Last year we finally had enough cash to turn our dingy garage into a home office/art studio. Living in a tiny house, we always dreamed of adding just one more room. Somewhere to work and create and just escape from the confines of the little house – a corner of our living room had been our office up to that point.
We hired a friend to do most of the work which was a total treat since we’d done everything else ourselves since buying the house in 2005. Case in point: check out this picture of the garage before the renovation – that’s me wielding the jackhammer. We were building a fence and gate at the top of our driveway in preparation for getting a dog and to make the back yard a bit private. Anyone could just walk right up the driveway to this point if they wanted, which was a bit unsettling.
I love seeing old pictures of our house and noticing the changes. All the plants here are now massive compared to this shot back in March 2007.
Anyway back to the office. We replaced the weird garage door – yes, that’s a Hobbit door cut out of it – with some inexpensive french doors that I painted pinky-purple.
Fixing up this garage had such a positive impact on our lives. We had a whole extra 150 square feet! Now we lived in 850, not 700 sf. Woo hoo! Still tiny I know, but we make it work. My husband and I each had a desk, I had a sewing table set up full time. I had space to store my boxes of fabric and all my props for work. It was amazing.
Slap white paint on everything and suddenly you’ve got light bouncing all around (an important point since there are no windows aside from the doors). My husband built that sofa-like thingy at the back – he designed it so that exactly 8 big plastic lidded bins could fit under it and store my fabric and props and ourfamily memorabilia, but you’d never know all the junk it hides. It just looks like a nice place to lay down with a book and a beer, doesn’t it?
We did spend some time enjoying that lovely lounge area. The kids would hang out and play board games there while I worked. I’ve got some pictures of my sweet son sitting there and hand-sewing a spaceship onto a piece of muslin. (He’s since moved onto mastering the art of origami and my house is littered with tiny bits of folded paper.)
But before long, real life stepped in and threw a whole bunch of crap on that gorgeous space. I found myself with a handful of jobs all happening simultaneously. I was re-designing a couple of rooms at a spa/salon, preparing for a dining room re-design as well as an upcoming shoot. Where else am I going to dump all the stuff it takes to do those things?
It starts off small. A lamp I’m going to spray paint, a chair I’m picking fabric for, a windowpane I found on the sidewalk that might make a nice piece of wall decor down the line. Oh and did I mention, we also bike and surf, so let’s chuck those things in there too. But it gets worse.
Disclaimer: I am not a slob. It just looks that way.
Just a couple of days later and here’s how it looked. More shopping for my clients added to the mix. Another chair to paint and reupholster, some curtains being sewn for the salon job.
Where the heck am I going to sit now and sip Bellini’s while thinking about how great my life is?? You can’t even see the sofa let alone sit on it.
Now I don’t want to leave you thinking this is how I always live? I much prefer the glow-y, gorgeously styled, well-lit way of life. And I really do get annoyed by mess. Neither choice is ideal. Really, who can maintain tidy all the time without it being a full-time job? Throw in a couple of kids and suddenly you’ve got other people’s stuff to worry about too. But messes like these happen once in a while and I’ve learned to live with it for that moment in time, knowing that it’s real life. And that, quite frankly, these aren’t bad problems to have. Life could be worse, right?
And if I just can’t take it anymore, I can always plant myself on the piles of junk, open up my laptop and gaze longingly at the before pictures, remembering a fantasy land that existed for about half a day.