Sunday, December 11, 2011

Contemplating my New Craft Space

There are times when OCD really stinks. For instance, let's say, just for the sake of argument, that you're about to move into a really cool new house and have several options for your craft space. Those options, if you have OCD, will drive you nuts as your mind runs around in circles trying to figure out the perfect solution before you move when, really, you just need to commit to one already and then change it if it doesn't work out.

It's not like you're getting married to a space and will have to petition the pope to annul the marriage if you decided you're not compatible.


So, I need to pick a space for my crafting in our new finished basement and thought I'd ask for your insights. Please note that I'm fully aware of how blessed I am to have this OCD dilemma. I'm not whining in a "woe is me" way...just trying to figure out where to start carving my creative space in the new house!

Option 1
Here's the space for the basement walk-out, where the boy is.

I love this smallish, well-lit space for crafting. On the up side, that sliding glass door is eight feet tall and faces east, so the natural ambient light coming in even in the late afternoon is spectacular. I could use both side walls for tables and storage units, and it would be a VERY convenient space for how I work. It's handy to the sink in the wet bar, too. Plus, as the children and hubby use the basement, we'll all be sharing one big recreation space. I won't be secluded and feel like I'm being anti-social while crafting. That recreational advantage was a big part of our motive for buying this house in the first place.

On the down side, that's the basement exit and the first thing you see when you walk down the stairs to the basement. Do I really want my workspace to be the first thing anyone sees when they walk downstairs? Also, that early morning direct light could fade my card stock and damage my rubber stamps, unless I put titanium window film on them, as well as light-filtering curtains (both of which will likely happen whether I use the space as a craft space or not).

Other than using it as a craft space, I have no idea what we would do with this area. It's big enough that I want to do something with it but awkward with the pass-through to the outside.

Option 2
The basement bedroom (about 12' x 14') has a lovely window on the south side of the house, which means lots of natural light in this space as well. On the up side, I'd have privacy, and no one would see the nuttiness of my creativity without entering the room itself.

On the down side, I'd be isolated in my own little corner of the house.The room is pretty big to be a dedicated craft space and might not be that efficient to organize. George wants us to put a bed in that room, which will eat up floor space and doesn't really appeal to me much.

Alternatively, we could put the bed and a small side table in the bonus room in the basement. The bonus room is 8.5' x 9.5' and is essentially a closet: no window, one outlet, bare bulb, but finished. We could give guests one of the kids' rooms upstairs and put the kids in the closet downstairs. That would give me the whole bedroom, but like I said, it's pretty big for the craft space of a woman who professes to be "simple."

Option 3
We could turn the basement bedroom into a formal guest bedroom and use the bonus room as my craft room. On the up side, the size of the bonus room is perfect...cozy, and very workable and efficient. (There's a full bathroom between the basement bedroom and bonus room, by the way.) It would be easy enough to add a better light fixture to the room and a few electrical outlets. A second Ott light for my desk and an Ott floor lamp might take care of the lighting issues. 

On the down side, no natural light. That's really the only insurmountable problem with the space, and even that has its positive side with no fading of paper or damage to rubber.

How do those of you who don't have natural light in your space feel?

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions.


  1. I'm thinking option 2. I really dislike the idea of option 1 as it is the entrance/exit to outside (as well as not being able to hide the crafty crap mess when you need to. Option 3 is okay, but not a huge fan of no natural light. It will mess with you when you're trying to take photos, plus you'll feel like you're in a dungeon. Even though option 2 means a bigger room and it may be a little bit awkward, consider that you can always put other things in that space (my bookshelf + office stuff/printer are in my craft room too). Don't forget that you might start another craft hobby that you may start buying more supplies for and will take up more space. Good luck with your decision, I experience the same type of OCD as well - not the kind of checking the oven 15 times to see if it's off, just the color coding/organizational/spatial issues are more my type of OCD. Sorry to write a novel, hope you post pics of what you end up deciding!

    xo, Kristina

  2. Oh, my! This certainly is a difficult dilemma, especially for those of us who must have our ducks in a row before beginning to do anything!! Although each of your Options has its advantages, I think I would choose #3. With sufficient artificial light you'll be able to continue creating your masterpieces, won't be using more space than you really want, and will still be accessable to the family. There's no way I'd want my crafting space viewable to anyone who came down the stairs. The thought of that sends shivers down my spine and reminds me that I haven't cleaned my room this weekend. Must get to it! Good luck -

  3. Okay since you asked…

    Option one is the way to go hands down. Size of space, lighting, access to a sink, shared area with the rest of the family – all positives.

    Only one negative with this option one – the sheer visibility of your crafting area.

    I feel this is easily remedied/solved – go with quality storage units, a handsome desk - glass top. Keep any storage devices functional, but visually pleasing to the eye. Store small items in neutral toned covered boxes – either linen fabric covered ones ( or suede – or paint them. Think Pottery Barn after a glass of wine - calm, relaxing. Stick with neutrals – the boxes on shelves will blend into the background and label everything in a sans serif font. Go light over dark - space will seem bigger. It will be gorgeous.

    Option 2 has too many negatives – use it as a guest bedroom. Bedrooms are meant to be private, and this 12x14 room fits that bill.

    Option 3 is a total negative – should you have a young couple (or any active couple – lol) staying with you they are going to want that 12x14 room and not a huge room without a lock on the door. The fact it lacks natural light is an enormous neg.

    I'd go with option one simply based on the amount of negs for option 2 and 3 have ruled them out. xoxox Cindy

  4. You certainly do have a dilemma there, Susan. I would pick Option 2. I like to be able to close off my craft room if necessary. I wouldn't want others to see my crafting things (whether neat or a project left out) as they walk into the room. I don't know how often you have sleep-over company but I like that you could offer up your kids' room and have the kids sleep downstairs.

