Sunday, April 24, 2016

Moving on up: My new attic studio

We recently had our attic insulated and sheet-rocked, without a clear plan for how best to use the space. The second floor of our story-and-a-half 1920s-era bungalow was about 2/3 (kind of) finished and 1/3 attic, and our main goal was to get the whole upstairs properly insulated, which has been accomplished. We certainly could have, at that point, just used the attic part for storage, as attics traditionally are.

The attic/future studio in January: insulated, sheetrocked, and painted a pale peachy beige. The window looks east; the light shining on the wall at left is from the skylight.

But we have a roomy dry basement with plenty of space for storage in addition to other uses, and the attic has an east-facing window overlooking our backyard, so we thought there must be something we could use the room for, taking advantage of the pleasant view. With that vague idea in mind, we had a skylight added on the south slant, to let in more natural light and provide a view of the southern sky at night.

But the door leading into this space is smaller than standard size, and because of the intersecting ceiling angles, there wasn't really a way to make it much larger. (For a thousand dollars or so, we could have had it made slightly larger, but still not standard.)

Above the doorway leading into the attic (before the new insulation and other work), viewed from inside the attic. Not much room to expand!

That isn't a problem for me at 5'4" tall, and hubby suggested that the room could become my office and studio, potentially replacing two separate spaces I was using, neither of which was quite working out for me. 

You may be surprised that it took a little persuading for me to agree to it. I actually thought the space was potentially too nice to be all mine. I got over it, though. 

We replaced the leaky double-hung window on the east with a slightly bigger casement from Marvin windows, with grillwork mimicking the original. 

Tres checks out the view from the new larger attic-studio window.

We splurged on hardwood floors made by Wood from the Hood from reclaimed elm trees that had been removed from our city boulevards. Once the finish was cured on the floors, Craig started moving my things up from the basement single-handedly, since my gimpy knees meant I would have posed more of a hazard than help. He was pretty stiff the next day!

Along the north wall it's an office, with my desk and two rather large printers. A wide low filing cabinet (not yet assembled in the photo below) doubles as a printer stand for the Canon laser printer, while the Epson sits atop a three-shelf bookcase that holds most of my printer paper and card stock. The ledge to the left, where the Canon sits in this photo, will eventually become my photo booth corner. 

Attic office taking shape. Filing cabinet/printer stand waiting to be assembled.

The mix of free-standing small storage units directly under the skylight divides that side of the room into two spaces, with lots of cubbies and shelves for keeping relevant supplies readily at hand. And, of course, a cat shelf on top, directly under the skylight. It wouldn't really be a good spot to keep anything prone to fading anyway.

The corner to the left has my work table, with a couple of lamps on the table top, for drawing, painting, and book and card making, with Phinney overseeing the operations. 

To the right of the skylight is my order fulfillment area, a kind of writing desk adapted from a small table. And shelves for  more paper, including tabloid size, and some mailing supplies. 

The tortie, Molly, is actually a very lightweight cat (we call her a cream puff); the shelf was already bowed in the middle.

A second small table facing this one holds my paper cutter and a few random old books to provide material for various projects. (That's a paper shredder  under the table, with a bag for the scraps, because you're not supposed to put shredded paper loose in the recycling bin.)

One of the cubbies, which is open at the back, will be left empty to accommodate cats who like to have their little secret passageways.

Molly demonstrates the cubby passageway ...

... and back through the other way
Of course, when I really want to get some work done, I usually have to shoo the cats out and shut the door.  

Out you go, Tres.
I still have a lot of organizing to do, figuring out where to put the rest of my stuff and moving (some) things around —small things, not furniture.  The card rack now sits on a different spot (where the red dictionary sits in this photo), and the photo corner will be painted a different color for a better background (a grayish green works well for many things, I have learned). 

But it's such a pleasure to be in this space that I don't mind taking my time organizing and setting up. And I have a nice amount of open floor space for my yoga and Feldenkrais practice, which I really need to get back to!


  1. What a lovely space you created! So nice to have an office/craft room all your own where you can spread out and work or just enjoy the peace and quiet....and with a view! Love the floors!!

    1. Thank you, Rosemary. I am enjoying the space and hoping that it will help me to be more productive!


Thanks for reading, and for sharing your thoughts.