Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Kett Files: My Creative Space

A while back WeWork (a coworking company that offers shared office space in cities all over the world. They also offer tons of benefits to their members, such as discounts on healthcare, travel, gym memberships, accounting services,web hosting, etc.) e-mailed us and asked us what our creative spaces were like and what about them inspire us. We loved the idea of sharing that with our readers! Both Emilee and I recently went through some major downsizing and are kind of trying a slightly more minimalist approach, so the prospect of having a  creative work space that also functions as a day-to-day space was intriguing, difficult and a good challenge for us. If you missed Emilee's post about her beautiful space, go check it out now!

Let me tell you, after seeing Emilee's amazing space, I want to go to town on our Living Room and get all the ideas I have for it going! I may have a bit of apartment envy going on right now. But, I do have to remind myself that there are things that I love with what we have going on in our space too. This isn't about comparison, it's about sharing ideas...and Em's space has got me thinking! 

Being asked to do this post on our Creative Work Spaces has really gotten me looking at the space I have, what I like about how we're using it, what the aesthetics are, and what I would realistically like to improve. It's gotten me thinking a lot about what I could reasonably do to make this better. 

Knowing how much stuff we had before we moved, I look at the room and think, "Man! We've really thinned this down to basics and have it pretty bare bones!" but I've been trying to look at it through as non-biased of eyes as I can lately and I realize that while this is minimalist compared to what we did truly is a far cry away from anything even close to minimalist. 

So, I am scheming and looking at things and trying to decide what to get rid of next, tweak next, and move next so that we control our space and our space doesn't control us. 

The space we have works. Maybe not great, but it works. I can create, work, and live in this space. And most days I'm pretty happy in it. I do look forward to a little more space some day, but we're not miserable in this little house. 

My Creative Work Space is basically my Living Room, which we, well...have to Live in. So, let's get on to the "tour" of my current space and some of my ideas of what I'd like to do to it in the near future. 

Let me give you the quick real life tour of the Living Room, as seen when standing at the front door. The window with plastic over it to keep the winter drafts out...but which also sealed in the hastily put up spring load curtain rod that fell down after said plastic was already in place. The couch (I LOVE it, but Cameron thinks it's uncomfortable...but we both love the color, so that's happy!) which always has more on it than just pillows or throws...currently it has a crochet project in one corner. The puff quit that is working as a rug, but it's totally off color for everything else in the room. And then the box of toys slid as far under the cedar chest as it will go until I get the bag made to hold the contents so they fit nicely on Darrow's toy shelf but don't get strewn about each morning. And the graduation tassel hanging from the ceiling fan because it just got hung there randomly and we haven't bothered to take it down.

Pretty much we're just disguising our lair of awesomeness as a semi-put together home so that the evil minions don't discover our whereabouts. So far it works!

When I need crafting space, the Cedar Chest slides over and becomes my sewing table. It used to live there all the time, but we moved it to the wall to give Darrow more play room. But as I look at these pictures, I sure do like the look of it in front of the couch. Hmmmm.

And of course my work space wouldn't be complete without my two legged, 10 armed (or so it seems!) supervisor who checks up on everything I'm doing and makes sure I turn on the light and provide snacks at reasonable interludes.

And that's the pretty side of the room...

The other side is a bit of a mess, even when it's been cleaned and organized. It does hold what we need, but it's not pretty!

I would desperately love to have the sewing desk be mostly a sewing desk once again, but the greater need right now is for it to be a computer desk (our main computer is a laptop, but the screen color calibration is horrible at best, so we have the HD monitor that needs to be set up for me to be able to do my photo processing and editing on).

When I straighten it all up, it looks a little better, but still crowded. And dusty! ALWAYS! I can sweep and dust 4 times a day and still there'd be a layer of dust on everything by the time I went to bed.

And then there's the black shelf of chaos. It catches everything and sucks it in. This is one of the first things I want to change up and improve! For now it holds the three boxes, currently designated as the computer box (for cords, software, and various technological odds and ends), the office box (computer paper, envelopes, cardstock, the hole punch, etc.), and the craft box (the supplies I use frequently...or just used and was too lazy to go put it away in the storage room), along with the printer, sewing machine, my Life Binders (which organize my entire life...more on those in another post), my camera sometimes, and various odds and ends that find their way there.

And then there's the last wall you haven't seen yet...the wall that is a full built in bookshelf. It's wonderful, but it is packed to gills. It's not pretty or aesthetically pleasing at all. But that's where my music books, craft patterns and books, our games, all our reading books, our photo albums, and Darrow's toys all live. It holds a ton!

The room is functional, and it holds a lot of stuff, but I think it could be improved upon! It has such an odd feeling to it; with the tan walls and muted turquoise accents it wants to be calming and inviting, but then the chaos of the furniture and overstuffed edges just makes it feel on edge and anxious. It doesn't motivate me to work or create, it motivates me to climb into the internet and hide and hope that someday it gets better.

And I never really was able to put all that in words and concrete thoughts until just now! I'm seeing specific aspects that are problems and I'm seeing things that I like and want to maximize.

So, here's my plan for immediate help, and then other remedies will have to come into place slowly as the budget allows, piece by piece.

1. Combine the shelves.

If I can clear out space on the built in bookshelf as well as the shelf by the computer, I would love to get rid of the Shelf of Chaos there in the corner by the computer desk completely. I think that will help the room look a little less cluttered.

This could then open up space to move the side table that's there by the door to the left of the computer desk in it's place and, with a shelf or a rolling cart beneath, hold the printer, speakers, and the actual laptop so that all that has to be on the desk is the screen, mouse, and keyboard. Then these could be easily scootched aside to allow for work space. I think that could work!

2.  Put SOMETHING in those blank pictures frames that are waiting for pictures (one hanging on the wall by the computer shelf and one propped up on the top shelf of the computer shelf, hidden behind the stuff hastily stashed atop the shelf).

One is reserved for the updated family pictures once She gets here in March, so I haven't put anything in it. And then I want updated shots of Cameron and I for our 10th anniversary. And I've used those as excuses to leave blank photo frames up. It's so easy to switch photos and pictures out, I don't know why I wait so long. So...whether it's quick art work, a Walmart print of a photo off my computer, or whatever...those need life inside them.

3. Put the puff quilts away.

They catch SO MUCH DIRT on the floor, and Darrow is constantly hauling them all over scattering said dirt and they just end up being clutter on the floor. I hoped they would work as rugs, but we need real rugs. So even for now while we don't have rugs, I think those need to be put away.

And that's my plan for what can be done now. Today. I think maybe I'll go get on that immediately!

After that, I'll show you the results. See you back here in a few hours to show you if this plan worked at all or not!


  1. I love your built in bookcase! If you are looking to lighten/brighten it up a bit without physically altering the structure, one of my other favorite bloggers gave a great tutorial: it works just as well on bookcases as on kitchen cabinets. Alternatively, sturdy paper (wrapping, scrabooking, etc) in a pretty print and double stick tape can do a similar look for even cheaper.


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