    Ok, that is my 2 cents....

  5. I would not use Option 1 as I would not want to be right next to the door unless you do not expect kids to be running in and out all the time.

    Option 3 seems like the best use of that space and would allow you to have a real guest room. Plus, if you don't like it it is easy to move out of Option 3 to Option 1 perhaps.

    Hmm. let us know what you choose.

  6. I would go with option #1. I don't have the luxury of a craft room, so my dining room has been taken over. The upside is a sliding door to outside with lots of natural light. And my dining room is open to the living room, so I am part of the family, and I can be with my hubby (and son if he joins us) while I am crafting. The down side, is that when entering my house (into the living room) you also see my messy craft room. Plus when I have holidays, I need to clean off the table and cover my shelves with towels (to hide the clutter and during the day to protect paper and stamps and stuff from the sun). So I have learned to live with it, my friends and family have come to expect it, and don't say much anymore. You may be lucky enough to get some really nice cabinets and counter space so that when you are not working, your space can be easily cleaned. A big table in front of the sliding door, can also be a family fun/work space for you.

    Stay with the family - they grow fast!

  7. I agree with Carol- your family grows fast- stay with them and choose option #1. Good natural light is very important and anyone who loves what you make(ie..everybody!)
    will not worry about seeing a little creative mess!

  8. I can appreciate you quandary :) #1 is out due to door being there and it being the first thing you see.

    Option 2 not bad, but I would keep it as a guest room. BTW, our guest room is also my craft area so it can be done. We have an office unit in there (L shaped desk and some drawer space and two upright wood closets for storage and it works quite well)

    Option 3 would be my choice. Lack of natural would be sad, but with all the wonderful technology out there that mimics it much more closely these days I don't think it would be that bad.

    Can't wait to find out which one you decide to go with :)

  9. I totally agree with Cindy Lyles - option #1. My craft 'wall' is away from the living area of the house, and I feel badly being in there when DH or the kids are home. If you utilize some of the beautiful new cabinetry, like the armoire style pieces, it could easily be tidied for company. Matched organizational baskets, boxes, etc., would look beautiful in that area. Can't wait to see what you decide!

  10. Very interesting dilema. I craft after 10 pm so I never have any natural light, that wouldn't even cross my mind as a positive or a negative. It's a complete moot point. I also craft at my dining room table so I'm used to everyone seeing my craft area. I have all my stamps in DVD cases on a decorative stand in a corner of my dining room. I bought decorative canvas boxes from CM and my paper sits in them on the large window seat. As long as I keep the lids down, there's no paper fading. All my supplies are kept in a pantry cupboard next to my dining room. Guests don't usually even clue in to how much stuff I have.

    I admit that I would choose option #1. I love being part of the family. DH is often working or watching TV while I craft. I wouldn't want to be shut away. However, if the kids would be going in and out of that doorway a lot in the summer, I would reconsider and use option 3.

    Option 2 wouldn't work for me. Too big and guests would really want that spot. It's nice to be able to give them a decent sized space for privacy.

    I am really looking forward to seeing your space when you get it set up.

  11. You might "profess to be 'simple'", but I honestly believe that it's the process that matters. This will probably sound ultra arty-farty, but which rooms feels better to you?

  12. Wow... this really is a dilemma. And not because of any OCD issues. Each option has positives and negatives. From an outside standpoint, not knowing how your family functions in real life, and what your intentions were for the basement access in the first place, all positives and negatives seem equal to me.

    Oh, a thought just occurred to me. Is there any kind of law that would dictate what if anything can be near that beautiful french door basement exit? I mean, must it remain an easily accessible entry/exit in case of emergency?

    Aside from that, Option #1 seems perfect at first, that natural light and the ability to be part of the family while crafting. Only downside for me would be possible damage to supplies so you would have to chose your storage options carefully to protect them. It seems silly to choose that space for the light and then put up window tint and curtains to BLOCK the light you chose in the first place.

    The other thing would be if your kids are going to be running in and out that door while you are trying to craft. That might become annoying, much as we all love our kids!

    Second choice for me would be Option #3 with good lighting. No point using up the bigger room if you don't need all that space. Good luck!

  13. When we moved to our new home in 2005, we went from 3 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms. I knew immediately that one of these rooms would be my craft room/office.

    After about 3 years here, we decided to rip up the carpet and lay laminate and re-do my entire craft room.

    My room is 15x18 and I need every square inch of it! I bought a double pedestal desk (for work), had 4 bookcases built, got an entertainment center and a couple of writing desks. The room is FULL! I bought decorative boxes from my stamps, paper, EP, EFs, etc and store them on my shelves. I could have taken a smaller room, but I wanted to be off the main area of the house. (I can see parts of the kitchen from my room. (Here's some photos of my office/craft room)

    Think often do you have overnight guests? Would your boys enjoy the "camping out" feeling of being in the smaller room downstairs? I know mine would have at the ages of your boys. If the common area will be used as a family hangout, you'll still be right there nearby, I would think.

    So, my vote...go for the big bedroom! (However, that said...if you don't have as much "stuff" as I seem to have accumulated, I would chose the smaller room and leave the area by the exit open for a reading alcove....added a few bookcases and a couple of comfy chairs.)

    So you see..everyone has different'll just have to find the space that fits you.

  14. My craft room now is in the basement with no windows and I REALLY don't like it! We are building a new house and my craft room will have large windows. I keep my paper in filing cabinets so fading isn't a problem. How often would your guest room be used compared to stamping everyday? Isn't it exciting!!!

