The Studio – Putting it Together

It is hard to believe that all our worldly possessions landed here just 3 weeks ago. We have been busy unpacking and continue to marvel how we fit everything we have into our two small (600 sq ft) apartments in NYC. The upstairs of the house is semi-functional but I needed to move quickly to getting my studio together. This is how it looked at the end of moving-in day – PRETTY SCARY!!!

The first task was to paint the room.  It is in the basement and it had previously been used as as family room. It was painted a medium tan color and it would be great for a family room.

With the limited natural light that comes into the room I knew that I needed to lighten up the walls a bit, so I checked in with my online friends and there were several suggestions.  I went with a very light grey.  I will be honest when I say that it looks a bit darker on the walls than it did on the paint swatch and I was a bit worried that it might be too dark, but I think it will be just fine.

I have the longarm on the wall I had originally planned – but I thought I had measured accurately – but I didn’t so it proved to be a tight fit. I was going to move it to the side wall (which is longer) but the ceiling dips a bit as it covers the support beam and heating duct.  I find that when I walk from one side of the room I kept ducking worrying that I am going to hit the ceiling (which is not the case). So, I decided to leave it on the far wall feeling it would be better to deal with the tight space than having the sense that I would be hitting the ceiling everytime I made a pass on the machine.

My Ikea bookcases just squeak in – they are almost too tall. Unfortunately I can’t use the extenders I had on top of them in NYC – but they will be reused somewhere else in the house for storage.  At this point I just unpacked my books (in the top) and my fabric (hidden behind the doors).  The goal was just to get it out of the boxes.  As time goes on it will become better organized.

I set up my sewing cabinet (Horn cabinet) in the little nook.  I was playing around with different orientations and felt this would be the best.  In this position I can look at my design wall (yet to be constructed) as I sew, it will also allow me to open up the extension when I need to use it.

This is the view from my sewing machine to the wall that will hold my design wall.

I also found a place for my mother’s Singer – yes it works!

I have my work counter set up – the shelves underneath have my UFOs (well most of them).  I use the top of it for cutting fabric and other design work.

I have more fabric stored under my longarm in containers from The Container Store.

The office area is in rough shape. I did manage to get my door to put over the two filing cabinets so I have a desk area where I can work on my computer. I need to finish putting up some shelving and emptying the boxes into the file cabinets and onto the shelves.

So far so good – but there is a way to go – lighting needs to be added to the main room. I have the fixtures – now to wait for the electrician to install them.

No more work on the organization this week. Have to get busy sewing samples for my upcoming classes.  I did find my Aurifil Cones and Marti Michell templates – now to pull out some fabric and get to work!

So two questions  – what is it that you wish you had in your own studio space? AND – What is the best thing that you like about your studio space?

As the character George sings in Stephen Sondheim’s show Sunday in the Park with George:

Bit by bit,
Putting it together…
Piece by Piece-
Only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.
Having just a vision’s no solution,
Everything depends on execution:
Putting it together-
That’s what counts!

5 thoughts on “The Studio – Putting it Together

  1. I love the natural light I have in my room but it needs to be a lot bigger. Since I bought my new-to-me longarm in the spring, it is really tight. But…when we built the house that room wasn't planned to be my studio and of course I was in no way thinking about owning a long arm. In our next house, my studio will be planned for sure.


  2. One thing I wish I had done is add a bank of mirrors behind my machine for added reflection and therefore a way to bounce more lighting around the room. #2 a place for a design wall. My studio is big and the walls are too far apart for a decent design wall.


  3. It was nice to meet you last night and I loved your quilt. My sewing room exists in our second guest room so sometimes I need to move me and the sewing machine out but there is no room in the guest room closet for guest stuff – it's all fabric – also a shelf all around the room about 18 inches below the ceiling for storing fabric in plastic boxes like yours. I quilt really large quilts on the dining room table with my wide throat Elna. I'd like figure out how to reconfigure my sewing area to accommodate king size quilts in my sewing room. Good luck with your settling-in.


  4. I just wish I had more room. My space is a corner in our storage/junk/hobby/now my son's bed is in there also room.

    The thing I love the most is the table that my hubby modified so my sewing machine sets down in it and the free table that I got when the business where I used to work got sold that makes my sewing area into an L shape.

    I love all your storage and your work/cutting area looks divine! You're giving me ideas for how to improve my space in case the kid moves back out. 😀


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