The Making of a Craft Studio (VI): The Final Reveal!

A few weeks ago was moving day. With the help of hub’s brothers, all the heavy equipment was brought over from my old studio in my Mom’s basement. My craft studio is still not totally unpacked and done, but I couldn’t wait to show you the reveal. Here is what we started with in the basement….

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… and this is what the same vantage point into my new studio is like now! It’s the only expanse in the house that’s long enough to view the paint chip portrait I did of hubs. I think it’s only fitting to be displayed on the drivers side of his beloved beetle!

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Those cabinets with the VW beetle on the face started out life as temporary storage in our old kitchen. We never even got around to putting faces on the drawers! Luckily I saved them when we renovated the kitchen with the intent to repurpose them elsewhere. The transformation has made it my favourite highlight of the work we completed in my craft studio!

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The graphic is a picture of a VW beetle that hubs restored almost 30 years ago. A friend kindly helped us format and mount it on the drawer faces. Now it’s a real showstopper in my studio and amazing storage for my stash; repurposing at its finest!

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Repurposed kitchen cabinets + the old door from our cold storage room repurposed as a counter top make this storage unit a one of a kind piece!

The counter top had humble beginnings. It was also the utmost in upcycling because of its several lives before its final use!  You may remember it as the makeshift work top we fashioned out of sawhorses when we tiled the backsplash in the laundry room. It was originally the hollow core door to our cold room and we really put it through its paces when we renovated the basement. It turned out so well as a counter top that hubs even purchased another hollow core door and cut it down for the desk top right beside the storage cabinets.

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Old door from our cold room got upcycled into a countertop – but not before we used it to tile our laundry room and build the rest of the basement.

Here’s where the door was located in the basement originally. You can’t see it in the picture, but it even had a huge hole knocked into it (which I would assume the kids of the previous owners of the house did). The hole got cut off when we repurposed it.

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My studio is adjacent to our laundry room so there’s overflow from my craft room into that space too.

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Hubs just finished hanging our custom glass doors on the upper cabinets this weekend. It was so exciting to see it finally finished.

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The glass has a beautiful flowing pattern called everglade. It’s the same glass I used to create a new thermopane panel for our front door when we revamped our staircase. We cut the glass ourselves and installed it with a painted backing to match the walls. It’ll give me something pretty to look at when I’m not busy crafting – and hubs is doing the laundry!

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Speaking of pretty things to look at, I decided to display all my threads in a vintage oak glass display cabinet. I still haven’t unpacked all my fabric, so I’ll likely add some of that to the bottom shelf.

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The shelf beside the glass cabinet beautifully displays my collection of old irons and a few other vintage cast iron finds.

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I found the perfect glass jar to store my buttons on top of the glass display cabinet:

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The little card catalogue sitting on top was the very first one I ever owned. I loved it so much that I got a bit carried away and now I have three card catalogues of varying sizes. One of the larger ones is in the sewing room as you see later.

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The picture you see leaning against the wall won’t be there long; I just finished framing it for hubs’ man cave and ‘borrowed’ it, so I’ll have to sub in a different one.  I took the picture in the distillery district several years ago when I was taking a photography course.

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I have about 20 different pictures I’m in the process of framing and will likely rotate them between the man cave and my studio whenever I feel like a change. Here’s how I’ve already changed it:

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Across from the thread cabinet is an old metal sewing machine base hubs and I found on one of our antiquing excursions. Hubs  painted it and I paired it up with an old wooden board (I’m not really sure what it was in its former life, so if anyone knows, please do tell!).

For my last birthday, hubs repainted an old kerosene heater and commissioned a friend to paint a scene from our back garden around the front. I’ll be spending a lot of time in my craft studio during our long winter months, so it’s nice to have a reminder of our back garden to look forward to.

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I have a few old sewing machines to display also. I may mount them on individual shelves right above this on the wall if things aren’t getting too crowded.

Across from the laundry room is where my cutting table is located. The peg board shelf that’s leaning up against the wall was a vintage shelf upcycle project that hubs and I did a few months ago.

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I was planning on hanging the shelf above my serger, but it didn’t work out there because of the hanging pendant light. It’s a shame because now I’ll have to find another place for my upcycled clock that I found for only $1.50 and added my logo to using vinyl film.

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The perfect spot for the clock was on my pegboard shelf, but sadly I have no room to hang the shelf where it will be easy to access!

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We found the shabby chic highboy in the garbage and brought it home. It didn’t have any drawers, however it’ll be great flat storage for works-in-progress. I have a few print press letters and trinkets in the old printer drawer shown on top of it that I’ll eventually fill in as I unpack my things.

