Quick shout-out to the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment I get every time I walk up the stairs and look into this lovely little room.
I think our apartment would be considered a three-bedroom if this room had a closet – and a door. Yeah, that whole lacking-a-door thing...don't worry future guests, we'll deal with that soon. (I'm imagining an accordion door, Kimmy Schmidt-style.)
Anyway, the craft room/guest room is at the top of the stairs, across the hall from our bedroom. For a long time, we had a baby gate blocking off the craft room so Samson couldn't get in. It was that dangerous for living things! Seriously, teetering piles of stuff, loose sewing pins all over the floor...ugh. Occasionally I could do a project in there, but we used it mostly for (dangerous) storage. Which was such a waste of space.
We had gone through iterations of fixing it up in the past. I would periodically try to tidy it, get discouraged, and go do something else. This time I meant business. I had just finished this book, was trying to stick to my new year's resolution of improving the quality of content on this blog, and committed myself to creating an usable, functional, not horrible space.
That started with absolutely purging the room of its contents. I brought half a dozen full garbage bags to Knack and Goodwill, and twice as many went in the trash. It was such hard work, but god, it felt good. I got rid of an enormous table that had become nothing more than a catchall, switching it out for a slight sewing table I found for free on the side of the road (yup). Next we painted the walls white. Then I designed some open shelving for the workspace side of the room, which my wife Kristie and I built together.
Are you ready? 'Cause here's the "before"...
Whew. I feel anxiety creeping back just looking at those photos.
We sold that big red futon, and a ton of other stuff that wasn't going to be sticking around (like a bunch of vintage cameras). Just...so much junk.
I wanted to create another space to house guests. Opposite from the workspace, we added a futon. We already had the mattress (from our front porch; it's been replaced with those two folding chairs) and bought the brand new frame from a Facebook tag sale group for $20.
I'm going to list all of our sources at the bottom of the post in case you're curious, but I wanted to point out the scissor print for a sec. That's a color engineer print that cost just $8! The photograph is for sale here.
Kristie attached caster wheels to those drawers under the futon so we can store sheets there.
I'm in love with these shelves. I get that looking at it objectively, this still might look super cluttered and chaotic to some people. But I love being able to see everything I use regularly. One of our goals was also to find a way to display my Nancy Drew collection, and some beloved vintage cameras.
Storage was definitely a big problem. Since the room doesn't have any built-in storage options, all my crap was either towering on that cluttered table, or it had to go on the wall. The shelving gives the room height too, and I like how it frames the sewing space.
I took to heart Marie Kondo's recommendation that rather than easy to find, things must be easy to put away. I've been trying to put that into practice all over the house, and we're seeing less clutter already.
Chiara gave me that stuffed uterus right before my first surgery for endometriosis! I love how happy it looks.
Here's another storage solution. It's to the right of the workspace (and you can see the doorframe to the right of that).
Oh, and look what's in those binders!
It took a little bit of thinking to imagine a space that could really do double duty: a working space for me as well as a welcoming space for our guests. I didn't want them to feel crowded, or like we hadn't thought about them when putting this room together. It's cozy for sure (the futon fits perfectly), but I tried to add small touches that hopefully make it seem as intentional as possible.
This is one of my favorite things to do before guests arrive! I make sure there are plenty of clean towels (our good ones, ha), as well as a tray with fresh water and glasses. I think it's just nice, especially if people don't know where your glasses are, or don't feel empowered to ask or go poking around your kitchen for water in the middle of the night. I usually stick a candle and pretty matches there too.
I'm glad we're using the shelving on wheels. This way it can be next to the futon when it's couch-style, and get pushed out and used as a nightstand when friends are staying over. (See what that vintage tray says? "A camel can go without a drink for 8 days – but who wants to be a camel?")
Sewing desk, Free by the side of the road
Cubby storage, Facebook tag sale group
"Do No Harm, But Take No Shit" print
Scissor collection photo
Futon frame, Facebook tag sale group
"Let's Stay Home" pillow
Other pillows, Target
Quilt, Urban Outfitters (sold out)
Feminist cross stitch
Greeting card box
Pink Instax camera
White plastic boxes, Target
"I'm the Boss" mug, Tandem Vintage
Turquoise clamp light, Target
Glass mugs, Ikea
Glass bottle, Target
Wrapping paper basket, Target
Faux succulents, Target
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