Creating that crafty space
The whats and the wherefores
Sometimes where you have to create is every bit as important as what you're creating. When #1 Son flew the nest, our daughter called dibs on his old bedroom so I, in turn, called dibs on hers. I had always wanted my very own creative/home office space and I was ecstatic that I would soon have lots of room. Ha.
Unfortunately, the combination of a haphazard 'decorating' style (due to budget constraints) and the addition of Epic Farms, Inc. to the space quickly turned it into a major disaster area. A hectic schedule didn't help things either; in a perpetual rush, I developed the deplorable habit of plunking things down in there to deal with later (and I'm sure many of you are already aware that "later" rarely happens).
After several near fatal (from apoplexy) paper avalanches and an increasingly overwhelming urge to just chuck it all - or light a match - I knew I had to do something drastic. Armed with some Christmas and birthday gift cards and a little bit of my own money (thereby negating the old adage: You CAN so too get blood out of a turnip ;o) I decided the time was right for some serious rearranging (before somebody got hurt).
Just so you know...
I started this project more than a year ago, and I'm still working on it. What can I say?
I'm slow ;o)
I'll be updating this lens over time as I (hopefully) continue to make progress.
The before photos are pretty scary (so don't say I didn't warn you).
Decorating style: Early American Horder? - (okay not really, but eek)
Just your basic appallingly disorganized disaster. Which, for my fellow acronym junkies, ironically becomes "B.A.D.D." (which is a good one - ha ;o)
I got off to a good start initially with the pegboard and a couple of storage pieces, but since I was funneling most of my money into the non-profit I couldn't afford to do much of what I wanted. I tried really hard to just make do for a while with the various freebies I scrounged up; I really thought I could pull it off....
Obviously, my *cough* grand plan failed miserably.
Piles, like wire hangers, tend to multiply when we aren't looking.
Better than nothing? - Well, maybe.
While I do like the filing cabinet (it was free and DD sanded it, then I painted it to match the room), the shelves were kind of a bust. Lots of wasted space in there. It was really meant for a garage, but beggars can't be choosers. Wow, I really gotta do something...Yeesh.
At least I'm happy with the pretty border and sunny yellow paint (one less thing to do - yay!)
Got your own homegrown disaster area? - In the words of Mr. Foxworthy: Heeere's your sign ;o)
In retrospect, I probably should have hung one of these on my door as a courtesy to friends and family. Not that I ever encouraged anyone to actually look in there. *grin*
When you're ready to renovate
It pays to plan, [wo]man ;o)
I love graph paper for figuring out a room. Even if you're not an architect, you can still come up with a close enough layout to see what will work, and what will not.
I'll be honest, my ginormous fantasy craft table was the thing that gave me the most trouble. I drew it, changed it, redrew it, and changed it so many times I lost count. Took me a couple of months to come up with a plan that I really liked.
I was still working on the table plans when I started tearing up the floor (such fun - NOT!)
Started at the bottom
and worked my way up.
Flooring - LOVE those vinyl tiles!
The carpet had been recycled from my parent's house years ago when they replaced theirs. Good for awhile, but definitely not the best for a crafty space with rolling chairs.
I found these inexpensive parquet tiles at Freds for about $10/box.
Tips for Tiles
(of the peel-n-stick variety)
Our house is on a concrete slab and even though you'd think it would be a breeze just to slap those tiles down, it doesn't always work that way.
Patching was needed to repair all the holes left by the carpet tacks (which made a spectacular mess), and all of the paint drips left on the concrete by the builders had to be scraped off. If you don't, it will make a visible bump in your tiles (particularly when they are the budget special kind ;o) I also took a wet rag and washed the area as best I could to get rid of lingering dust.
The guy at Lowe's suggested I spray the area with Loctite right before laying each tile; this would (hopefully) keep them from shifting - spectacular!
This stuff really was great - So far, nobody's moved
I wish I had known about this handy tip when I did our kitchen floor - even though we used expensive tiles and stayed off the floor for 48 hours, they still shifted.
It was a little annoying, but I sprayed each section of concrete right before I lay the tile. Definitely worth the extra step!
Prioritize your project
While I wanted to build my ginormous craft table first, I needed to finish the office side for Epic Farms.
The "Office Side" was completed first - (I had to at least pretend to be a grownup)
We took the doors off the closets for easier access. I may eventually put an inexpensive lace curtain or tablecloth ($5 at Freds) on the inside of the frame. I'm still trying to decide if I want to or not. Decisions, decisions...
The legs of the printer table (L) still need to be painted, but the top came from the ReStore (module below) and was already painted a soft white. I paid $5 for it. I just love that place!
From sinks and doors to mini-blinds
This place has amazing finds!
Oh to have known about the ReStore when we added on to our house; it would have saved us a fortune! Construction companies and contractors donate leftover items from jobs (residential and commercial). Anyone is welcome to donate their leftover building materials and fixtures.
Everything is pretty much at "yard sale" prices (so inexpensive, you feel like you stole it - it's awesome ;o) The money is used to help build houses for those less fortunate.
Initially, I thought the great big countertop idea for my monster craft table was a bust. Why? Because the cheapest place I'd found one was Surplus Warehouse; the countertop I wanted was a whopping $209.00. Are you ready for this? At the ReStore I bought an 8' by 3' section of laminate countertop for $28.00 (and yes, you read that correctly). Boo-Yeah!
I added a link near the bottom of this lens to find your nearest ReStore - it's SO worth a trip.