  15. In your case I personally could only go with #1.

    I would never want to share my craft space with the guests in the bedroom - it would make me crazy to not be able to use it freely while they were here - and my own personal OCD would be a little bit nutty about others being in there without me - LOL!!

    And it simply would never be an option for me to be in a basement room without windows - so that's not an option.

    My craft space is in the formal living room of our hallway Victorian. I have BIG east facing windows, a view of all that goes by, and even though it's a bit public I love, love, love the light and the sense of still being part of the world while creating.

    So I'd encourage #1. Others might see it but it will be yours and only yours and will give you light.

    Good luck deciding your own best choice.

  16. I would do either 2 or 3; that beautiful entry should be treated as an entry. Love the idea of it being a reading nook with room for people to go in and out. I suspect children playing outside may go in the basement through those doors to use the bathroom. Personally I would not be happy in a room with no natural light, but plenty of people do it and do it well -- good artificial light and a cheater view of the great outdoors on one wall would solve that problem.
    I agree with Danielle, arty-farty or not. What feels right to you? We are waiting to see the results. Such a wonderful dilemma, especially with so much help from your friends.

  17. Susan
    For what it's worth I would choose #1 and buy some gorgeous stand up screens to hide what I didn't want seen.
    Family is important and even if you aren't actively taking part in things your presence is still known and appreciated.

  18. So, here's my two cents. I wouldn't want to use Option #1 because of the traffic going through, the visibility of your stamping area, (which I'm sure is always tidy. Mine is not.) and also the arrangement of your stamping furniture and items. Option #3 would not be my choice, due to no windows. I would hands down choose Option #2. The south-facing window would be awesome and my stamping area would not be visible to guests. I do agree that the big downside is the lack of interaction with your family. I don't have many options and my stamping area is in an area of our family room downstairs. It's still a little bit private, but I can visit with my husband if he is down there watching TV, etc. Good luck with your choice. Can't wait to hear what you decide and to see pictures when you're all moved in!

  19. Here's my two cents: (for what it's worth!) I would go with #3. It sounds like you want to have the "bedroom" as a bedroom and the first space just doesn't really seem practical. If you're like me and you're working on something "big" you can transport items to another area of the house as needed and be with the family while you're working. Having a seperate space to shut the door and hide my mess/collection/obsession is really a must for me. I am using an extra bedroom in our house and it has a window but I pretty much keep the blinds closed whenever I'm not working in the room. Anyway, that's just my thoughts! Good luck and enjoy planning your new soace.

  20. I would go with #1. I love having my craft desk where my family is. I make due with a small l-shaped desk from Ikea with shelf space hanging overhead (with coordinating boxes to hold my supplies) and some stuff stored under the desktop. I wouldn't use my space near as often if it was tucked away from my family.

    Thought: Can you have some space in that bonus room to store things you don't use every time you craft? I would love to have a separate spot to put my Expression, for example. I don't use it very often, and it takes up a lot of space. I'd also keep my scrapbook stuff in a separate spot if I could - 12x12 paper, embellies and stuff I don't use for cards. There are probably other categories of things I could store in another room to make more space in my main crafting area. Especially if it was on the same floor just a few rooms away!

    Most of the time when I craft I am doing cards or other small projects and the amount of space I have is perfectly fine. What I have found great is when I have a big project to work on I grab the dining room table (next room over - open floor plan) and take that over for the length of the project. If you could have a folding table ($30ish at Costco) that you could bring out for bigger projects, I'll bet you'd be just fine in the smaller space almost all of the time.

    Now that I've thought about this - I think I'm going to set up my Expression downstairs in the office (which we never use), and move my scrapbooking stuff down there too - stop cluttering up my small space with things I don't use all the time!

  21. I have taken a bedroom for my craft room, and at first I was nervous about being 'isolated'. I'm very grateful, as well as my family, to be 'isolated'. It has given me the opportunity to focus on the task at hand, given me the pleasure not to have to clean up my mess, and has given me a 'space'.
    As for the bed, what about a murphy bed? It won't eat up floor space, but, it could potentially take away from cabnet space.
    Good luck and I wish you the best! happy crafting.

  22. Sorry to post again, but I just thought of this.

    How fun will it be to craft on a nice day with the door open and be able to kiss the kids as they go out to play and listen to their happy voices outside? (Plus, since you're right there, you can monitor how much they are going in and out!)

    That sounds like heaven to me. But I love to craft with my family around me.

  23. Option 2 all the way. I have a touch of OCD myself and Option 1 would drive me crazy, absolutely crazy, to have my craft space be in the midst of the entry/exit to the basement. Option 3, with no natural light, would be worse than option 1 to me.

  24. My suggestion is #2. I don't know if you have a guest bed now, but would you consider buying a day bed with a trundle? If you have one guest, they use the day bed and for a couple, the trundle makes it a king size bed. I'm told the inflatables work well too.

    #1 would be next on my list because of the good light. You should do what feels right to you. Good Luck!

  25. Option #1, you could always get a screen to "hide" your craft area. I always want to be near the family and the action. We have precious years left before the action moves on. This prompts me, at times to lug a card table and lots of crafting into the living room, so I am not secluded.

    Or, go with your first instinct.

