Hi ya’ll! Today I’m sharing my she shop with you.
This is a space that will probably always never be done, if that makes any sense!! But it is functional. So I thought I would share with you the things that make my she shop work for me.
First of all, it has to wear many hats.
- Like upholstery, where I need to strip furniture, roll out big bolts of fabric, sew, and then actually have a place to do upholstery. And don’t forget about storing slabs of foam rubber and big rolls of batting.
- I paint things, so I have lots of paint and brushes and such.
- I like to build things and that means power tools and saws and wood.
- But I also need a staging area where I can photograph furniture.
- And I need a space to write blog posts, post on social media and post furniture for sale.
All these things happen in this space. Some people go to an office to work, I go to my she shop. So I want this to be a space that I enjoy being in as well as being functional for all my craziness. So here are the things that needed to happen to create my space:
- Climate Control
- Declutter – that’s an understatement
- Electrical and Lighting
- Staging Photography Area
- Moveable, Portable worksurfaces
- Creating a fun, livable, creative space that is comfy as well
The first major upgrade we did to the she shop was to add a mini split, which is a heat pump type of heating and cooling system. If you work in space that has no heat or air conditioning, you will appreciate this. Now the she shop is not an insulated space so its not perfect, but so so much better than not having it. So this is a huge win for me!
From the before pic, you can see this space was a major dumping ground for the contents of two houses and garages (Sister’s place and mine).
To clear all this out
- we let family and friends pic through things they wanted
- made many trips to Goodwill and one or two to the dump
- posted and sold items on Craigslist
- had a yard sale
Next up was painting. I knew I wanted the walls white to clean it up. But I really wanted to paint the ceiling, navy, a Cobani Bleu twist on a black industrial ceiling. It was a bit of a risk, cause I knew if I didn’t like it, there was little chance I would repaint it. Turns out, I absolutely love my navy ceilings. It really does make all the duct runs and pipes disappear. I used Sherwin Williams Naval on the ceiling and Snowbound on the walls. The pic below is the painting in process, which included a good primer then paint.
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Lighting and electrical were a big issue as I only had 4 single bulb lights in the garage and one outlet (2 plugs). One of the plugs was gerry-rigged up to run the two garage door openers, leaving me one single plug to operate my shop. So in came the electricians. I added plenty of outlets, and lighting.
The electrical upgrade includes:
- Dedicated outlets for each garage door opener
- Two retractable ceiling mount extension cords that can accommodate 3 plugs each, I’m thinking of adding a third one near the front of the garage door to use when I work in the driveway (and did I mention they’re blue!!!) These are made by Rockler and you can find them here.
- Six outlets, each accommodating 2 plugs spread around the perimeter walls
The lighting upgrades includes:
- Two fluorescent lights over primary work spaces
- Two LED lights for additional good functional lighting
- A pair of cobalt blue crystal chandeliers with dimmers
- A pair of cottage style hanging lights on dimmers
Now you are probably thinking the hanging lights are a bit unnecessary, and that might be true if this was a workshop. But this is a she shop and that means its also my creative space as well as a hang out space for me. I love to turn off the bright lights and dim the chandys and relax after a long days work.
One of the things on my much needed list for the she shop was a dedicated space to stage and photograph furniture. I have to say it was hard to give up wall space for this, but now that I have this space, it’s wonderful. And it was easy to do. The wall is painted white same as all the walls, I added a base board and a small piece of linoleum from Home Depot. I have added several clamp style lights and super high tech light stands aka blue metal folding chairs, haha! (Thanks Salvaged to Sassy! And viola, I have a perfect studio space!
Storage is the next issue to tackle. I have many different storage solutions. A pegboard is always a great idea for storing power tools. This peg board was left by the previous homeowner and is free standing with a shelf on the bottom. I really like that the peg board doesn’t require wall space, as wall space is in short supply in my shop. They also left several hanging shelves for the peg board which are super handy. My shelves just might be considered vintage, LOL, but I found some that are similar here.
I adore this old blue chippy tool chest (again, thanks to one of my fav vendors at vintage markets Salvaged to Sassy). I store hardware in some drawers and its perfect for stencils too. But the character this piece adds along with my cobalt chandeliers hanging above is just the eclectic vibe I that inspires me. And Petunia is pretty cute too, even if she is looking pretty serious!
I have a number of Elfa rolling carts from The Container Store, with drawers for all kinds of things, sewing supplies, tape etc. I store bolts of fabric upright in galvanized trash cans. I have shelves and bookcases for paint and books and an old chest of drawers for all electronic things, cameras, charges, etc and office supplies, business cards, price tags etc. This space has to house everything I do to run my business as well as create.
I make a determined effort to keep all my work surfaces mobile so they can be moved around. I have an old desk I put casters on. It’s perfect for computer work or to paint furniture on or even do some upholstery work. Most of my upholstery work is done on an old end table that belonged to my parents. We were about to send it to Goodwill when I realized it was on wheels (it had always lived on carpet so I didn’t know it had wheels) and the perfect size and height for working on chairs. And speaking of upholstery, I love my big work table. It’s 48″x60″. So it’s perfect for rolling out big bolts of fabric. This table is made from Rockler Shop Stand Legs and I added the locking casters to it. I added some shelf brackets to the side, which allows me to hang the bolt on the side and pull the fabric up onto the table. Works perfect! I love this shop stand, if you are in need of a work table check them out! They are available in many size combinations.
One of the things I love about my she shop is that I can easily open the garage doors and move furniture in or out. Or for messier projects, I can just move outside. Having portable work surfaces that I can move outside is key. I have a portable Kreg Work Table. Not lying, this table is awesome. And it folds flat for storage when not needed. I can’t recommend this table enough for any work space!
My new miter saw will also go on a portable stand. I haven’t decided if I will make one or buy one, so I’ll keep you posted on that. But along with a pair of collapsible saw horses, I have plenty of options to move into the driveway to work.
To foster creativity, it is really important to me to have a comfy place to sit in my she shop. It stirs the creative juices, haha! At my last house, I had a covered area in the back yard for a small swing bed. The new yard doesn’t have that, so I decided to hang my swing bed in the she shop. And I am happy to say that I use it almost daily!
At the end of a work day, I relax on the swing bed with a glass of wine and snuggle with my side kick, Petunia! Speaking of wine, I do have a refrigerator to house some refreshments, a microwave and a Kruerig, all tucked into one corner of the she shop. For additional pleasure, I have a TV and a Bose speaker so I can jam to some tunes or watch HGTV while I work! Sweet!!
I can almost live down here, except for one thing. There is no plumbing on this level. So no bathroom and no sink!!! Someday I hope to get a sink. I’m dreaming of an old cast iron kitchen sink with at least one drainboard. Perfect for washing stencils! For now, I have a 5-gallon water dispenser. It’s hardly a sink, but it’s pretty handy for drinking water and keeping paint brushes damp, til I carry them upstairs for cleaning at the end of the day. Not sure the budget will ever allow for a bathroom in the basement. And besides, Sister says I have to come upstairs sometime!!! Haha!
As I said in the beginning, this space will probably never really be finished. There will always be shelves to build or new tools to incorporate and a sink really is high on the list. Oh yes, some insulated garage doors would be awesome! See, always something to do. But for now, it is a functional and fun space to work and play in.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into my she shop and maybe you came away with an idea or two to make your space work harder for you. I’d love to know what creative ideas you implement in your own work spaces!