Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with my lovely friend, Alicia, transforming her craft cottage into a space that is not only functional but a showcase for her fabulous collection of vintage finds, scrapbook materials and supplies. I've often shared that I have a love for interior design, organizing, and creating beautiful spaces so every so often I take on a huge project that I know will be rewarding in the end!
Let me take you on a little tour of the before and after ~ We have yet to celebrate with a proper photo shoot to show you just how amazing it all turned out but I did snap some shots along the way.
As you can see, Alicia was like many of us who start buying things we love but inevitably end up not really having a plan of where to put everything. In hopes of tackling the chaos, we often put up tables, buy shelving and invest in trendy storage solutions but after a while the "stuff" takes over the space and we are left overwhelmed.
Our creativity can be paralyzed by this and we feel lost trying to find that perfect piece of paper or stamp we know we bought last month. Duplicate buying ensues and we end up not wanting to create in our space at all.
I'm showing you all these pictures to show that there is hope for even the most avid collectors to have a beautiful place to create in where you have access to all your prized possessions. It just takes a plan you can live with and keep on top of as you craft and collect.
Alicia and I met initially and went over all her hopes and dreams for her craft cottage. She had some lovely furniture pieces and an amazing space so we were well on our way. She also has a wonderful husband who helped each step of the way. I shared with her my divide and conquer plan, the need for her to be on board, we had a ceremonial handshake over a tape runner and we were on our way! Here are a couple pictures throughout the process ~
We measured, we moved furniture, we recycled, we sorted, we gave away to charity, we reminisced over lost treasures now found and kept moving forward. At first, Alicia felt concerned that it would never come together, but as soon as we started I could tell there was hope in her voice. Just that first day felt good. We were going to create something fabulous!
Drum roll please. . . Here are the pictures of her finished cottage all set up for a dear friends baby shower. There was actually enough room for Alicia add in a set of tables so the girls could create pages for a baby album and spend time in her dream world.
I thought I would share a couple of my suggestions that I always keep in mind when tackling a new space ~
1. Organization can be beautiful and in keeping with your tastes. You don't need to put stickers in plastic holders. Be creative ~ find a vintage piece at a flea market or thrift store that will work with your items. Paint it if you have to breathe new life into it. We put many of Alicia's supplies into vintage suitcases we purchased at flea markets that added not only to the look of the room but were functional too.
If there is no way around the plastic storage route, you can always hide them out of site as well. We organized all of her scrapbook paper and coordinating elements into themes and put them in these cabinets with glass doors. The plastic organizers don't look quite as unattractive behind doors.
Alicia has a HUGE collection of rubber stamps. We took them all out of their plastic containers and put them in this amazing printer's cabinet she and her husband found. She also has a love for vintage charlottes and doll heads which we put into glass apothecary jars.
2. If you love to collect then show off your treasures and let them become part of your decor. Display items together for a bigger impact. Even if you just have a handful of anything, arrange them in a pleasing vignette and they will look all the more sweeter such as these porcelain dolls and tins. Basically, where I'm going is USE everything in your space to make it more beautiful. It reflects your tastes and what makes you happy.
3. If you don't have the budget for something new then get creative. Alicia had this really comfortable office chair that she enjoyed crafting in, however, it was a huge eyesore in the room.
Instead of going out and purchasing her another expensive chair, we had this existing one covered with the perfect shabby fabric we just happened to come across in our sorting phase. Simple, less costly ideas like this leave you with the funds to use on more special pieces like the printer's cabinet for example.
We also had a large farm table built for Alicia you see in the pictures. You will find many talented artisans at the flea markets that can make you a piece to your exact specifications. We had a large piece of acrylic cut for the top as well to preserve the surface.
4. Break your space into sections based on your interests. I like to call them "stations". This works well if you have a large space or not. My craftroom is actually quite small but it still is applicable. Whereas some might have room for a cabinet of jewelry making supplies, I dedicate a few drawers to mine.
5. Lastly, if you can't afford the help of a professional, bring a friend in to look at your space with a fresh eye. Think about changing the focal point of the room. Think about flipping the orientation of furniture for a cleaner look too. We switched the couch and work desk in Alicia's room so when you walked in the door you saw the comfy sitting area and not a desk that as we all know can tend to get messy.
Of course, it helps make the time go more quickly if you have the cutest helper ever like Alicia's sweet daughter (snapped this one quickly on my iPhone so it's a bit blurry). Knowing that she has a place to play now and learn to be artistic next to her Momma is just the best feeling!
If you live in the Los Angeles area and have a space that you'd like to tackle, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see if we can turn your room into something worthy of a dream too!