  26. I'm leaning toward option one, because I can't do crafting without natural light. My crafting supplies are in the basement as well with a lot less natural light than you will have. I envy your situation, even though it's tough to figure out right now. Being visible, like in option, one will force you to keep things tidy:)
    Good luck,

  27. What a lovely dilemma. I also like Option #1, and the one lady who suggested those beautiful big floor screens which are easily moved around. And being part of family activities with your own little area sounds good too. Not being tucked away somewhere.
    My paper is all tabbed neatly in a filing cabinet (matching scraps also go in each folder so no hunting around for bits and pieces). Also, no worries about fading/yellowing.
    If the doors to the outside were going to be a main traffic area, that might be a problem. But all that lovely light sounds heavenly.
    The cabinet idea sounds good to store your stamps etc. I have heaps of natural light and IKEA bookcases with doors and all the stamps are in 'there' Easily accessible too.
    Good luck - really looking forward to see how you decide.

  28. Option #1. My space is actually in the sunroom which doubles as the kids playroom. Personally, I would not want to be isolated from family while crafting. I have LOTS of light coming into my space and I have not noticed papers fading as most of them are stored in stacks. Most of my stamps are in cabinets. I was blessed to have my father build me a custom wall unit/desk to store my supplies so it is easy to "tidy up". I agree with Cindy's comment about quality storage. I must admit though, I have followed your blog for a long time and I am confident that you have more "stuff" than I do ;). I am sure which ever option you choose will work great.

  29. Susan, at first the best choice seemed to be #3. BUT: Not having natural light sucks.It changes everything!Take it from someone who works in a windowless room.So considering this, i think the best choice is #1.Believe me lighting is a really big deal,it affects my mood and my creativity.So i would definately go for #1.
    Please let us know!Good luck

  30. Ha ha, it's like reading something from own head. One of my Mums favourite sayings for me as a kid growing up was 'I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure' I would go with option two as I need to have natural light as it seems to boost my creativity and option one would clutter the exit from your basement. And the other point to consider is how often to you have guests, as they would use the room infrequently but you would make use of it everyday. I'm quite jealous really, we are renting a house for 6 months while we look for a new house and at the moment I'm having to share a very small room with a very un-OCD's driving me crazy and new houses aren't like that in the UK, no nice basements for us. Good luck with it all and can't wait to see some pictures when you are settled. Lisa xxx

  31. WOW, what a lot of helpful suggestions you've already had. I would prefer option 1 personally but I entirely understand the trade off between crafting with your family and having all your guests/visitors seeing your craft space when it's perhaps not at its tidiest. I guess I would say option 1 ..... but with LOTS of doors and drawers you could hide things behind to make it look tidier when you know you have guests calling.

    GOOD LUCK with whichever option you pick - your new home looks just gorgeous


  32. Do you have to be downstairs? If so, then option two. A space all to yourself and good, natural light. We live in a very small home. Half of the living room is my crafting area but in front of and to my left side are two very large windows. I would not do well without any natural light. I'd go for #2 if you are going to be downstairs.

  33. Susan, I loved reading through all of these responses. What a wonderful problem to have. :-)

    I love that little alcove, but the traffic passing through would drive me mad. If you can craft neatly (tidy enough to be seen by everyone), and can store everything so that the kids don't bump/rub/touch/destroy on their way through the walkway, then it would be nice to be near your family. I liked the suggestion of using this area as a reading nook.

    The bedroom sounds like it would be a beautiful guest bedroom. Can you fit your crafting gear in with a guest bed?

    The windowless room sounds good for not fading anything, but I have to say, as a daytime crafter, I love looking out into the world and using natural light as I craft.

    Ooh, I can't decide either! I think I like the idea of Option 3 with GOOD lighting. You can always come out to the "reading nook" to do a little craft work when you want some natural light and some company. :-)

  34. I choose option #1. Have laminate countertops made to fit the wall space and ask the builder to get you more cabinets (to match the bar). Bonus for re-sale....a lovely office/computer space. No matter what you end up doing, consider replacing the carpet in the alcove with a low maintenance flooring (think area rug). Kids tracking in and out....or one dropped inkpad!...(not to mention water problems in a heavy rain/melting snow situation)...ask me how I know!! Just remember, this is your home and you should live in it....and not worry what other people think when they walk down the basement stairs. Good luck and happy moving day!! Susan G.

  35. Option #1. Think of it as sectioning off an area as your open artist's studio. Like Myrna, I would have tall decorative screens if I needed to hide a mess, but you KNOW that other women who create or would love to create are just dying to see where YOU create. Some good-quality easy-care flooring (in a mottled color! Heh!) can assist in separating this area visually from the rest. The many suggestions, above, for furniture/storage are great. Congratulations on having such a wonderful dilemma!

  36. I like #3. I work in a much smaller space with no natural light. I like that I have a space to get away from everyone and I can leave it when I am working and come back to finish a project.
    I painted my space a very bright sunny yellow with brown trim. I have track lighting and Ott light on my desk. I also have a stamping table that I can stand up to stamp on. I love my space and I feel like I am outside due to my paint job. I take my photo in another room.

  37. Oh my's so funny reading everyone's opinion!!! I'm thinking this might be even more confusing for you...........Why not try them all out! Put out a work desk and a few supplies and see which area feels best for you!
    My craft room is off the TV room........sometimes I leave the door open between the two....more often I close it though!

  38. I made a comment earlier above and came back to see what others suggested. LOL. You have mixed opinions so you are probably where you started - uncertain which option to go with :)

  39. I personally can't do without natural light wherever I am creating. If it were me I would have to go with the bedroom because I am a messy crafter and wouldn't want my mess on display.... But for you.... I think you should do number 1 and then change it if you need to.