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Right beside the highboy I have an area for a desk which is simply the other hollow core door hubs cut down and painted for me (as you saw above). Underneath it, I’ve stored my air compressor.

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I’m still working on a vintage chair for the desk area. I’m also working on a drafting stool that used to belong to my uncle; I’ll use it for the cutting table. So far we’ve stripped the vinyl off the seat and painted the metal a tropical blue:

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I have plans to either upholster the seat in leather or strip off the foam and restore the wood underneath. Either way, I’ll be painting it with my birds of a feather logo (just like I did with the clock).

UPDATE – Nov 2016: The chair makeover is done! Check it out here.

When seated at my cutting table, I can see into the sewing room. I love having the feeling of open space instead of staring at a solid wall.

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The sewing room houses my card catalogue and there’s task lighting in addition to the potlights to light up the sewing and serging stations. The pendants are on a separate switch and are dimmable, but you can never have too much light in a craft studio! I was originally going to install some vintage green pendants but they weren’t wired and buying these RANARP ones from Ikea was the quick solution to getting it done fast. The beauty of it is that I can easily swap out the white shades for the green ones whenever I want to give me a winter/summer option (the shade is just held on by a clasp)!

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The card catalogue is from a local university. I’m so lucky to have it to store my smaller items.

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For larger storage, hubs built me an expanse of Ikea cabinets that runs the full length of the sewing room. If you’re interested in how I planned this storage solution, you can also see all the details of how I designed it specifically for my craft room using Ikea’s Pax Planner. Hubs also built me pocket doors to close off the sewing room which backs onto his man cave.

Above the doors is a vintage street sign we found on one of our antiquing treks while in the U.S. Where it hangs faces north and it just so happens that my MIL grew up on North street so the find was a perfect fit on so many levels – not to mention that it just looks great!

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I’m still undecided about what colour to paint the pocket doors! I’ve narrowed it down to four colours.  The orange is more ‘burnt’  than shown below and the blue is a historic colour with grey undertones. The other option is to paint them white to match the Ikea cabinets or maybe even a soft black, but those might be a bit too neutral for my taste! The colour has to work with the man cave too; any of these colours would work. Let me know which colour you’d choose in the comments section.

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I’ll likely add in a few throw rugs here and there; I might even have one custom made for the sewing room so I can freely roll the chairs around without dinging up the wood floors.

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Well, the craft studio is still a work in progress but Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my studio! I’m sure there will be some updates down the road as I finalize my storage options and unpack the rest of my things from the move.

At least now I can move my crafting off the dining room table and restore the rest of the house back into a somewhat better state of order!

If you’re interested in how I organized the craft room once all my stuff was moved in, click on the picture below for ideas on organization (or click here). Check out my new craft blog, Birdz of a Feather Craft, while you’re at it too!

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Now to finish the man cave, which is also a work in progress, so we can finally sit back and relax a little. The basement has been almost two years-in-the-making in total between the laundry room, craft studio and man cave. Hubs deserves a long break after all the work he’s put into turning it into a finished and usable living space! It’ll be nice to do nothing but sit on the couch in the man cave and eat popcorn this winter (with a little crafting thrown in for good measure).

If you’re interested in reading previous posts in the Making of a Craft Studio series, here they are:

  1. The Making of a Craft Studio– Calling All Crafters: Help Me Decide the Best Layout for my New Studio
  2. The Making of a Craft Studio (II)– Design Your Space Using Ikea’s Pax Planner!
  3. The Making of a Craft Studio (III) – If You Build It, She Will Come!
  4. The Making of a Craft Studio (IV) – Progress Report!

 

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Turning the Tides on the Laundry Room

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I’ve always hated doing laundry in the basement – or as I call it, the dungeon. In fact, I hated it so much that my husband ended up taking over the majority of laundry duty – even before I became chronically ill and he took that, and other household chores, over completely. When your husband is doing all the chores it’s not a bad problem to have, but it was time that we leave the laundry list of excuses behind and renovate the space. With me being ill, my husband bravely took on the challenge of doing the entire basement project by himself – without his “partner in grime” to lend a hand. I’m so proud of the progress he’s made and I’m even looking forward to doing laundry there once I’m better!

Our laundry machines are 25+ years old and still going strong – thanks to a little technical intervention from my husband every once in a while. We’ll probably never be able to completely solve the mystery of what happens to our lost socks, but we have what it takes to do something about spiffing up the space!

