First-Home Tour: The Sewing Room Makeover, Before and After

by Dana on November 14, 2013

When we lived in an apartment in California I did all my sewing at the kitchen table.  Which means we never ate at the kitchen table.  And we never had friends over to eat at our kitchen table.
Pretty social.
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So moving to our first home in Texas meant the kitchen table would go back to its normal duties….and I would get a real taste of a sewing room!….or a sewing nook….or whatever you want to call it.  How about a place to just let my machines be and not have to answer to anyone?
Dreamy.
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So in our 3 bedroom starter home, we set up the bonus room as an office/sewing space.  And we love it.  The open floorplan of the house means you catch a glimpse of it from the front room.  So I really can’t keep it in a state of fabric mayhem.  But my orderly personality is fine with that.  I love a clean sewing space.

And I’m so happy with the white/gray tones we finally settled on.
I love walking in here to tackle a new project, taking photos along the way.
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So let me show you how we got here.
Everyone loves a good Before and After.
And I have a Before, a Before-Before, and a Before-Before-Before, because this room has been a work in progress.

Here’s how it looked before we moved in (and in all fairness to the previous tenants, they did not know we were coming to take photos):
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When we moved in I was in a pastel mood and painted it celery green.  It was pretty but I didn’t love it.  And coming from an apartment we had very little furniture.  Those cabinets housed most of my fabric/supplies.
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A year after the celery green, I decided it was time for an overahaul—to get serious and make this into a Sewing Studio.  I pushed furniture to the middle of the room and in the heat of the night made a horrible decision, to paint the room yellow.
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From soothing, to nuclear headache:
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Here’s the thing about bright yellow paint: it’s tricky.

It can work on a wall that absorbs the light, as we did here in Lucy’s room.  This is actually the same yellow paint used above.  But we only used it on one wall—the wall with the window—so the light is not reflecting and bounding off the yellow.  I love how it looks in her room.  Cheery.
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However, if you paint such a bright shade on all the walls, where the light is reflecting…you end up with 64 ounces of Mountain Dew.  Yum.
And crazy.

The good thing about paint is, it’s cheap.
The good thing about a willing husband is he’s able to not roll his eyes after spending all night with a yellow paint brush and jumps right in when you say, “let’s paint huge gray and white stripes instead!”
I love Casey’s flexible DIY spirit.
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After the yellow disaster, many of you recommended to simply paint the room white.  To let the room be a blank canvas for the bright fabrics and projects to come.  And that’s exactly what we did—with the exception of the stripes on the accent wall, which is my favorite design piece of the room (paint colors are Glidden “stone white” and Behr “ultra pure white”).

You guys always have the right answers.
Thank you.

So, here my friends is the…..
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Clean, bright, and ready for making stuff.

One side of the room is “the office”.   The table is a metal dining table from IKEA, along with other Ikea accessories and a Napkin Wallflower.  The folding chairs in the corner are my latest Target find.  Have you seen those?!  Adorable.  With little cutout designs on the metal.  I bought what was left but might need a few more.
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The other side of the room is filled with more Ikea: Billy Bookcases for fabric and an Expedit cubby shelf for yarn, twine, fabric scraps, etc.  Bins and cubbies were the best addition to this room.  I love having a place to throw those fabric scraps that I just can’t part with, while still keeping the room orderly.  You’d never know the the sea of colors and shapes hiding in those baskets.
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The Ikea table in the corner is for cutting, ironing, and most importantly….for taking pictures!….which is also why I have the chair—a chair that I had in my room as a kid, which I stripped and repainted—it’s great for standing above the white table and taking pics.  Or for standing afar and snapping my kids!  This part of the room makes an excellent white backdrop.