  40. Hi Susan, I don't know if anyone else has suggested this - I got too impatient to read all the comments! I suggest Option 4 (Yikes, I'm sorry!)which would combine #1 and #3. Keep your craft supplies in the small room/closet, with a workspace that can handle being left messy. But set up a craft "station" of table(s), chair(s) in the natural light walk-out area. I have a small craft room with a desk, where I can craft, but I generally haul out my stuff to the kitchen table, so I can be close to my family. When I have to tidy up the kitchen, I just dump stuff on my craft room desk, which I can tidy at leisure (or not!). This also works in that my kids never mess with my stuff in the room, but I can take things out and craft with them anytime I choose. Plus, I have a sanctuary when I need it. My storage helps with this, I have 2 plastic drawer towers on wheels, which makes moving around easy. Hope this helps!

  41. What a lucky dilema to have! Be grateful :)

    I like #3 too. I would rather have a place all my own where I can just close the door to hide the creative mess, and come back to it later.
    I currently work in a basement guest bedroom with very little light, and since most of my crafting time is late in the evening...I don't miss it. I take my photos in a homemade lightbox.
    I would love to have a dedicated guest room so I don't have to stash my stash when we have guests, but there have only been 2 times this year when I've had to clean up my mess for company.

    Option #1 looks lovely...but having kids and dog traffic through my creative space would drive me crazy, and having to keep it tidy just sounds like too much work. I like the commenter suggestion to create a reading nook there.

    I can hardly wait to see what you decide!

  42. If I were in your shoes, I'd take the bedroom, no question. First, you HAVE to have natural light --- I'm amazed at some of my earlier color combinations made with artificial light, before I realized I canNOT combine colors (CS colors, and CS and inks) after the sun goes down. Second, the bedroom would afford you the availability of stopping and starting on a whim, without having to clean up in between like you'd have to if you used the pictured space. Using the pictured space, you'll have kids and people running through your stuff, or have to completely clean up every time you create --- and that means you end up saying "well, I don't have a whole 2-hour block to work, so it's not worth it to drag everything out and then have to put it all away, so I'd better not start." Boo! And how often do you have guests that would have to be in that bedroom? And if you do have to, would they really mind being in your neat, uncluttered space, new space? I work in our guest bedroom now, and positively love it. Yes, I'm cut off from my husband for a while (and that's not all bad! Sometimes it's a good getaway), but it's not for long. I can leave all my junk all over the place when I need to quit. Just close the door and Presto! - it's clean! I use the bed as I would the floor, to lay stuff out (and I don't have to bend down to the floor). I use the bedroom set in there for storing my stuff --- a triple dresser, a chest of drawers, a nightstand, and a cedar chest, and I love it. I also love having the sink right there (don't know if you've got a bathroom connected to your room or not). I positively love my space because it's mine, I don't have to straighten it up unless I want to, and nobody knows. I think your top priority should be a space ALONE, second priority natural light, and third priority thinking about anybody else! Good luck deciding! I love that you asked our opinion!

  43. I would choose option #2. This room
    has the natural light that you need
    and the potential for privacy. If
    you want to be near the family, you
    can bring a project to where they are
    but privacy is harder to come by. As
    the boys get older, you may need more of it-- our house felt much smaller with a teenager.

    You can make a nice guest room out
    of the other room and that is a
    temporary and occasional need; your
    craft space is a room to be used every day.

  44. I read through all the comments first to see if anyone else had suggested what I'm about to suggest to you! I agree with Casey, to go with options 1 and 3. Store all your things away from natural light so they don't fade and they are out of sight. You can also craft in there if you have a long, drawn out or messy project or need some alone time. It's also nice to not have to put things away every time you craft. I work in a common area, and it's a total pain to put things away every time. But put a desk in area number 1. You can read there, craft there, relax there, work on homework with the kids there, etc. Your children might like that open space to work on their own projects too. And when you're done crafting you have somewhere to store your things in room 3. I also agree with the poster to try crafting in each space and see how you like it. How you feel in the space is so important. If you don't get a good vibe or are not inspired in the space, then you'll craft less or not at all. So how you feel in the space is most important, and then you will be able to figure out whatever solutions you need to make that space work.

  45. Option #1 is out. The sliding glass door is your exit for the basement, you will have to have a path to that space for people to go in and out. Plus, windows can be drafty, especially if you are in an area of the country that gets snow. Even though it might be triple paned windows, it's still chilly.

    Option #2 or #3 sounds great. Actually, I'd go with option #3. Adding the lighting where you need it is fabulous, plus, how often do you have guests that stay? And... not a problem with them walking through your craft area, I bet they'd love to join you.

  46. Crafting is my therapy so as much as I would like natural light and love my family I would take option 3. I like to concentrate when I'm working so being in the entrance would not work for me plus I'm a messy crafter. Does is distract you to have people around when you work? I think that is the real question. Having natural light,the sink near by and your family around is a plus if you don't need a quite place. Hope this will help you.

  47. What a wonderful problem to have! After reading the comments above, I think I would choose #1 for the lighting and the closeness to family activities. Kerry's suggestions made the most sense to me, especially the idea of using moveable screens. I can see your space on the left side of the area, with no obstruction to the doorway. I wouldn't worry about having your "messiness" showing--it's not like it's your living room! Also, the idea of housing less-used items in another area makes sense. I do that for my off-season stamps and dsp, which keeps things less cramped. Can't wait to see what you finally do!

  48. What a wonderful problem to have! After reading the comments above, I think I would choose #1 for the lighting and the closeness to family activities. Kerry's suggestions made the most sense to me, especially the idea of using moveable screens. I can see your space on the left side of the area, with no obstruction to the doorway. I wouldn't worry about having your "messiness" showing--it's not like it's your living room! Also, the idea of housing less-used items in another area makes sense. I do that for my off-season stamps and dsp, which keeps things less cramped. Can't wait to see what you finally do!

