My Studio Makeover

My "studio" aka painting area is a hallway at the bottom of the stairs in the cellar. A few weeks ago I posted my before picture of this spot. It's a 6 x 8 foot space that is a pathway to the laundry area. All of the things I was using for storage were leftovers from when we moved into this house 5 years ago. My painting table was a metal garage shelving unit with various crates and closet organizer shelves stacked on top of it. It wasn't working really well for me. So I decided to study what was working and what wasn't working and to fix it up as a reward for working really hard for several months on my Izannah Walker Workshop.

What was working:
  • Having a dedicated spot for painting that is separate from sewing.
  • Keeping items like paint, colored pencils, gesso, etc at hand near the table.
  • Plastic drawer units to organize pencils, markers, etc.

What was not working:
  • The tower of shelving units on top took up the working space on the table.
  • I was storing things in this area (quarts of paint) that did not need to be stored here.
  • I needed to make some decisions about what I was going to focus on art wise. You can't do everything (although I like to think I can).
  • Things were getting lost at the back of the shelves in the metal storage unit
  • I needed to throw some things away (packrat alert!)
My $75 plan was:
  • Hang two shelves above the shelving unit/painting table and get rid of the tower of make-do shelf units.
  • Clean off the metal shelving unit and only store there what I actually use.
  • Hang a shelf on the right wall to act as a painting easel for larger works.
  • Skirt the shelving unit
  • Get some boxes or baskets or bins to act kind of like "drawers" on the metal shelving unit. So if things were in the back of the unit I could get to them by pulling the bins out a bit.
Here's before and after together...

What I actually did:
  • Cleaned off the metal shelving unit and only stored there what I actually use.
  • Hung two shelves above the shelving unit/painting table and got rid of the tower of make-do shelf units.
  • Hung a shelf on the right wall to act as a painting easel for larger works.

Mission Creep:

Then came a moment of decision.

After I had hung the shelves I realized how much I hated that metal painting table. It did not inspire, truly. I was constantly catching my clothing and hands on the metal edges of it. It was wobbly, and I wasn't even sure it was going to survive moving back to the spot it had been. So I decided to replace it. This went beyond my $75 plan, but imagine how happy I was to go to Lowe's and see they had butcher block rolling carts at a deep clearance price of $79. The red cart below was also on clearance and I bought it for $35. So all told I spent about $280, which includes the three carts I purchased and the shelving and hardware. All the other storage items were ones I had on hand. And I found lots of rolls of tape! It is so much better and brighter!

My easel area below:
a shelf on the wall as an easel,
a rolling veggie bin as a painting cart.

It is so much more workable
I am a happy girl!

So now to get working!
Notice the closed door
in the picture below
at the end of the hallway?

That's my sewing area.
My mom told me
to show that
on the internet.

At 47 do I need to obey my mama still?


Unknown said...

Dixie, this is terrific, I'm in the very same process myself, so now I'm inspired to carry on and get sorted!! Great job!
Love Sue

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Dixie, my husband just saw your new improved clean organized space and announced that I'm to emulate that from now on...and I laughed and laughed.

Seriously, you did a fabulous job and I'm sorry my husband saw it! I can't live up to that kind of neatness...for more than a day.

Denise said...

Wow. your space looks great! I love those butcher block rolling tables! very awesome! you are going to a creative magical being in this wonderful space now! Great job!

The Creative Bohemian said...

LOL, mom knows best, dontchaknow. You did a wonderful job. I would definately find creative inspiration is such a great space. Well done.


BumbleVee said...

Wow! What a difference and truly, the small amount you spent on the butcher blocks is minimal.... they are great and do a wonderful job (personally I hate metal tables and storage things)..
My husband just caught his best pair of slacks on some metal filing cabinets this week.. ruined.... and a big expense too.not worth being around things like that at all. Clever buy!

Your space looks good now....

sewprimitive karen said...

Your studio analysis / makeover was so much fun to read. I wanna see your sewing room :-). What could be so bad lol.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am impressed by your new workspace, and moreso by your planning. Great job.

Unknown said...

Wow, Dixie, Love this work space!!! The bench is way cool!!!!!! You did a fantastic job!!!!!! Love the doll standing there too!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sandy Mastroni said...

hey Happy Girl ... you're ready for " Where Women Create" magazine ... ha ha ha
No matter how hard I try I'm always in a mess , right now there are drawings and books on my ironing board
your studio area looks cozy ..... you did good

Dixie Redmond said...

Thanks, all -

The fact that this space won "messiest work space" on a group I'm in was a big motivator. :-)

Amanda said...

That is awesome!!! What a difference! I need some major help in a few areas of my home too. I'll be coming back to get inspiration. LOL

Annie Beez said...

This is so inspiring to me! Thanks for posting it Dixie!

Dixie Redmond said...

You're welcome. Robyn - you have my permission to ask for pictures of the space in a month. Maybe that will keep me honest. ;-)

Linda Packard said...

I so enjoyed reading about your studio makeover...simple but highly effective solutions. I'm also impressed that you were able to post the before pictures...I could NEVER do that. My studio space is soooo messy, way more messy than your before. Sadly I don't have the organizational skills to make changes that will last. Your planning and results inspire awe.

Dixie Redmond said...

Hi, Linda -

I should take another picture because it definitely doesn't look like the pictures above right now! ;-)


Linda Packard said...

That's a relief to know! I think that's why I don't bother to try as I know I don't have the discipline to keep it up. sigh. But then I spend so much valuable time looking for things. A life long battle.

a different world said...

hello-your site is so cute! Can you tell me more about the picture with the little girl and a teaset with a baby doll??

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden