As Good As It’s Gonna Get: The Studio


We’re moving. Chris took a job in Provo last week!

I was so looking forward to a quiet winter without the stress of a newborn or a new place, but apparently that wasn’t in the cards for us. I’m both excited & stressed about our relocation, but I’m convinced it’ll be for the best.

Before the madness of boxing & packing happens, I thought I’d clean up & take some pictures (and video) of my studio. I’m mostly doing this so that when I’m packing & going crazy with the stress of moving, I can look at these pictures & remember how clean things once were. I’ll do my best to cite sources, but if there’s something I’ve left out, let me know. I’ll do my best to respond in the comments.

We’ll start with the studio-side of the room. This is my craft desk where I take my table top shots.

  • chair, $7
  • table legs & top, $30 from Ikea
  • bookshelf, $3 thrifted
  • bookcase & boxes purchased at Ikea by my mom for last year’s b-day gift
  • dachshund, won from a giveaway
  • cork boards, $3 thrifted
  • clipboard, $5 Urban Outfitters
  • posters, c/o A Vintage Poster
  • wreath, $30 knock knocking
  • globe, hand-me-down from parents
  • elephant, $12 Urban Outfitters
  • yellow & white vases, $1 thrifted

I attached paper to the wall with bulldog clips for my photography backdrop & added plexiglass atop the lower paper. It’s the perfect permanent backdrop. I can always wipe up my spills & messes off the plexi & snap away. Also I like the Apple-esque reflective effect it gives to my photos.

Lunch box stores my calligraphy supplies.

  • lamp, Ikea ages ago
  • calligraphy box, part of swag at Alt
  • painting, gift from sis-in-law from France
  • line drawing, $5 from Colt Bowden

I love that this globe has markers indicating how old it is. The USSR & other colonies are on here. I believe this globe is circa 1979-ish.

Here’s my sewing space. I just bought the thread rack right before we found out we were moving, so that’s just hanging out there. I plan on wall-mounting it at our new place (wherever that new place may be!).

  • shelf, $5 Ikea
  • frame & print, $50 Paul Ferney + Michaels
  • bucket, $4 Michaels
  • tins, dunno
  • scissor bucket, $.50
  • machine, 1970s BERNINA record from Mother-in-Law
  • chair, $7
  • thread rack, $9 Walmart

  • dress form, $119 Amazon
  • cutting board & stash storage, $44 Ikea
  • cutting board, $15 JoAnn’s



I love having my fabric stash organized by color palette. Each basket is as follows: warms, cools, greyscale, browns. The other side is separated out by large cuts & projects needing to get done.

Here’s my desk. I’ve got the 27″ solid state iMac (SO FAST!), Wacom tablet stacking robots & a stash basket on the actual desk. I mounted two shelves with a break between them right behind the computer. This allows us to store & have easy access to all of our hard drives & for me to easily move the Silhouette cutter onto the desk when it’s in use.

I’ve got a few treasures on the shelves themselves.

  • vintage clock, $10 etsy
  • book: It Must Be Hard To Be A Mother, gift from a friend
  • pencil holder, formula can covered with wallpaper
  • ceramic bucket for misc cords, $2 thrifted

This might be my favorite corner of the whole room. It’s my Christopher shrine. On the left is a painting done of him when he was a baby. The middle two paintings are mine and the right is a stenciled self-portrait on a suitcase. He used this suitcase in college & made it long before we ever met. I love this stencil of him.


Like the goiter on the side of the ironing board? Yeah, turns out our ironing board is not a full-sized ironing board. Maybe one day I’ll upgrade to a full-sized ironing board.

I love baby Chris’s striped shirt & chubby cheeks. The yellow border is adorable, too.

This explains Chris perfectly when we met. This is a stencil of him rocking out to music. I love everything about what this suitcase says. Perhaps we could collect more suitcases & stencil the entire family!

Here’s a little video tour of the room. Please excuse my awkward pauses. I can’t seem to operate a video camera & talk at the same time.

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    1. Kaitlin says:

      Cute studio! You have such a calming voice, and I love that you made reference to a goiter!

    2. alicia says:

      So light and airy! I love your workspace.

    3. Shaela says:

      If you thrifted that sewing table I’m pretty sure it’s my old one, hahaha!! I had one just like it for years, but I think I hauled it to DI when I left college since I had no room for it.

    4. marissa says:

      First off, I love this room and am green with envy. :) Next, Congratulations on the move! Change is always good – it is! They (whoever “they” are) should start calling you the “Traveling Esplins.” Hahaha!

