The funny thing is that when I set up this room five years ago, the quilting bug had barely bitten. I just wanted a room to work on whatever craft was interesting at the moment. The room was needed as a guest room occasionally, so versatility and things-that-can-be-rearranged were important.
After painting the ceiling to cover the footprints of the previous owners’ bunk-bedded twin boys, scraping off the kiddie wallpaper border, and painting the walls a soft sage, it was time to get some furnishings. The futon was one of the first acquisitions. (It’s only full size so it’s really a tad small for two. Oh well!) I heard about various DIY design walls on the Quiltart list, so below is my portable one.
It consists of two 4' X 8' panels of insulation foam, with about a foot cut off the length so they fit easily in the room. They are covered with gray felt from Jo-Ann’s that comes in 6 foot widths. The felt is wrapped around to the back and pinned at an angle towards the outer edges. This is mostly because the pin tips would otherwise stick out the front... not good. The felt has held up well, though the cat has made use of it for unauthorized scratching a few times. Chunks of fabric cling to it beautifully for designing purposes. It’s also handy to hang small supplies on a pin like embroidery floss for certain projects. If necessary, the panels can be easily moved.
When a project is underway, I set up an ironing board with a wide surface on top. It can be adjusted in height for sitting or standing. The wide board is a sheet of homasote covered with ironing board fabric on one side, and flannel on the back. The flannel keeps it from sliding. Homasote seems to be a variable product, because some people say they can stick pins in it easily. Well, not this stuff! But it is a good surface for ironing.
The area shown below is an assembly of flat files, countertop, and wall cabinets. There are actually four flat file units. The lower ones have 5 drawers, then stacked on top are 3-drawer units. I ordered them from a local art supply place. They were only available unfinished, so first they required three coats of clear satin polyurethane. The handles were flimsy plastic, so I ordered unfinished wooden handles from a woodworking supply place, stained and varnished them. (I hate sanding, varnishing, sanding, blah, blah, but love the end result.) The little metal label holders were spray painted a copper color to cover the original shiny brass. The wall cabinets were off-the-rack, already assembled cabinets from Lowe’s. Fortunately their color was close enough to the flat files. I added the knobs.
The countertop was custom made (big box home supply store) to be as long as possible yet still fit in the room. It’s just sitting on top, it’s not screwed down to the flat files. All these pieces could be taken out and the room turned into a plain bedroom in the future, if needed. The bulletin board under the cabinets is made from homasote covered with a thin veneer of cork. Though difficult to push tacks and pins into, it works reasonably well and certainly takes advantage of the space. The little white 3-drawer unit to the right of the sewing machine holds my larger spools of thread. The green pad is for the comfort of my kitty Knickers as she gazes out the window, or more likely, snoozes.
As previously mentioned, I originally didn’t know what was going to go into these flat files. Not surprisingly, they are now jammed with fabric, mostly fat quarters. The nice thing about a flat file drawer is how it can be left open while working. For example, the 4th drawer down has the smaller thread spools, needles, bobbins, etc. in it for easy access while sewing.
These drawers are on the right of the sewing machine. Love to just open them up and look at all the colors and patterns!
Across the room is this bookcase filled with most of my quilting books and mags. In order to fit it there, the bi-fold closet doors were removed and a curtain hung instead. The closet has filing cabinets and shelves full of batting, fabric, etc. The table is covered with fabric for a particular project. Rather than constantly dig through the file drawers, I pulled out all the geometric and small prints and put the fat quarters into photo boxes. The bigger cuts are sort of piling up, but I don’t really need any more fabric, need to just get working(!) Those little nested tables come in handy to move around and pile things on mid-project. Or, if guests are in the room, to put next to the futon.
So there you have it! In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit to moving aside a pile or two of clutter to take these photographs. When I’m in the middle of making something, the room gets... shall we say... messier.