  49. Oh my. What a dilemma! :)
    I would go for option 3 - the bonus room. It always helps to have an extra room for guests....whether as a couple or even extra kids sleeping over...easier to accomodate when there is extra room. Keep bedrooms as bedrooms...:)
    We all love natural light for crafting....I do have natural light where I have all my supplies...does not mean it is where I want it to be! :) I still have to use artificial light...sometimes even in the day. Also, even if it is extra craft space for you, always helps to have a bit of room....can stretch out...have a kid hanging on to your arm talking about nonsense....can dream of buying all those goodies and be reassured that you have space to keep it all...I can go on...:)
    I hope there is actually some clarity coming out of these comments! Bet it feels nice to know there are so many who care enough to leave you a note....amazing how sometimes almost virtual strangers spare such nice thoughts for are one lucky person :)

  50. I'm an option 2 fan. It's probably because it's as similar to my craft space of the three options. I like natural light (I'm thinking I have a little SADD issue) yet I like having some privacy. I like to get away from my family at times! I have a spare bed in my space for guests and they have learned to ignore the craft area, which I am sure is not nearly as neat as yours! Good luck with that decision.

  51. Susan, I'm curious about the dimensions of the space in option 1? You gave us the dimensions for options 2 and 3.

    Natural light is a huge priority for me so option 3 is off the table immediately.

    I like the idea of being able to throw open the doors to the garden and feel connected to the outside world (in summer at least!). And I love the thought of all that natural light. But it looks like an awkward space to design as you only have two walls and they are opposite each other (rather than L-shaped).

    So in the end, I think I'd choose option 2 - unless its window is very high or small in which case I'd go with option 1. If it has a large enough window, I'd arrange my space in an L-shape with part of my work area right up against the window. 12x14 is a large space so you'd need to have something else in it - if you don't like the idea of a guest bed, what about a sofa bed and some bookcases so that when there are no guests, it feels like a nice little reading area as well as your craft room?

    When do you get to move in and start planning it? Keep us posted on your decision!

  52. The pros and cons have been covered, and there is no clear "right" choice. I'll just share my experience, for what it's worth. We have been in the same house for 33 years and raised four children here. Now we have lots of empty bedrooms plus an unused playroom (half below ground level on the front or west side of the house (2 small windows), with a triple width opening into the family room which has sliders to the patio on the back of the house). My first craft room choice was the most private bedroom, 16 x 16 with room for a queen-sized bed, cabinets, bookshelves and three desks. Luckily, our three girls had matching furniture, so I can interchange freely! I had lots of storage space and workspace, but I felt so isolated that I went in there less and less. Another drawback, when I needed the computer to research or print something, I had to run down three half-flights of stairs to the playroom.

    Then one Christmas about four years ago, my dear husband gave me a gift certificate for a new craft room in the old playroom. My design, his labor. This is how I understand your dilemma! What on earth did I want? It took 3 years, but I LOVE being closer to him in the family room. We can talk, even if we can't see each other. I can see the TV or hear the stereo. Although there is no through traffic, people can see my sometimes cluttered space, but as my friend says, "Creative minds are rarely tidy. Live with it."

    My room is long and narrow, so DH built a closet across 2/3 of one short end and next to it, open shelves above for cardstock and craft books and a counter-height work surface with a closed cabinet below. The opposite end has floor to ceiling cabinets, so I am lucky to be able to store most of the less pretty stuff behind closed doors.

    The only serious drawback I see to Option 1 is the traffic, but I think dealing with that is worth it. And you can always store less used supplies in your smaller bonus room. The shelving there doesn't even have to be pretty; it could be metal utility shelves, if necessary.

    I can visualize some shallow built-in storage on both side walls of your space and a big desk or work table in front of one side wall, the one away from the slider opening, so you have clear access to outdoors. You can keep an eye on your boys indoors or out.

    Best wishes, whatever you decide!

  53. I'm all for some sort of windows otherwise you feel like you're working in a cave! It is nice to be part of the group if your family is close by, but it is such a luxury to close a door and leave a project half-way done without putting everything away! Also, it's better to have slightly more space than you think you'll need or soon...all of your supplies will make you feel like a hoarder! Since you've been a paper crafter for many years --- you're probably already a hoarder like me -- hehe!

  54. Too much traffic in the area in option 1. Too much claustrophobia in option 3. Use the big bedroom. Put in a wall bed so guests can have a comfortable place to sleep, but you won't have to work around a bed all the time.

    How often will a guest room be used? DH and I realized that our guest room was consuming a significant part of our home and was rarely used. We decided that anyone we were likely to invite to spend the night would not mind sleeping in a multipurpose type of room.

  55. PS Since you're new house has lots of space, why not 2 spaces! Make an area near the family space that is essentially a work table with a comfortable chair along with basic supplies that has good light to be used by you and the rest of the family to assemble projects, wrap presents, do school projects, etc. -- and then a separate craft room with a door that you can store all of your supplies as well as have a large work space with a door to close as needed!

  56. I like Cindy Lyles idea of #1 option, using very nice cabinets, desk and tasteful storage containers. I also like the murphy bed idea. I use a bedroom as a craft room and all my friends know that they will be sleeping on a blow up bed when visiting with us and they do not mind at all or else I'm sure they would stay at a hotel. My room faces the north so I am always running outside to look at my cards in natural light. that is my two cents! Have fun.