    5. Emily says:

      Congrats on the new job!! what a great space! I need a table like that. :) PS I think we have really similar sewing machines (if not the same).

    6. Libby K says:

      Wow, a move…that’s a big deal. hate to be negative, but is there anything worse than packing up only to unpack again?! i’m not a fan. however, it’s also exciting to get to start fresh…so i guess we’ll call it sixes.

      query-what kind of printer/scanner do you use? do you like it? ours crapped out once and for all this afternoon and we’re in the market for a new one!

    7. I love your studio space! Congratulations (and condolences) on the upcoming move. My dread of moving is one of the main reasons we’re still in our current house so you have my sympathies.

      I can’t wait to see your new space; I’m sure you’ll make it fantastic.

    8. donaville says:

      splendid space! loving your $7 chair.

      good luck on the move (hope it’s not *too* stressful(.

    9. anna says:

      lovely space! I’m thinking a dress form would be handy, maybe I’ll get one some day. And happy moving, you’ll do great!

    10. Super-jealous that you have a big room like that all for you!! My old house just doesn’t allow for such luxuries! You’re video is adorable and it’s great to hear your voice, too (I always wonder what people “sound” like). Congrats to Chris and good luck with the move!

    11. We have that same Ikea bookcase setup – same boxes and everything, just a birch case. We’re using ours as a sideboard in the dining room and as a pantry space. It’s so light and airy in your office though – now I’m scheming for our own space!!!

      – Lindsay

    12. Jeannie D says:

      Love your studio… Just got back from IKEA in Atlanta with a brand new craft table/desk… can’t wait to set up my space…after seeing your studio I am so inspired! Good luck in Provo!

    13. Cirina says:

      Lovely Studio. So Lovely it makes me want a house big enough to have a studio, but then I would also need some projects to do in that studio as well…..huh. As a Provo local, I give you a huge Welcome! You will love it. I moved here in Junior High swearing I would leave and run back to Las Vegas (where we had moved from) as soon as I could, and 19 years later, I am still here, in Provo, and loving it.

    14. Rebekah says:

      Thanks for giving us a peek into your studio…it looks like a really bright and cheerful place to work! As a fellow blogger, it was especially helpful to see how you have your desk set up with the plexi glass for photos…very cool!

      I just moved into a new place myself and have really enjoyed setting up a new workspace…I’m sure your new studio will be just as wonderful as your current one. :)

      -Rebekah (

    15. moxiemandie says:

      huge fan. I really super love it & was just thinking about how can I make our new dining room like your office cuz the dining room is all I get. ;)

    16. Kayleigh says:

      I love that even though the walls are white there is still so much color in this room!

    17. Katie says:

      Your sewing room is absolutely lovely. I love how fresh and calm and open it looks. Thanks for taking the time to share pictures.

      And best of luck in your move to Provo!

    18. Marloes says:

      Love these photographs, I’m just wondering where you found that sewing table – it’s my dream table!

    19. Ali says:

      I would like to pin your entire room!! :) Good luck packing and moving. One things that I’ve been doing is using paint chips to color code boxes, making unloading to the right room easier.

    20. Jan says:

      Melissa, sorry you’ve got to pack. That doth stinketh. However, I hope your new digs are bright and cheery :)

      Hey, I was wondering if you had any more info on your Ikea stash storage. I tried to follow the link but the destination moved and I don’t see anything obvious on their website under storage. I am trying to revamp my sewing storage. I wanted to find a cool old sideboard (think furniture a la The Incredibles. Am I a dork?). It’s just tough to find something so specific and in my price range. I like your basket system, though.

      Any additional info would be great! Thanks!

    21. […] need to store my scissors WAAAAY higher than I have them currently The plan was to make a knee-length knit jersey dress with dolman sleeves, the bodice on the bias, […]

    22. Provo, eh? I hope you guys find a great place!

    23. […] it all, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. I repurposed the purchased Ikea legs for my studio desk & the wood is just sitting in our garage. I’m sure I’ll find a great purpose […]

    24. kimi says:

      love love the table for the sewing machine! did it come with the machine, or can it be found elsewhere?

    25. […] Decorating and organizing this room came just under $20 with the extra shelving and storage boxes. Not bad! I’ve debated on changing up the color of the walls to match the rest of the house, but the blue fits for now. Check out my old studio here (two houses ago). […]

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