Friday, January 16, 2015

Evolution of a Working Space

As some of you who follow my personal blog may remember about 18 months ago I had my garage converted into a purpose built studio which I thought would accommodate all my creative needs for the foreseeable future. It seems I may have been wrong on that score.

Before the conversion I worked from my tiny 9' x 6' ish box room which didn't have the spare capacity to swing the proverbial cat.

These pictures were taken after a major clean up operation and most of the time there would have been far more clutter and far less space!

There was definitely no room for a kiln in here so that had to live in the cold, windowless garage that was also full of the usual household junk...not much fun enameling out there in January I can tell you.

So in the summer of 2012 I bit the bullet and called in the builders which resulted in this bright and breezy little studio. All my jewellery making paraphernalia, beads and work table live under the window...

I have two work benches for component making and all the various mechanical and production processes that go into my work, lots of storage...

And a wet area for all those messy jobs...

And lovely it is too so what more could I want? Well judging by how it looks today either more space or a cleaner...

Just as well I have no kids to nag about cleaning their rooms...not much of an example am I. To be fair this is the aftermath of a rather long and concentrated period of jewellery making to meet a deadline which left no time for clearing up as I went - my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

However this little haven of creativity has already had to adapt in its short life. When I planned it I hadn't yet discovered the joys of working with clay or the amount of space that requires. My rapid addiction to this medium meant of course that I had to buy another kiln and be able to vent it and run it while I was working. And as for office and shipping space, no chance so unless I was going to keep clearing things away before starting the next task something had to give and that something turned out to be other parts of the house.

I've spent the last few months doing up the rest of the house and while I was planning that work I started thinking about how I was using the available space. I live on my own in a small three bedroom house and I've always had it set up quite traditionally with a dedicated dining area and guest bedroom that only occasionally got used. The dining table acted as an overspill work area and was always covered in clutter and I was beginning to take over the  guest bedroom for shipping but it was very impratical. So in a long overdue light bulb moment I decided it was time to make the space work for me and my needs.

The bed from the guest room has now gone and the table from the studio has been moved in to make a proper office area with all my shipping material close at hand.

And a lovely new sofa bed takes care of visitors and gives me space work to on admin and relax.

I was delighted to find that the dining table fit perfectly in the studio which now means I have a much bigger and better work table (currently buried under all that mess) which can be wheeled back out should I need to entertain formally, which is rare.

The dining area now has seating that overlooks the garden where I love to sit with my coffee in the morning and do my online work. I don't always get my preferred seat though as you can see.

I've also installed a bookcase with many of my creative books...beading, jewellery, ceramics, art and art history, travel and cookery which makes it a great spot to chill out and be inspired.

And what about that little box room where I started out..? Well that is now my kiln room, storage area and occasional gym....the kilns get used a lot more than the rower does! Hard to believe this is where it all began.


So I now have about half the house set up to cater for my business needs which is fine because that's where my passion is and it's working really well because the living area is no longer full of work clutter. I guess now I just have to resist getting into anything else that requires it's own dedicated work area.....oh dear!


  1. What a joyful post! Live your passion!!!

  2. The before and after pics made me giggle... looks like a bomb went off. They do say creative types are messy (my excuse!) It's much more fun when you have a proper space for everything!

  3. Lesley, what a fabulous redo of your house to create spaces that serve you perfectly!

    And I hope you know that all of us true artists have clutter like that.

    I don't think I could be close to someone who had a perfectly tidy workspace!

  4. What a lovely post. Huge evolution! You have a lot of room for working.
    It´s nice to see where my lovely pieces which just arrived are come from. :)

  5. What a wonderful space Lesley. I am glad that you converted it to be what you need.

  6. It is perfect!I love the dedicated sink for your work. I SO need one of those. Wonderful!

  7. Last year I moved from working in the dining room and kitchen to a small garden shed which is so much better but a bit like you, the more space I have the more I seem to need!
    It looks like you've got things sorted out just right now :D

  8. Smart thinking. It's your house so make it work for you, not the occasional visitor. Congrats!

  9. Everything looks gorgeous (even the mess since I know what comes out of it!). Nice that you now have multiple spaces that suit your varied needs.

  10. Faaantastic! I love getting s sneak peak into people's studios. And it's been fun following the progress of your studio development. While living at my house in KY, between Nellie and I, we had taken over approximately 70% of it for studio use. It kinda crept up to that level over a period of 3 or 4 years. So when I moved back to NY and build the new place, I pretty much knew from the get-go that it would be primarily a studio, with an apartment-sized area for our living space. It seems to be working out okay so far. The only thing I might regret is not having much space for having people over or a guest room. We still have the cabin so our rationale is that we can use it for those purposes. Anyway, Fun post - thanks for sharing!

  11. I LOVE your redo. Much more sensible use of space. You do know you will expand to overfill it, right? Because that's what we do :-)

  12. Lovely post - so interesting to see what has happened since you had the new part built!


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