(kid shortspaper ball chainsbaby tanks):
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On the left side of the room is my sewingl nook.  The shape of this room is funny but it surprisingly works well for sewing.  I can sit at my table there and still see what’s going on in the front room.   And sometimes small spaces are cozy and easy to decorate with just a few furniture pieces.  We added more Billy Bookcases….
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…and these cute cups from the Ikea kitchen area.  They hold my labels, pins, supplies, whatever.
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And on the bookshelf are larger bins from Target to hold thread, bias tape, elastic, etc.  I love cloth bins because they’re cute and cheap and you can swap them out when you’re sick of the print.
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The table is one of those DIY office desks from Ikea where you pick the length and the drawers to go underneath.  It’s perfect for both my sewing machine and serger, with a rolling chair to go back and forth between the two.  The hanging lights are also from Ikea, mounted with hooks in the ceiling, cords hidden on the corner wall, and a little portable light switch under the desk.  Oh the make-it-work contraptions you find at Home Depot.
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And here’s something you never see: the backside of my machines.  I’m sure you’ve always wanted a peek.
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Under the desk are drawers for organizing my patterns and other supplies.  It’s getting harder to keep them safe with Clara on the move but I’m teaching her to play with the button drawer below, rather than the important patterns and paper goods.
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And since I’m sure you’re wondering “where is all that fabric??”  Well here you go!  2 bookcases full (and a few bins in my bedroom closet).  Sometimes the shelves are organized, like the one on the left.  And sometimes the piles are shifting and toppling over, like the bookcase on the right.
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I don’t wrap my fabrics around any boards nor do I have a system for folding.  But I do like to keep them organized according to fabric type.  The first cabinet is for cottons.  I have them sorted by solid colors, prints, flannels, and upholstery/heavy weights on the bottom shelf.  I also try to keep my Boy fabrics in one pile so it’s easier to feel inspired for those projects.

Oh and since you can see it in this shot below, let me point out that my handy husband installed window trim and crown molding in every room of the house.  It gives such a nice polished feel.
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And in the other Billy bookcase I keep knits, silks/satin fabrics, flannel, and fleece.  I also have a third cabinet for books, craft supplies, and office stuff.

Overall the space works well for us.  And when I say us, I really mean the whole family.  Because never fail when I come in here to work, I notice this happening…..
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and this….
(even when taking these photos they migrated)
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..following me in, everyone doing their own projects but hanging out in the same space, our creative space.
And that makes my heart happy.
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“Thanks for stopping by!
We’re here all week!”
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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison November 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Love the tour! Everything is so fresh and airy. I would love to work there!

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2 Annalia November 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Oh, that is lovely. It makes me want to redo my sewing/office space! ….however, I already have to redo it…into a nursery. Mixed blessings!

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3 Joy November 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I love the fact that you call it “our creative space”. That you welcome the kids to come in and create in their own way while you’re creating in your way. Very inspiring to me, a stay at home mom with 2 kids and a small sewing business. Thank you for sharing your lovely space!

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4 Laura J. November 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Can’t wait to see what your new craft space will look like!

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5 anne laney November 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

LOVE ALL OF IT! where did you get the rug, (and what is it?) in the living room?

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6 Dana November 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm

It’s from West Elm and originally $999….but we got it for $90 at the Pottery Barn outlet here in TX!

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7 Kat T November 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I had to put down my iphone and open my laptop for this post. I wanted to see it all, on a nice big screen. Your simple clean living inspires me. I look forward to seeing your new space in your new home.

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8 Dana November 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm

hahaha. I appreciate the extra effort!
That made my day :)

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9 Jackie November 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Finally! :) I love peaking into others’ sewing spaces. Now that I have completed my sewing space, I absolutely love it. It’s not as clean looking as yours but it works for me, maybe one day. Thanks for sharing, Dana.

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10 Debbie November 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I love it! Congrats on a job well done. I Just finished recreating my office into an office/sewing/craft room too and I am loving it. Amazing how a well organized, cheery space feeds the creative soul.

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11 Jenny November 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Lovely space. I remember when it was yellow and that was definitely a problem. I love how you have a real version of the fake light-under-the-desk from Project Runway. Do you ever feel like you have gotten the auf when you switch it off? LOL.

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12 Dana November 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm

hahaha. I never even thought of that! Brilliant!
I immediately feel cooler :)

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13 stephanie November 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Love love love your space. I can’t wait to see the new house studio. :)

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14 kristin November 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

ohhh fantastic sewing space! love that you have room for all those shelves and cubbies, i’m sure that helps you avoid the fabric avalanche that happens in my sewing lair on a constant basis. ;)

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15 Dana November 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Sewing Lair! Brilliant term Kristin :)

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16 Diana November 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Love the unity of this. I’ve been trying to find a new nook in my house since I lost mine to a nursery for my now 2 mini me’s. Thanks for sharing!

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17 Maggie November 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Lovely, just lovely, Dana!!!
I can’t wait to see what you do to your new space!! :-)

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18 RedSetter November 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm

This is such a gorgeous workspace. It gives me hope that I’ll have a nice space once I empty my spare room out too. I’m not surprised your children want to be there with all that positive creative energy.

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19 Elisa November 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

LOVE this room! I’m just starting to get a little nook organized for my sewing and am totally inspired after seeing yours! :)

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20 Lynne Tilley November 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Wow, I am definitely going to paint my sewing room white. What a difference. So clean and neat and organized. That’s my style, and you have mapped it out for me. I must get to Ikea! Your hubby sounds awesome, kinda like mine. We are celebrating our 37th anniversary this weekend with a trip to Fredericksburg TX. Check it out, you’d love it. Love that room, great job, and thanks for sharing it with us.

