Decorating · Renovations

New Sewing Studio, part 1

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I moved last summer, and almost everything from my studio has been in boxes since then. Part of this was just being busy with family life and the holidays, and part of it was because we needed to renovate and swap around several rooms before the eventual studio space was free. In February we finally cleared out the room and began to transform the space into my new sewing studio.

The plan is to turn this room into a studio for me, with an eye to using it as a second family room when I’m not working. Previously, this room was the computer room for the whole family, and by necessity, many of the cables and network equipment needed to stay in the room, even though the computers and desks were moving into a smaller room nearby.

It’s a big space, about 12×24, that must have been a pretty cool den back in the 70s. The carpet was pretty worn, the ceiling fan was wonky, and the dark paneling felt really dated. Definitely time for an update!

Before, after moving out the furniture.
The other end of the room, including all the boxes from the studio.
The other end of the room, including all the boxes from my old studio.

When we pulled up the grey carpet, we found this bit of goodness. It was in great shape, and I can’t imagine why they covered it up, can you?


We ripped out everything, then primed the paneling with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer*. I was somewhat dubious that it would be this easy to paint paneling, but it was almost impossible to scratch off once it dried. The wall color Lap Pool Blue, an aqua that changes constantly, from happy and light in sunshine, to calm and cozy when it gets dark.  I think it will be a great color for both a studio and a family room.

The new flooring is Allure Plus in Gray Maple, and it’s incredibly easy to install. It took about 7 hours start to finish for two people to install all the flooring in the room. We’ve used the same floor in the adjoining craft room, and will eventually continue it into the laundry and computer rooms, eliminating the last of the carpet in the house.

In addition to paint and flooring, we made the same updates that we’re slowing making throughout the house.  The doors and trim were painted in Divine Pleasure by Behr. We put in new doorknobs in an oil rubbed bronze finish, and used Krylon spray paint* on the hinges. We also replaced all the old almond-colored outlets and switches with white ones, just to freshen things up.

We loved the vintage look of this wall sconce with the hand blown glass globe and vintage-style lightbulb, and looked for a simple bronze ceiling fan to coordinate with it. For the ceiling fan, we swapped the globes that came with it for these Williamsburg style clear glass globes, and added daylight LED bulbs with vintage styling*.

Studio SconceI was so excited to find LED bulbs that look like the vintage Edison bulbs – form and function at its best! At first I tried the “Original” vintage bulbs*, but quickly learned a few things about these bulbs. First, it’s really important to note that the packaging says “60W replacement” not “equivalent.” These bulbs are much closer to what you’d expect from a 40W incandescent.

Second, even though they say soft white, they are coated with a slight amber tone, and the overall effect is very dim and yellow. They’d be great for a cozy accent corner or an outside light, but really threw off the colors in the room, and just weren’t bright enough for such a large room. The brighter LEDs won’t have that soft vintage glow, but as an 80W replacement, will be functional lighting for the room while still looking a bit vintage. The wall sconce is a soft white bulb without the amber coating, and will be good for mood lighting when it’s needed.

I was also determined to find a solution for the cables and equipment that was accessible, but as hidden as possible. Once the room was painted, I used this Wiremold CMK50 Cord Mate II* kit to hide all the cables that needed to run around the top of the room. I had to leave a gap where the cords ran up into the ceiling, but other than that, they are neatly hidden.


The raceway handled 4 cords snugly, and was still able to snap shut.  However, I quickly discovered it was much easier to close them before they were installed, rather than after.  Trying to keep all 4 cords in place was more difficult when they were above head height and fighting gravity. Once they are in place and painted, they are fairly unobtrusive.


The rest of the cables got neatly tacked into place above the baseboard molding, and the equipment was mounted flat to the wall instead of on shelves. Once the room has furniture and curtains, they should be completely hidden.


So that’s it for renovations. The room is fresh and clean from top to bottom, and now comes the fun part – setting up furniture and unpacking!  This end will be mostly family room, with a small sofa and TV.

After, with new paint, flooring, lighting, and hardware.

The far end of the room will be mostly studio and storage. This picture was taken with the first set of vintage LEDs, and you can see how yellow they are tinted.


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