these ready to hang.  They came in a flat box with several bags of screws and other strange hardware.

The first cabinet was the hardest to put together, as usual.  Reading the directions and looking at the diagrams to figure out what we are being told to do.  The first cabinet took 2 1/2 hours to put together.

Once the first one was done, the remaining three were completed in the time it took us to do the first one.

I don’t have any idea why, but I had a stash of various types, lengths, and widths of wood in the closet.  The piece below the cabinets (used as a ledger board to hold the cabinet up for installation) had been moved around in this room several times before it ended up in the closet.  The thought of putting it in the trash had occurred to me several times in a few years but I hung on to it.  Some types of clutter can be useful later on.  NOT ALL OF IT THOUGH.

2 Large Storage Cabinets

The next purchase at Lowe’s were these two armoire type things.

The one closest to the door is 16-3/4 inches deep by 29-1/2 inches wide and 70 inches tall.

The other one is 21 inches deep, 47-3/4 inches wide and 70 inches tall.

My floor plan diagram was off by about 5 inches.  According to my drawing I would have had about 8 inches of room left from the outer edge of the closet door along the wall and to the room door.  By the time we got these units put together and up on the wall there is almost 3 inches of room left between the open door, that you can see, and the edge of the unit.

The cost of these two units was $350 and much assembly was required.  However, since we had already gone through the process on a smaller scale with the kitchen cabinets these units just required more floor space to put together.

Gallant Table With Extension from IKEA

I needed a table to work at and had found one at IKEA in Frisco, Texas while I was hunting online.  That was a day trip since Frisco is about 230 miles from our home.

This table with the extension was another Assembly Required item.  This is one heavy table and cost about $130.  While at IKEA I found several wooden box storage items that can be painted and decorated however a person wants to.  They are so handy I would recommend these to anyone looking for stack-able storage that can be altered to fit your own decor.  So at IKEA we spent about another $200.

For less than $1,000 I had my storage and room pretty much together.  Time, tools, sweat, and very little blood shed got this room to sort of be like the California Closets picture I so badly wanted.

IKEA Wooden Storage Boxes

These are the IKEA Wooden Storage units.  There are 4 of them here and each one cost $9.95.  Assembly Required.  The units come with all the screws, nails, and pre drilled holes to attach everything to.  It does not take long to put these together.

At first I just used a label machine I had and stuck them on the drawers indicating what was inside.  Not much imagination, I admit, but it was a place to start.

Wire Grid Cube Storage

I bought this black wire grid unit from eBay.  It came with enough pieces to create 4 squares.  This unit has gone through many transformations.

First it was along the wall on my table laid out horizontally with all my papers.  When I got tired of knocking things over to get at the paper products in the far corner I altered them to go vertical, as in the photo, and on the outer edge of the table.  Then it went in the closet and vertical to hold my papers after they came crashing out of the big wall unit the third time.

Kitchen Sink Shelf

My husband bought me a shelf that goes over a kitchen sink, a long time back.  This shelf had spent quite a bit of its life on a closet shelf or on the closet floor.

There were many times I picked it up and thought I’d put it out at the curb with a “Free” sign on it just to get rid of it.  But, I kept it.

It did, and still does, have a home on my table.  The thing to the right of it with punches hanging from it is a wall storage unit for rubber stamps.  At the time I had very few rubber stamps….not any more.  I purchased that item (the rubber stamp holder) from eBay.

So, since 2006 my room has morphed many times to fit the needs of my stuff.  And over the years I have acquired more stuff.

Before Thanksgiving 2009

My daughter in Arizona had a Workshop for me to do while I was out there.

I left this room in such a mess before I left town.  I had created some Thanksgiving cards here and made packets of things for the Workshop, cards for the people to do and a squash book.  By the time we were ready to leave town for the train trip my room looked like I felt.  Frazzled.

I had been dissatisfied with the look of my room for quite some time.

I admit it, the green eyed monster had seized me and I was coveting other peoples rooms.

I especially coveted this room….scrapduo…  I love all the color and the open space.  The big problem is that the coveted room is a whole lot larger than 8′ x 11′.  So I had to figure out how I could make my room pleasing to the eye – my eye.

So everything came out of my room…well almost everything.  It was piled up in the hallway and into the kitchen.

Books, television shows, and on the internet professional organizers have a mantra.  Sort like with like.  After I had that done I began to take a look at all I had and nearly ran screaming out of my home.  What had I done?  ALL THAT STUFF WAS IN THAT ROOM??????  How am I ever going to put it all back?

I had bought some things from IKEA while we were in Arizona and now I had to get them put up.

During this time my husband was beginning to feel better from his hypothermia illness.  At least I no longer had to take his temperature and blood pressure every hour as I had been doing for the past several days.  I could leave him for 3 or 4 hours at a time and if he needed me for anything he could holler.  He had no strength so I could not ask him to put the new items up on the wall.  I was going to have to use his tools.

I’ve watched many a DIY show with women using tools and it looked easy to do.  Power tools raise all kinds of fears and wild imaginings in my mind.  But I thought a cordless drill would not hurt me.  It didn’t, but it did get the better of me.