Think outside the box
for creative ways to keep costs down without sacrificing quality.
Be a stud - (try framing lumber)
It's usually fairly inexpensive and nice and sturdy. These 2x4's were only $2 each. I cut them up for the legs and then DD hit them with the router for me so they didn't look quite as clunky.
You should probably plan to paint them though (unless you want to advertise your studliness ;o)
Tips for trimming laminate countertop
Don't want to mess up our fabulous find, now do we?
One end of the top had a little bit of water damage, so I had to cut off about 8". Because that end would be up against a wall, it didn't matter if I messed it up a little (but I sure didn't want to).
Laminate is easily chipped, so it's important to be very careful when cutting it. Some masking tape over the area to be cut (you can see I drew my line on the tape) and a slow and careful hand on the saw should prevent this from happening.
I used my handy OTD (older than dirt) jig saw to make the cut, but I did go to Lowe's and buy a brand spanking new blade. I'd rather spend a couple of dollars and take the time than run the risk of tearing it up. Believe it or not, there is actually a special blade specifically for cutting countertop.
Lots of different manufacturers out there - So be sure the blade will fit your brand of saw
I went on line to see which brands would fit my old Skil; sometimes there may be more than one that will work. For cutting laminate, the teeth of the blade should be pointing downward.
I am NOT a carpenter
but with my budget, it was either figure it out or do without.
Measure twice, cut once - (and hope you don't mess it up ;o)
I put some self stick felt (craft aisle at Walmart) on the bottom to keep from messing up my nice new floor. It also made it easier to adjust the pieces when I was putting it in - the sections slid around easily without the weight of the countertop on them.
I put two together in an "L" shape for extra support at the corners of the table. I'll go back and caulk any gaps before I put the final coat of paint of it.
I test drove my countertop - (it made a nice work table)
The piece in front of my "work" table is the back support. I decided to make a fairly narrow shelf that would run behind the entire length of the countertop; the brackets are what I used to attach it to the back section. I'll explain why in a little while.
Admission of Guilt
Many bad words were snarled during the construction of this table.
I also spent a lot of time sweeping - Woodworking sure is messy !
Between the compound miter saw (me) and the router (DD), we sure did generate an awful lot of sawdust.
I'm not a painter either - (but I AM the cheapest labor I know ;o)
I tried to paint as much as I could before toting it inside to put it together; it's an awful lot easier to do this way.
P.S. I really hate painting :oP
Ready or not - here we go!
Because the bottom side of the countertop was particleboard, I couldn't keep it outside indefinitely without worrying about it starting to retain moisture and crumble. With a few days rain in the forecast, I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry.
So although I wasn't completely finished painting, I went ahead and took everything inside for assembly. Happily, I didn't have to bother painting the very top of the sections, as they were completely hidden under the countertop.
That's something, anyway.
Arranging the sections was a little tricky - but we got it (although I uttered a few more repentable words - oops)
Okay, maybe more than few since the smaller pieces on the left refused to cooperate and stay where I put them (apparently there's a lot of attitude in this project, and not all of it is mine ;o)
Remember the narrow shelf along the back? - Well here's the skinny on that (oooh that was bad ;o)
With a generous Michael's gift card (thanks Pop!) and great sale prices, I managed to get my hands on several scrapbooking organizer modules (geez that's a mouthful).
Because I am both greedy and messy, I wanted as much of that marvelous countertop space as I could get. The organizers would sit largely on that back shelf, with only a 2 or 3 inch overlap onto the countertop. The overlap meant that I would not have to bother painting the shelf either since it wouldn't show at all. Gotta love that multifunctional stuff. Boo-Yeah :-D
Because the countertop had finished rounded edges, I had to slightly offset the shelf in the back to allow for the small overhang. If I hadn't, the top would wind up sitting at an uphill slant on its edge instead of squarely on the flat part underneath.
I burned up a large number of brain cells figuring that one out.
Don't forget to be supportive - The corners aren't the only place that need a little extra staying power
I was tickled to find a heavy duty bracket left over from something else (don't know, don't care) to support the open area underneath where I would sit. I bought a second one for the other side.
Knowing that creative benders sometimes require framming and bamming away (with gusto) on a work surface, I wanted to be sure it was strong enough to handle all of that.
Nutshell: Sagging - me no likee.
I have to admit this was the best part - I sure do love my pretty white organizer cubes!
Took longer than expected though (due to the interference by numerous happy dances).
DISCLAIMER to above: As previously stated, I said I had to pretend to be a grown up - I never said I actually was one (maturity is highly overrated ;o)
Some clever storage - Can cut down on forage
I am stubbornly in favor of having "everything" at my fingertips; I hate hunting for stuff (which factored heavily into the creation of that disaster area, and actually makes no sense whatsoever as I found myself perpetually digging through piles). I love these storage modules! Although I still can't have it all within easy reach, they sure do help me keep an awful lot of things handydandy.
I'm still organizing away - (and procrastinating the painting part)
But I am SO very, very happy to have made it this far without either of us falling down (me or the table ;o)
And just look at all that marvelous creative space!
The (almost) final word
Sometime solutions happen in the strangest places - This is a video cassette storage cabinet
I paid $15 for it at our local rescue mission store (which was less than the cost of just one "on sale" organizer cube).
Positively perfect for cardmaking storage! - Who knew?
I did, silly (the minute I saw it ;o)
More progress to come!