We have about 700 sq. ft of unfinished usable space in our basement (minus the tiny furnace room and cold room). We started with the laundry room first because we weren’t sure how we would ultimately use the space. When we finally decided that we would split the rest of the basement between a craft studio for me and a man cave for my husband, we could finally move forward with planning.

I’ll be getting into the transformation of the rest of the basement in future blogs – and even provide a tutorial on how to lay engineered floating hardwood floors – but for now I wanted to show you the progress of the laundry room to-date.

Here’s the raw space we started with:

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Tackling the renovation in stages is a great idea when you’re doing all the work yourself and have limited time on the weekends and after work, however things should ideally be done in a certain order to save both time and money. Although our first step should have been to plan the entire basement and map out all the walls, lighting and electrical, a few years ago the government was running a rebate program and my husband jumped on the opportunity to complete the insulation and moisture barrier first. We reaped the benefit of getting money back, however once our plan was finalized my husband had to go back and take down half of the insulation around the perimeter in order to run the electrical wiring for plugs and light fixtures.

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In our area, a homeowner can apply for an electrical permit and my husband was able to do all the work himself and get the necessary inspections. With taxes, the permit cost $328.83 – which may seem like a lot, but I think it is priceless for the peace-of-mind that comes with getting a stamp of approval on something as important as electrical work. I wouldn’t suggest you take on electrical work yourself unless you know what you’re doing and get a permit for the work so you can have it inspected by the City. There’s no sense in messing around with fire – figuratively or literally speaking!

My husband found the sink, counter and lower cabinets at the Habitat for Humanity Restore so he could complete his rough in plumbing. Like bringing home a stray dog, I didn’t warm up to it at first but after my husband explained that the sink alone would have cost us $300 new, it began to grow on me. It was actually only supposed to be an interim measure, but I like that there’s a pull out garbage on the right side of the cabinet and tons of drawer space for fabric softener sheets and detergent etc. The size is perfect, the storage is useful, it’s well-planned and the sink is a big and deep, so we’ll likely keep most of it and reface the door and drawer fronts to match the upper cabinets.

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Cabinet is a Habitat for Humanity Re Store Find

The upper cabinets are Ikea boxes. We used Akurum – the predecessor to Ikea’s new Sektion line of cabinets (these uppers were only 12” deep vs. 15” now, but I actually prefer having 3” less depth on the uppers so things don’t get piled behind and out of reach). Installation is a breeze because the cabinets come with a rail system that each box attaches to and it can easily be done with only one person. My husband built the door frames out of left over wood from another project and routed them out around the edges so I can insert a decorative glass panel in the future.

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Installing uppers

The backsplash was our next decision. I originally thought we should install a simple plain 12” x 4” white subway tile in a herringbone pattern, but when we went looking for tiles both of us spotted this 6″ x 6″ patterned tile and immediately fell in love with it:

Patterned tiles are hot right now.  I absolutely love the real encaustic cement ones that are hand made, but this porcelain one is a great compromise: you get the look without the cost – or weight!

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Patterned Porcelain Tiles (6″x6″)

I was still torn about which direction we should go with the tile so I thought in order to visualize how each option would look, I would bring all the elements into Photoshop and “mock it up”. Mocking it up was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had (it also makes me feel like I’ve contributed something to the renovation as it will save us from potentially making a costly mistake by choosing the wrong finishes). Somehow looking at a picture of the finished product makes a huge difference over just looking at a single piece of tile propped up against the wall and then guessing what it might look like in its finished state!

Here’s a picture of what the laundry room looks like to-date (before flooring, glass inserts and refacing of lower cabinets):

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Here’s the comparison of how each tile backsplash MIGHT look – with the hardwood flooring done, glass inserts in place and the lowers refaced in a dark wood to match:

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Patterned porcelain and classic herringbone mock-ups

I think hands down, we both prefer the first option; I like the subtle colours and the pattern brings a lot of interest to the space. We’re just waiting to get a real sample of the tile in hand to make our final decision.

What do you think? Do you have a preference? If so, leave your comments below!

Once we get the tiling done, I can’t wait to reface the lower cabinets so it looks more cohesive with the uppers. I’d also love to replace the laminate counter top with something like quartz; maybe one day when the budget allows. You’ll see the final transformation once we’re done so stay tuned for the big reveal!

Update 03/05/16:

We ended up purchasing the grey porcelain patterned tile and my husband installed it today! Here’s a sneak peak of it in progress while it’s drying and waiting for grout. I think we made the right choice!!

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