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21 Eva November 14, 2013 at 7:16 pm

This space screams happy. What a beautiful, fun, fresh spot to spend your time…and your littles too. I can’t wait to see your sewing room in your new place. BTW, my daughter was looking at these photos with me and declared she wanted Lucy’s room.

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22 Kiki November 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Wow. You are amazing to be able to do this with three kids.

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23 Sandy November 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Dana…we made this amazing game room for the kids but they always found their way into my sewing room. I have a little loveseat (and t.v.) and they think it is so cozy. Some great conversations have taken place in there. Now 2 are in college and one is a senior. I’m glad that you are embracing it (it’s well worth it)!!
PS Love the house!!

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24 Dana November 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

That makes me so happy to hear! Thanks for sharing Sandy :)

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25 crystal November 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

amazing sewing room! so bright and light! I love that you love ikea, they really have the best stuff ever.

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26 Lynet Witty November 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I was the same way as Kat T that I had to get on my desktop with a huge monitor to see your pictures! the phone didn’t do them justice. it is unbelievable how clean you keep your house with three kiddos. And great idea on the billy bookcases and door panels to keep everything looking nice and neat!
Love your spaces, can’t wait for the rest of the tour.

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27 hannah elise November 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm

seriously, though–can I just come over and hang out in your sewing room?!! THE COLOR and clean look..just love it, Dana! :)

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28 Caroline November 15, 2013 at 12:34 am

I do love a peak at others’ sewing spaces, yours is so airy and welcoming its no wonder your kids just gravitate there. You just can’t go wrong with white can you? I lived in a house all painted light green once, it was a rental so we couldn’t do anything about it…I’ve never been able to think green when decorating ever since!

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29 Aime November 15, 2013 at 2:53 am

It looks so fresh and clean! I wish my sewing space is like that. I’m in the middle of organising my space as well, but it’s hard for me to keep the fabrics neat, because I like having the cut fabrics on my table and it will make a huge mess! :D

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30 Anne LK November 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

Lovely workspace! Mine doubles as a guest room so having a big bed really doesn’t lend itself to organization, unless laying things out on the bed counts! I love your neutral colour scheme too.

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31 Sarah November 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

Wow, wow, wow! How I am so jealous of ALL that fabric! Your craft sections looks amazing! x

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32 Chelsea November 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I wish I had a room. Right now living with my family again all we have is a bedroom. My sewing machine is currently on the floor. I have a desk for it upstairs but there is so much stuff in the house I can’t even get to the desk. :(

One day I swear I will have a space like that. It is beautiful. I just want a space all my own.

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33 Marion November 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

WOnderful, how you laid out your little space.

Your post came at the right time :)))

I just ordered a cabinet online and it’s a disaster. I’m in the middle of returning it but wasn’t sure what to get instead. Thank you for your post, I’ll be visiting IKEA in the next few days to get me two of those Billy bookcases.

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34 Aline Mariah November 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

*.* Your space is beautiful. I’m researching ideas for my little sewing room, and here I am. I started to sew in the middle of this year and right now my kitchen table has an iron and a lot of pre-washed fabric. Happy surprise come here. I’ll been following you.

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35 Mikea November 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I love it!!! Such great ideas! I understand about never using the table. Our old apt was smaller and i used the table. Now i use a corner in the dining area with a corner desk. It often spreads to the table still. I cant wait to have a space with a door! I organize my fabrics the same way but wrap them on boards. My knits are piled because of stretch but it drives me crazy. Thanks for sharing your space!! I love that wall and lucys room! Wish we lived in austin. I would so buy that house

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36 palak November 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I love it!!! Painting my sewing table white is on my list, (and I have the paint), but then I would have to, you know, stop sewing for a bit! I have the same ikea rail system setup. Fabulous job Dana!!! It’s gorgeous.

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37 Danita Courtney November 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

It’s so lovely! I would want to be in there every moment I could! Fantastic ideas for the rest of us trying to GET organized! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place!

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38 Lisa November 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I love it. So soothing. A blank slate ready for color and action. Looks like you get a lot of sunlight, but at night, what are you doing for lighting? That has been my struggle. I need bright, bright light.

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39 Dana November 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Thanks!
I have those two big lights above and they work great. Plenty of light…but just not good enough for photo-taking. I do all my photos during the day in natural light.

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40 Queenie November 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Very nice. I’m sure your very excited of your new sewing space. Thank you for sharing.

