Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Little Space to Call My Own

At the start of summer I came across a Better Homes and Gardens special publication magazine that had some great garden ideas and adorable ideas for rethinking the traditional garden shed. At seeing my interest spark with the amazing designs for turning a shed into miniature versions of an office or an art studio or a book nook or a comfy sitting room, Dusty decided we should have a neat space. So he set to building one himself, designed just for me! Isn’t he sweet?

Well that was in the beginning of May. As you may know, that time of year means lots of spring farm work, getting our garden planted and hay harvest just around the corner. So while progress started out great with designing/ideas, picking up supplies and getting the construction phase underway, things slowed a bit as June showed up.

We had a plan for our shed to just be a fun place to hang out on the little porch and enjoy the yard, unwind inside in the shade on a futon, or cozy up with some pillows to read a book up in the little loft. Its sole purpose was for lounging and relaxation. Any thought of working practicality or storage use was an afterthought at best. At that point in our thought process we had no reason to need the space the shed could provide for anything other than fun!

Then in the middle of June we got some news (much much sooner than we had expected to receive it) that we were going to have a baby. This meant we would need the second bedroom in our house, which we had been using as an office/craft supply storage room, for a nursery! After letting that information settle in a bit we were left with a big question, where were we going to put all the stuff that was in the currently occupying the bedroom to make room for baby? Despite its half finish status my “fun place” shed seemed like the only logical answer.

Realistically it wasn’t such a bad answer to switch the shed’s purpose to more of an office or craft studio, given that the shed had already been designed with big beautiful windows to let in lots of light and close in proximity to the house. Once we started rethinking our design and tweaking it a little for less lounging and more paperwork and crafting, the storage and workspace opportunities seemed delightfully plentiful.

Towards the end of October construction was finished! It is true that many full scale houses have been built in the same amount of time it took to finish a little shed but they didn’t have wheat harvest smack dab in the middle of their foreman’s work window. Needless to say I was eager to move in my things starting with the desk out of the bedroom along with my scrapbook papers and such. We dug out the work bench which Dusty had in his room growing up and it was a perfect addition to the space. The loft provided a great place to tuck away some of the vases and buckets that I use with the garden in the summer.

Conveniently, most all of my craft goodies were already in plastic totes and plastic stacking shelves to protect it from occasional bug or dust that could find its way into the mostly sealed shed. The one drawback to the shed design could be that since we originally planned to use it mainly in the nice weather months we didn’t insulate it. We did fill any minor gaps in the tongue and groove siding to seal it up from the elements and icky critters but not the cold.  I am hoping that utilization of a good space heater will help me to extend the time each year that I will be able to use my space for crafting.

Once we got everything tucked away in the shed we realized we have way more useable work space and storage for materials than the previous location in the little bedroom in our house could possibly provide. Before moving things to the shed this lack of workspace led to me working mostly on my big kitchen table or the coffee table by the couch and having materials scattered everywhere in between. I am so excited to be able spread stuff out all over my desks and tables in the shed and just be able to walk away and come back to it as I have time without getting annoyed at how my mess is cluttering up my house for the sometimes lengthy duration of my project.

Really, I think the shed will be more fun to use this way than the original plan would have been. I am so glad Dusty decided to build it for me and became even more so once we found out we would be in need of the extra space. It was a blessing in disguise that is how it happened. If we had known we were going to have a baby we may have chosen not to spend the money on the originally frivolous shed, but then we would not have had any easy solutions for how to conveniently relocate and still be able to use the office/craft stuff.

Now the only question left is what to call it? It is clearly doesn’t fit the standard definition of a “shed,” since that creates the connotation of rakes, shovels and other typical tools hanging from the walls. I am going back and forth between the names “Craft Cottage,” “Hobby House,” or simply “Erin’s Happy Place.”