  57. I choose Option #2. I have my own little "shed" which is 10x12 and I had no trouble filling it! (You can see it via "Darnie" on SCS, or on my website "" For me, the solitude and lack of distractions keeps the creativity flowing. Then, b/c frequent breaks are also good, joining with the family where they are is equally fulfilling! Hope that makes sense. I'm happy for you to be as blessed as I am to have your dream space!

  58. If I had your problem :0) I would immediately head for number three. As you pointed out, it is a perfect size and why waste good space you don't currently need. It has access to water in the near by bathroom. You can close the door and instantly have either privacy or a hiding place for work in progress. Having good light is nice but also, as you mentioned, presents its problems. Like having to hide your clear stamps and papers from the sun to name one. You have many man-made lighting options to take care of a dark room. To me it would be a sin to clutter up that gorgeous entrance with a craft clutter you cannot hide. Will papers and glitter go flying whenever the door is open? Also, as you have already pointed out, if it doesn't work you can always move up the the bedroom opton or (IMHO) the least desireable: the entrance. I hope you find the solution that works best for you on the first try and have fun putting it all together.

  59. Didn't have time to read all the posts but I like Cindy's idea. Also,have you considered some type of movable screen/room divider? Something you could move into place if company is coming.

  60. Hi,

    Someone may have already thought of this. Just in case they did not, I would go with options "3" and "1". You could have the right size room in "3", and then have a counter, desk or multitask surface of your choice near the slide, "1". That could even be a place with a telephone and a laptop that you and guests could use. You could bring a project out there when you are feeling sociable, or when you would prefer the light there. This way you would have the luxury of keeping everything private in room "3". That would keep the area by the slider clutter free.

    Enjoy your space!
    Do NOT proofread this!

    Terri / Brat

  61. I understand your dilemma (I got so freaked out when trying to pick carpet and tile for our new home several years ago I cried.) I like option 3; natural light is nice but as you stated you have to worry about your paper and rubber stamps (I keep my paper covered with a towel to prevent fading and it looks so tacky). As you said if it doesn't work YAHOO (you always have other options)

  62. Love your blog, cards, teachings, etc. thanks for sharing all with us! Re your crafting space - I had the same dilemna - natural light single handedly wins - I get morning sun in my craft room and as the day wears on, the light dwindles which means I craft less - have made many cards in the evenings and had to wait until morning to see if my colors "worked"
    Also a room to yourself is wonderful - close the door AND leave the mess behind until you can get back to it - also as the boys grow you may find a little retreat all of your own will be a welcome getaway.
    Just my 2 cents

  63. I think I would go with option 2. You would be sharing space with a extra bed, but do you have to have it ready to go for a guest at a moment's notice? Second to that, I would pick option 1. Option 1 isn't my first choice as I don't my dear darling daughter in my craft space with me. I love her and I love my crafty get away, separately. The bonus room would be a last resort for me. I have worked in a space for the last 5 years with no natural light and I detest it. Please don't do that to yourself.

  64. I like option 3, if it were me. I craft in the basement...and although there isn't natural light, there's minimal distractions. I cannot craft when there is too much going on around me. Plus, if you had company, you probably wouldn't be crafting, so that room would sit tight until you were free to craft again. I pray you have peace with your decision..1,2 or 3. ;)

  65. Wow, Susan, look at all those comments!
    Aside from going with your gut (are to too OCD for that?), I can tell you that my space works for me -- it's our third bedroom, about 11'x11', with a little bathroom off one side. Sound familiar? :) Being able to close the door is great in our little house, and I have two nicely-sized (south-facing) windows for light.

    HOWEVER, we have no need for a guest room. Everyone in our family lives here already! If you truly do need that room as a guest space, could you perhaps go with a nicer sleeper sofa in there -- seating for you to dream on, a bed when necessary....

    Also, Expedit/cube-style storage is great for making a mess look neater in a semi-public space, just so you know :)

  66. What about a 4th option? Is there another area in that large space near #1 that is a little more out of the way that would keep you near your family and not be visible when people first come down the stairs?

  67. Just what you need another opinion. I craft in a basement next to a window double door/window. I like the natural light however, the deciding factor is being near the family. I used to craft in our bedroom. What a disaster for me being so far away from everyone. However, being right next to the entrance to the basement means I get shoes, backpacks etc in "my spot" and even left on cards in progress at times. I have closed drawer/door storage but it still needs some work.

    I think the decision really is are you going to have guests often enough to justify an empty room for so many weeks out of the year? If you are the hostess with the mostest then I would consider an option 1 & 3 combination as others have suggested with a "pretty desk" near the window and working on trays to transport supplies to and from Option 3 room.
    I'm not OCD but I would have too many issues of sharing a space with the guest room. I'm certain we can all guarantee that brainstorm of creativity when we have someone encamped in there for several weeks.

    My next question is how big is the bonus room? My friend has a lovely house and her basement has a bedroom with an outside window and connecting bathroom and a second bedroom with no outside light. It is such a spacious room you don't notice it doesn't have a window and of course that is great for sleeping.

  68. Wow! It's so much fun to read comments from your opinionated fans. This is actually my second post today. I just wanted to tell you about a site called Just Add Ink and their section called "My Space." I found it tonight, and loved looking at crafting areas. Then I thought of my friend Susan who has a dilemma that might be solved looking at the same photos. Good luck!

  69. In our last house I had a built in wall unit that had cupboards and draws on either side of a large desk that had full length doors (ie. roof to floor)that could be closed to hide the 'mess' when guests came. It looks like your alcove in option 1 has sufficient room to do that on at least one side of the double doors to the outside.

    If this doesn't work for you, I would go with option 3 with lots of OTT type lights and a 'spot' in the option 1 space for taking your photo's in good light.

