What happens when you combine a small apartment with zero closet space and an intense need to make things? Mostly, a mess. For a long time, tools and crafting supplies intermingled carelessly with my kitchen table, couch, floor, and boyfriend (not in that order). By the way, as kitchen tables go, mine is about the size of a postage stamp, so you get a general idea of what my living space looked like. I won’t embarrass myself with before photos.
Once I started doing craft fairs, selling on Etsy and marketing my creations through local shops, the mass of crafting supplies began to take over my life. My neighbor offered to split her workshop with me but after a full day of work at my “real job” I really look forward to popping in a movie, pouring a glass of wine, and crafting in my pajamas. I worried that an outside studio space would turn my hobby into just another job, instead of the stress reliever it was supposed to be. And besides, if I disappeared into a studio in the evenings, my boyfriend (and cats) would never see me.
I took a careful look at my living room furniture and realized most of it wasn’t being utilized to its full potential. A long console table looked nice with the tv on it, but the rest of the surface accumulated knic-knacks. The futon was shoved against one wall, creating a lot of floor space between it and the tv. The drafting table my Dad found for me was secluded in a corner and mostly just held stacks of paper. And the butchers block I had recently acquired for a “craft table” was so small I couldn’t lay out all of my materials and have a work surface at the same time.
So I reorganized. I switched the console table for the butcher block which was the perfect size for a tv, dvd player and cable box. I moved the futon closer to the center of the room, and backed it with the long console table. The console table now divides the crafting space from the sitting space, its drawers and shelves provide plenty of storage and work surface, and it efficiently hides messes if I’m in the middle of a mad crafting spree and have visitors.
I moved the drafting table into the end of the crafting nook and topped it with Ikea storage boxes and the printer. I had to buy a high backed stool and a small red cabinet of drawers, but everything else I already owned, including the bookshelf. The final touch came when I discovered two old letter press drawers at an antique store. They hold all of my beads and tiny “found” objects, are stackable, and can be covered up with a piece of sheet metal when I need more work surface.
My craft supplies no longer migrate into my living space, except for the occasional bead that accidentally launches across the room. But my cats love it when that happens. I can still watch movies and Project Runway while I work, and my boyfriend’s favorite part? He doesn’t have to share the futon when the football game is on, because I’m in my crafting nook.