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41 Katharine November 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Loved this post about your office. It was inspiring to see the organization and supplies that is behind your creativity.

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42 Kerry November 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Beautiful…and congrats on your “kids’ apron” pic in Mother Earth Living mag! Someone just bought me a subscription and there you are! – pg 72 of my first issue : )

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43 cucicucicoo November 16, 2013 at 3:53 am

This was actually really interesting and, more important, really inspiring. My craft room is much smaller than yours, but it’s always a horrible mess, which really cuts down on my craft and sewing mojo. Yours really does look so soothing and such a wonderful place to be! Thanks for sharing! :) Lisa

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44 Anna November 16, 2013 at 8:13 am

What a lovely work space and room! Very inspiring. Right now I can only dream of a work space like yours (too small apartment) but in the future…
It is also quite fun to see the things from IKEA in your home so far away from Sweden (where IKEA was founded) where I live.

Thank you for sharing!

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45 Debby November 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Your sewing room is wonderful. Love the wood floors, saves the vacuum from all the threads. And gotta love Ikea. Great job.

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46 Jenn November 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Dana- Are the grey and white stripes the same size? They look the same on the finished wall, but the taping looks like the white portions would be smaller? I like the look. I am sooo bored with my house, need some big (not big price changes!)

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47 gr81gkar November 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm

may I say how jealous I am of your ORGANIZED space, I have my own space but it’s in a almost constant state of chaos and I have no kids at home to blame (that part sucks about kids growing up and out). Congrats on all the hard work paying off!

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48 Sarah November 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I love this space. My husband carved out a corner of our unfinished basement for me to sew in for mothers’ day a couple of years ago (best present EVER!), but it is still cold, and dusty, and in need of serious help. I love the way you’ve organized. Since sewing isn’t part of my profession, I doubt I’ll ever have a space as beautiful as this, but you’ve given me lots of ideas. First up: switching from a folding metal chair to a rolling chair. That is genius!! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your before and afters. :)

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49 Ginger November 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the folding chairs! I needed to replace our hodgepodge of ugly borrowed ones. Cleaned out 2 Targets near me–I love them! So bright and cheery (and sturdy enough not to collapse from fidgety kids).

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50 RawInTheMiddle November 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Beautiful! What a lovely, fresh, and clean place to get inspired and create.

What’s funny is I used to have the same “before” furniture, I have some of the “after” furniture, I started to paint an open living area yellow and then switched to a silvery gray after it became abundantly clear that yellow can be a difficult wall color to pull off. I agree that white was the right choice for your lovely sewing nook.

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51 ruth November 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

I totally have creative space envy. Big time.

Do you remember what shade of white paint you used?

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52 Dana November 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

It’s Behr brand, color “Ultra Pure White”.
From Home Depot

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53 Marie November 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Sooooooo super jeally of your craft room!! I’m going to come stay for a week!

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54 Daniela November 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Great job. Congratulations!

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55 Nina November 21, 2013 at 1:21 am

What a fabulous work space! You have done a great job of creating a space that is functional yet stylish, using Ikea stuff that is affordable and practical. Kudos to you for a job well done!

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56 Jamie Bricker November 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I wish I had the space for a sewing room and creative space! My little 1830s house filled with three little ones doesn’t allow for it. But, I push the bills/papers aside and sew at a desk in our busy living room (with children gathered all around). Watch out little fingers! Thanks for your inspiration and peek into your space!

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57 DENISE December 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I love the lamps hanging in craft room
so i bought 2
what i can ‘t figure out is an on/off switch

how did u do that
i went to Home Depot but they couldn’t figure out what i needed
HELP

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58 Dana December 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I’m not sure exactly what it’s called but it was a little switch box. It’s white. About $2-$4. You have to cut the cord of the light and put each raw end into the box. Then you can switch it on and off…..sort of like a table lamp you might buy from ikea that has the little tiny box attached with a wheel to turn it on and off or a switch.
Sorry, hard to explain. Hope that helps.

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59 Arlene July 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Did anyone ask where the ironing board and iron are located in this room?

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60 Arlene July 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I see the iron now. Do you really just use that tiny little ironing board? I don’t see where you keep your full size ironing board.

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61 Dana July 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

yep! that’s all i use! Just a tabletop board. In my old apartment I had one that pulled out from the wall and LOVED it.
But now I just use this one and love how neat and tiny the small one is, so that’s what I use! (with white fabric over the top :))

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62 Heather October 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Hi there, I really want to utilize the Billy bookshelf like you did. Where did you get the transparent doors? You have such a lovely space!

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