  70. Wow - so many different ways to look at the "problem" - one I'd love to have, by the way. I admit I haven't read them all, so I hope I'm not repeating someone else.

    As a guest, I feel awkward when my hostess kicks her kid out of their room for me. And, it's uncomfortable sleeping in a child's bed. And the child is unhappy, too. Also, a beautiful room with a lovely view sends a nice message to your guests. So, my opinion is option 1, which allows you to be with your family in a nice, well-lit space.

    Have you considered using a couple of hollow-core doors, cut down high enough to hide the desk, but low enough to allow sunlight to come into the rest of the space, connected with piano hinges? Would make for a nice screen without completely closing off the space. And, you can paint the side facing the open space, and cover the crafty side with batting and fabric for an inspiration screen. Or, make a very simple frame, cover with shoji paper or rice paper to allow sunlight to come through, and hang from the ceiling with eye hooks.

    If you're handy, that is. I'm not, but it sounds nice!

  71. Just my two cents, I would use Option #3 until you have lived in the house for awhile, especially summer so you can see how much the sliding door is used. There are so many things at Ikea you could use as a desk/storage so that your crafting things don't look all messy and out in the open and you can still. I tried turning my guest room into the craft area and we always seemed to be trying to fit a square into a circle when guest arrived and that was a pain and everyone felt disrupted even our guests that they moved our kids out of their rooms.

  72. I think I would go for option 2 though I like 1, too. Don't like option 3 for the same reason I never got an inside cabin on a cruise - I NEED A WINDOW! I have a dedicated room for my "stuff", and wish it was bigger. You can put a day bed in that room, too, which would solve the guest room issue. With the right storage, I think that's your best option. I can't wait to see pictures!!!!

  73. What a blessing, to have to make this decision! I like natural light, so Option 3 is no good to me. The light of Option 1 sounds great, but I would not like the traffic and the visible mess. I would also be concerned about possible water damage from the doors - I know too many people who have had that problem. I am lucky enough to craft in a room on the first floor of our house, so I can be near the family, but still have quiet and privacy if I want it. Can you craft while the tv is on and the kids are playing, or are you doing it when eveyone's at school and work and it's quiet? Trust me, your kids will be grown before you know it. Do you want them and their friends not to hang out at your house because mom is in her open craft studio right in the same room? Or do you want to feel resentful because you can't use your space because your teenage sons and their friends are watching the football game on tv and you want to give them some space? Set yourself up in Room 2 - you will still be near the family and can have your own space from the start. How often do you have guests? Someone suggested a trundle bed, or get a pullout sofa or aerobed. But most of all, don't settle - crafting is an important part of who you are. Good luck!

  74. Great to have options! I would opt for the natural light and space of the 12x14 (opt. 2) If I had to do it over again in my large room, I would ONLY opt for built-ins, custom designed to fit my supplies, thinking ahead for what I anticipate acquiring in the future. Now, that choice is based on the home we had in which I did not have a dedicated craft room. It is also based on the fact that we had overnight guests in our home for an average total of about 20 nights per year. I told my late-husband that I refused to let a perfectly good, large, well-lit room sit there, waiting for someone to come stay in it! In your case, you may have guests 200 days a year. If so, you might have to consider a blend of craft space/guest bedroom. Or, you might consider the small space w/ott lights and built-ins for extreme, efficient storage. Incidentally, the small room (closet) w/o a window, in my humble opinion, is not an option for a guest room. Though the placement, space and lighting is important, I think the most important aspect of a craft room, is the emotion it brings. It needs to be a happy lace wherein you are comfortable, cozy, "at home." Where you can find inspiration, and feel joy that will reflect in your craft. Good luck in deciding what's best for your creative space. :)

  75. did get lots of opinions on your new crafting space. So here's one more. I have a space that also doesn't have any natural light. But since I typically am crafting after dark, I don't find that it bothers me much. I hate to have my craft area open to everything just since I tend to be a slob, with stuff everywhere. Could you set up a smaller crafting area in the bonus room that would allow you to craft with your family but keep all of the supplies/stamps etc. stored in the option 3 room. That would give you the option of a safe place away from light for stamps and paper but crafting in better lighting when the family is down there. Good luck with whatever you choose. Love your blog!

  76. Option #1 and buy a ScrapBox that you can close. Use bookcases that you can add doors to, so you can hide things behind doors that will fade. With the ScrapBox, you can close up the entire work area into an armoire when you need to go public. I think being integrated into family activities would be a huge plus!

  77. I also like Kristie H's opinion - create a workspace in the main room, but store all the supplies in the room with no window. When you need to get away after dark, that room will be fine. When you want to be with the family, you will have a crafting workspace, just bring out the one project in a couple nice baskets - one for the paper and stamps, the other basket as a caddy for your most commonly used tools.

  78. My first thought is, go for one of the areas that has natural light. You can always protect your paper and rubber, but you will never be able to bring sunshine in to a windowless room. (Think about those long Midwest winters.)

    Second thought...Although the little alcove seems like a great place, I would go crazy having everyone coming and going through my space to get in or out of the house. In my opinion, this area would be much better served as a reading nook.

    That being said, I would choose option #2. You get your own space with natural light, and the kids would have fun 'camping out' whenever you have overnight guests. As far as the room being too's craft room can never be too big!

    Can't wait to see what you decide!

  79. What if you use the small, well-lit space and buy a movable divider? They sell some really nice wood ones that you could get to match the wood of the basement--I have one and use it quite frequently to "hide" things! That way, you can have it up so when people come downstairs, they don't see your work area, but you can open the area up when you are relaxing with the fam. :)


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