Zero Budget Project: The Studio


Getting the studio finished this week was a necessary evil. I kept dragging my feet, but once I started working on it, I was on a tear. It was great to have today’s reveal as motivation to get it 100% done.

Working on this project forced me to go through a lot of boxes and throw out quite a bit of miscellaneous crap I’ve not used or needed in some time.

I think I’ll hang this banner somewhere, but for now, it just rests on the door nob. I made this last year, two houses ago.

Remember what this space looked like on Monday? Nothing productive can happen in this space.

A lot more junk can get done in here. I added wall storage for calligraphy supplies, business cards, stamps, envelopes and more. The goal was to get as much off of my desks as possible, so I can use that for work and to keep it from Penelope’s grubby little fingers. I had some of the white Ikea boxes and shelving before, but I had to supplement to get it all up there and done. That was less than $20.

The table is currently covered with my cutting mat and cutter. I’d be inclined to take the mat off, but the paint is really wrecked. At some point I’d like to paint this little table. We scored that table ages ago in California on the side of the road with “FREE” written all over it. I love that table.

I put some miscellaneous artwork up to keep my sewing books and receipts company up top. I don’t get as much utility out of the shelving up top besides inspiration and resources.

Artwork (from left): Birds of Ashmae temple, photo of Penelope, unfinished painting in back, Kantan Designs quote, Love painting by Mer Mag, Esplin by me, tiny illustration scored from a housewares swap, empty frame for Felix (couldn’t get the printer to work).

In order to fit the white boxes on the shallow shelves, I oriented them sideways, making it impossible to read the label for what’s on there. I cut out little squares of chalkboard contact paper and applied it to the sides. It looks nice, and if the contents of the box ever changes, I can just rewrite it in chalk.

I decided it was time that I permanently set up my easel. It’s a constant reminder to paint. This piece is about a third of the way done, so it taunts me every time I walk in the room. It’s a good taunt.

I organized my fabric, again. I’ve recently scored several yards of fantastic prints, which give me no excuses! I must make some awesome clothes with them now. I had this fabric storage set up in the last two places we’ve been, and I love it. It’s cheap, I can use the top for laying out patterns, I can see the contents and everything’s neatly contained.

My ironing board isn’t a standard size, so I need to make a new cover. Can you tell how baggy that cover is? Yikes. Artwork (from left): scored at a housewares swap, mine, mine, cork board with various inspiration.

I took advantage of the storage space in the closet and used that to stage the tailoring and refashions I have queued up. Last night I knocked out about 1/3 of the mending, but I still have my work cut out for me.

Back in my California days when I taught bookbinding, one of my students was a teacher at a local school district. The school was dumping REAMS of strathmore parent sheets, so she snapped them up. She asked if I wanted any. Of COURSE. Over 3 years later, I’ve not even gotten through half the ream! It’s fantastic warm-grey paper, but it’s heavy and takes up a lot of space. I had a brilliant brainwave to hang the paper over the clothes rod in the closet. It feels pretty fantastic to have it all right there, so neatly put away. Below is my assortment of clothing patterns. I have quite a collection! I have a fair amount of white storage boxes, most of which are empty. It’s nice to keep a few empty spaces in this room to allow for growth. Below are bins of packaging supplies and leather.

Opposite of my desk is my sewing desk. We bought the legs over a year ago to DIY a kitchen table that totally failed. I ended up just buying a top from Ikea and moving everything to my studio instead. It all worked out nicely. The green table elevates the trash nicely, so I can throw away threads as I’m working feverishly on projects. I made that table like 9 years ago. It’s a favorite of mine, for sure. I wanted to make sure that I got the thread and scissors off the desks to keep Penelope and Felix from getting into trouble. Felix absolutely LOVES thread.

The yellow box has my current projects inside, neatly organized. I can easily store it under the table if I need the extra table top space. Artwork (from left): SeeSaw, A Vintage Poster, Me, Penelope, Thrifted

And here’s the wall that connects the sewing with the crafting. It’s so fantastic to have my own dedicated room for creative projects and to have it all organized (for now).

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).

I think I’m in a great place with this room. However, if budget were not an issue, I would put in wood floors to match with the kitchen, paint the walls a light grey, and get a couple of odds and ends for organizing. See what I have in mind on my Pinterest Board. Next week, it’s on to my office!!

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    1. Katie says:

      This looks great! And I’m so impressed, inspired and intimidated by how much you’ve accomplished.

      How are you managing your time to make it possible to do all this? I have two little kids and I feel like organizing my bedroom, which desperately needs to be done since our last move, is so daunting because they’d just get into everything as I went. Where on earth does your steam come from?!

      Maybe I just need to grit my teeth and get ‘er done.

    2. Tara says:

      well done! so satisfying to organize rooms. A tidy studio just makes you want to get in there and do stuff.

      we’re about to do a big reshuffle. Not looking forward to the interim caos but will be glad in the end :)

    3. Charmaine says:

      WOW such an inspiration! I wonder when I’ll be able to do something like that with my space. Bookmarking this for future reference! :)

    4. Valery says:

      Love this! I especially love all the artwork and prints you have. And it looks so nice, streamlined and organized- definitely an inspiration to fix up my crafting corner.

    5. Heidi says:

      Why have I never thought to have a seperate table/desk for sewing and non-sewing projects? So smart.

    6. i’ll buy that ironing board cover from you if you want to get rid of it!

      very cute space – i had a lovely space like that once upon a time. two kids later and im stuck in a corner by the fireplace in between the living room and dining room. its a pretty little corner though. i do need to invest in some great storage drawers for my fabric instead of keeping them in {sealed} bins in the garage.

    7. This looks amazing Melissa!!! I’m so inspired by your zero budget!! It proves that it pays off to collect pretty things :)

    8. […] call it AZEEZ) every time we’re at Ikea, and we always find great items for DIY projects: my tabletop for fabric storage, our poang chair for our music room and now this tote. We were at Ikea this weekend looking for a […]

    9. Lea says:

      So simple and inspiring. But no lamps?

    10. Lindsay Kay says:

      Melissa, please. WHERE did you get that painting/illustration of the beautiful line of apartments on the city street. Please and thank you. I have envy :)

    11. Jennifer says:

      I love the houses art. Is that embroidery or paint. It’s so cute, I want one!

    12. Claire Dorenkamp says:

      Many thanks for sharing this pattern. I might make one for my granddaughter.

    13. MaryKay Larson says:

      I am SO inspired. I need to get my space organized so I can actually use it and not just toss stuff on my desk. Thanks for the photos and ideas and encouragement.

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