Smallness most definitely has its limitations for absolute sure, but it also represents a good old workout for the mind when it comes to using space creatively. I mean, ANYBODY can move into a 3,000 sq ft farmhouse and make it look good and I'm not even remotely bitter about it much, but you know, to make a small space work - that takes downright genius.
I was reminded of this fact recently whilst helping a friend see the potential in her own home - I think I emailed her every picture pinterest had to offer (and she's still talking to me), but it was as we were putting new paint on her walls and seeing the light flood in that my little brain started kicking into creative mode for our own home too... it can sometimes take something so very little to have an enormous effect.
The one bone of contention for me is that I don't have enough space for all my crafting things. I used to work off the kitchen table at one point, which meant I could only work when the kids were in bed. And then I moved the fabric shelves and machine upstairs to a corner of our bedroom. It's a tight fit, and for most of the time everything I owned was piled up and up and up. Which meant when I needed to work everything had to be moved. I needed a rooooom I whined (I know, you can't believe I whine). I can't fiiiind anything. I can't work. I have to move everything onto the bed to find spaaaaace. Poor little meeeeee. It was quite a good pity party; the music sucked though.
But those hours in front of pinterest looking for solutions for my friend (oh the sacrifices I make for others...) actually got me thinking about how I use space. There really are some genius solutions by some very talented and resourceful women in the world, and it suddenly hit me how ludicrous my wants were - a room of my own?? Looking around me, no woman I know has a whole room of her own! It is rare and wonderful women who that have that space - usually women with grown up children, or none at all have a room - it is a middle class luxury. But oh what wonderful solutions to small spaces a woman with a mission and a paintbrush can invent!
Reinvigorated by pinterest and having a peruse through my flickr faves I began to plot how I could use this space better. I saw a lot of positives - for one, I actually have a Horn sewing cabinet that I thrifted years ago and it has a lot of storage space built in - as well as the ability to raise and lower the sewing machine out of sight after use so I can use the table for other things, like painting or writing, say. It is slightly fugly. The inner compartments are avocado - and you know what matches with avocado, don't you? That's right! Not one damn thing. But I knew I could breathe life into the cabinet by at least painting it.
I also needed to let go. This is a lesson I learned whilst reworking the classroom space that we are so blessed to have. Things had to go. Ideas, hopes and material possessions.
I began to see space in terms of all dimensions and not just the horizontal - I wasn't making use of all the vertical space - there was scope that I wasn't using. Hidden spaces - places I hadn't even thought of AS space - inside cupboards for example.
So, I collected all the inspiring studio spaces I could find onto one board, and between that and my flickr faves and beautiful images everywhere I am starting to slowly to work some new ideas into this old space. It means furniture rearranging, painting, buying a little bit of extra storage and falling in love with IKEA - I realise just why they've got their reputation - simple, elegant solutions with great design. And, er, cheap.
I've barely started, but I hope if I ever pull it off I can finally use this space to work in, and that instead of bemoaning the fact that I have to work in the corner of my bedroom, I will instead see the bonus of having a bed in my studio.