Building The Dream

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I’m an awkward sod sometimes. I could say fussy, I could say particular, but really I’m just awkward. You see I like the fact I work from home, but I don’t actually like working in my home. I am far too easily distracted by the laundry, the washing up, the toys that need tidying, maybe just one more cup of tea, ooh biscuits…

So, when we moved house in the summer, my ever so wonderful husband said he would build me a studio in the garden. So still at home, but I would be able to leave the house to go to work. Our plans were simple and we naively thought we would have it all finished within 6 weeks. Children, school, nursery, family, work and 6 months on it’s (almost) finished.

We were very keen for it to be completely bespoke, not an Ikea Kallax unit in sight. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Kallax system, but we have moved house a lot, and I’ve kitted out every work room from the Swedish furniture giants. It felt time for a change.


My studio started life as a shed. A very large, fancy shed. But a shed nonetheless. The husbeast then spent a looooong time insulating the whole thing, boarding it out and painting it. At this point it was the middle of summer and insulation didn’t feel like a high priority to me when there was fabric that needed unpacking! It is now January, and as I type, the temperature outside is -2 degrees centigrade. Needless to say I’m glad he spent all that time on insulation! He then knocked out the 6 perspex windows and replaced them with 2, larger, glass panes. After that came the flooring, 3 bespoke desks (one for computers, one for sewing machines, one for cutting), and some pretty awesome shelving made from reclaimed scaffold boards. Then I put up a peg board in an attempt to stay organised and have to say there’s something very satisfying about having all your threads on display, in rainbow order! Finally, I added a chair and lamp (ok, I cracked and went to Ikea for these, I looked all over for alternatives I like better, but mustard yellow wing backs are not as common as you’d think!).

I have now unpacked (most of) my fabric and am in the process of decorating with various pictures, photos and pieces of geeky art. And oh my goodness I love it. It’s such a calm and comfortable space. I feel instantly inspired the moment I step through the doors.

Now I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a custom built studio, or even a spare room to sew in. But here are my top tips for a productive workspace:

– Keep it tidy. I’m really not a naturally tidy person, but I make a conscious effort to tidy up at the end of each day. The world looks better when you’re not surrounded by mounds of fabric and a giant pile of thread offcuts.

– Storage. Find a storage solution that works for you. Whether that’s scaffold board shelves, plastic tubs or Ikea Kallax units. Having your fabric and supplies well organised means you’re not going to waste time looking for them.

– Personlise your space. I’m sure there’s some feng shui logic behind this, but my studio instantly felt more like mine once I added a photo of my family and a plant. Small things, but they made a big difference.

For those of you thinking of creating a new workspace for the new year, I’m sorry to say that the husbot has said that he’s not available for studio design. I think one was quite enough! If you’re curious to see what he gets up to with his days though, check out