I thought, how hard can it be to drill holes in the ledger board under the cabinets at my table?  It can’t be too hard.  Well, I tried to do it for two days with very little success.  Either the wood was so much harder than the drill bits I was using or I just had no clue.  Yep, that was it.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

When my husband was up and around I asked him to come in and at least get one hole started for me.  Yikes.  I sure felt like an idiot when he told me I had the drill going in reverse the entire time I had been trying to use it.  He pushed the switch on the drill to go forward, then had to leave the room so I would not see him laugh.  I heard him though.

The Drill That Gave Me Fits

The towel bar like things with the hanging baskets is what I had been trying to get up for two days.  These are from IKEA.  The baskets can be set on a flat surface, mounted with screws on a wall, or they can hang from their handles on the bar.

You can see the drill in the foreground that had got the better of me.  Once I figured out how that puppy worked there was no stopping me.

Looking Into Room From Doorway

Looking At Table

Looking in from the doorway you can see the table has been pushed up against the far wall.  I took the extension off the table and shortened it quite a bit.  There is still quite a bit of work surface to use.

Looking Toward The Furnace Wall

I opened my fabric cutting table for my Cricut and my computer.  On the wall I mounted another towel bar thing and have hung smaller buckets to hold my decorative edge scissors and small punches – behind the Cricut.

Under The Fabric Cutting Table

This is under the fabric cutting table.  My larger punches – all Stampin’ Up are in the brown cardboard box that used to house photos.  Someday I will take the wooden thing that is next to the cardboard box and do something with it.  Might make some kind of an altered shadow box out of it.  I have to have the back of it fixed first, it has come loose.

The Rubber Stamp Holder

If I don’t see the things I have I forget I have them.  Then I go and buy more.  So I thought I’d make the rubber stamp holder into an embellishment holder.  Hooks and clips I got from IKEA.  There are dowels mounted into the frame of the rubber stamp holder.  Just the right diameter for the clip hooks I got to hang an assortment of embellishment items.

Maybe I’ll use these up and then have to buy more….

Ribbon and Chipboard

I now have most of my ribbon in front of me.  The regular spools fit in the IKEA basket, others had to be put in a wooden bowl which looks pretty good.

The chipboard embellishments I have had for a few years are now separated by color in glass jars and under that kitchen sink shelf unit.  Still have found a place for that thing.

My pens, pencils, scissors, paper piercer, and bone folders are in a box my daughter and her husband made a few years back for a bridal shower she was in charge of.

The IKEA Baskets

The IKEA baskets are hung from the rods and standing on the table.

My glues and glitter are in the hanging basket while my stamp cleaner and the tray for glitter or embossing powder stand in the basket.  I’ve also got my chalk from Stampin’ Up in the basket.

I have finally figured out a way to have the tools I use the  most close at hand without having to find them from elsewhere.

Stacking Storage From The Container Store

All the paper is now in vertical storage.

My Stampin’ Up paper is in the metal grid unit to the left.  Not much of that yet, but give me some time.

To the right of that are three stack able units from The Container Store we went to in Denver.  These are sweater storage units.  They are holding all of my non Stampin’ Up 12 x 12, 8-1/2 x 11, and scraps of paper.  I grouped the colors together.  Patterned and solid papers of each color have a shelf space of their own.

These papers will be used for my family gifts until I run out of all this paper.

Using The Large Cabinets For A Showcase

The room needed a bit of a color splash.  I had an idea to put scrapbook layout page protectors on the storage unit doors with layouts that need photos.  The colors add to the room and I can change them out from time to time or seasonal event.

Using that drill I mounted more bars to the doors of the storage units and hung more of my embellishment items from the bars with hooks and clips.

Tags, Words, Labels, And Letters

Embellishment items out for me to see.

I have tried to create a colorful space for myself.  One that is functional, organized, and pretty.

What I have seemed to have accomplished is something that looks a bit like a store.  I can live with that.

So….when you feel your space doesn’t speak to you any longer.  Or you begin to covet someone else’s space.  Maybe it is just time change things up a bit.

If you are contemplating setting up your own “studio” and are not sure what you will need in your space the best thing to do is figure out how much room you really do have.  What are your room dimensions – height, length, and width.

Just remember, if you have a small room don’t put in over sized furniture as I have done.  Bigger is not always better.  Another thing to remember is that your room will morph as you grow and get comfortable in what you are doing.  It is just as changeable as your growth and knowledge in this craft.

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About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

2 responses to “My 8′ x 11′ “Studio”

  • Glass Door Hardware

    Great work! You make it look like anyone can do this.

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, I appreciate your comment. Your space, no matter the size, can be made into your dream area. Look online to see what other people have done to their rooms. What is it you like about the rooms? If you are on a budget, what is available in your price range that will accomplish the same thing? If you don’t like having your supplies and products in sight and like to see the storage boxes themselves there are ways you can make that happen. If you are like me, once it is put away it is “Out of sight, out of mind” then there are ways to store your supplies and products in a visual manner that you like. Have fun with it. There might be a lot of “Assembly Required” in the process but it will be your space to make into what you like.

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