A Proper Shop

Last year was quite the year for change. I left a really enjoyable part time job in April to pursue upholstery more full time. I had planned to work from my house but I guess you could say the stars aligned and everything fell into place to open a proper upholstery shop with incredible visibility and proximity to my boys’ school.

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The space was chopped up in a weird way with a bunch of curved walls. We had them all taken down and then went to work building a workspace within a space from all salvaged materials. We ended up with killer ship lap walls and cool glass slider doors. As you can see from the last pic, my boys really do come over after school and make themselves at home.

I am just returning my attention to this neglected website so hopefully I will use this site to document the shop transformation in greater detail and add products for sale. Thanks for checking in!

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Surprise Makeover

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Planning an office makeover has many inherent challenges. Business offices generally are constricted by bland, commercial grade construction and utilitarian accoutrements. However . . . the latest office renovation that I pulled off with my team of incredible coworkers was anything but bland and constricted.

I work part time for a wholesale company that designs and produces vinyl expressions and images for craft stores around the country called Decorating Your Life. The owner of the company, Elizabeth, just had a birthday and we all agreed we should surprise her with an office overhaul. Giving her office a facelift was on her radar, but it seemed to linger at the bottom of her priority list. There is no one on Earth quite like Elizabeth. She is energizing, inspiring, funny, smart and the girl you are proud to call friend. Rallying the troops was the easy part. The hardest part, oddly enough, was keeping her away from the office while we finished the work. This girl has energy! Sure enough, she admitted after the reveal that she had planned to come in and get some work done over the weekend. It’s a good thing our team works well together. And quickly, too!

From Door Vert Before

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Far Back Corner Vert before

Desk Far Back Corner after

Door Before

Door after

File Cabinet Corner before

Full Back Wall after

We started the makeover at 4 pm on Friday night, worked til about 7:30 and then came in Saturday morning at 8 am to finish up and surprised her at 11 am! One of the best things about this particular makeover was that because it’s for a design company, we had all the materials and supplies on hand for creating the artwork. We only had about $150 to work with and we were able to source the red leather chair for $110. That left $40 for paint, the little round rug ($10 at Ikea) and fabric for the desk slipcover. We went over budget a smidge, but were able to repurpose most everything else – including the fun pendant light!

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Elizabeth’s husband, Jim, was in on the whole thing with us and helped secretly procure the fun little rug and bring her to the reveal on a moment’s notice. I wish every install could be this fun and this fulfilling. Knowing my “client” as well as I know Elizabeth made many of the design choices easy and my incredible coworkers filled in all the missing design blanks. Literally! Elizabeth was thoroughly touched and we were all thrilled to be able to do this for her. This was definitely one for the books!

Corner Coffee Shop

Today I had a meeting to discuss staging a home in a new housing development. I’ve done a handful of projects already for this client as well as other members of his family. As I walked up the stairs towards his office, I slowly realized that a couple years ago I designed the office space for his father who owns the building. I had completely forgotten! On the bright side, the office really came together well, looked cohesive and the client’s father waxed poetic about how much he loves the colors and comprehensive theme. On the down side, I realized I am historically terrible with remembering to take “after” photos of my projects. Once a project is off my plate, I’m onto the next thing!

Another casualty of this mentality is the coffee shop I designed a YEAR ago. So, although the final-final staging still needs to be done, here’s a look at how it all came together.

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This little coffee shop is tucked into a corner of our church just inside the front doors. It serves as a casual meeting place, an entry point for people who might be nervous about coming to church for the first time and simply another way for people to build community within a large church. It’s a rather small space with strange angles. Plus it needs to be cleared easily when the space primarily acts as a thoroughfare. So my first thought was stacking Tolix Chairs. They were a must!

tolix fieldI really wanted to create a minimal, Scandinavian style vibe with the color scheme and furnishings. European style chairs and bistro tables were the jumping off point. And I went with two shades of grey for the walls. The lighter color reads pretty light on screen, but it’s definitely grey in person.

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IMG_3475I kept the lighting unobtrusive with a mix of glass shaded and industrial vibed brushed aluminum pendants. Another big impact was staining the double doors a rich walnut color. Previously they were a honey colored oak. Personally, I say blech to that. Another must on my list was to incorporate a live edge maple slab for the ordering counter.

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That was one of the highlights of this project — picking out the slab. There’s a woodworking outfit just a hop, skip and jump away from my house in my favorite little quirky town of Edison, WA called Smith and Vallee. I will definitely be back for future projects!

We rounded things out with custom designed, coffee inspired artwork by my husband, Scott.

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Not shown (or photographed yet) are custom designed industrial shelves that incorporate the scraps from the live edge slab. Nothing went to waste! I promise I’ll follow up with that because it really does finish things off. This was one of the most rewarding projects because not only did we land on budget, but the people I worked with are good friends of mine and I get to see it every week at church.

Coffee shop w posters

So here’s hoping that I can turn over a new leaf and consider a project finished when the final “after” photos have been taken! I’ve got more projects to show you. In fact, I’m in the middle of one right now that will show some pretty dramatic changes. Wish me luck!

The Contest

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We’ve just come off a wild ride. As part of a home makeover contest sponsored by our local power company, PSE, we overhauled 5 rooms on a tight budget. With one team being voted off each week by a panel of judges, we advanced to the final round — the kitchen. And then . . . WE WON! We will be posting our own behind the scenes videos on our new website soon. Until then, you can see all the webisodes at www.reenergizedbydesign.com.

A Sudden Burst of Energy

My husband and I are serial remodelers. I know some of you can relate. Both of us are wired as unstructured, artistic/creative types and although it’s fun — we struggle with completing projects. It’s probably because we have 100 projects started and only enough time and $$ to finish, oh, say . . . one.

However, since moving my upholstery studio back home over a year ago, the plan has been to finish out the garage so that I can move all my tools, massive work table and supplies out of my house. It may be a year overdue, but I’m happy to report that last week it happened! What’s more, it happened in exactly one day. Scott took the week off from work, our kids were surprisingly self occupied and it just . . . happened. Sort of. First Scott felt the large window needed to be moved up to match the height of the other windows, so that ate up a day. Then he spent another day’s worth of time framing the walls with 2×4’s.

Scott used a gift card to buy the 2×4’s for framing. He scrounged some salvage wood from his ample supply to frame the windows.
The insulation came from another salvaged stockpile. We’ve had bags of insulation in the garage loft waiting to be used for years.
Not only does the salvaged insulation get used in the walls, but now the garage loft is that much more cleared out.
The plywood was purchased new, but buying exactly what we needed made this project go quickly.
New wall mounted lights were another long-stored supply from Scott’s free collection. The guy is a salvage magnet!

Now that was a good day’s work! I can’t promise I’ll be more prolific with upholstery projects. I’m still at somewhat of a crossroads with my work future. But, when inspiration does strike, it’s nice to know I can commute 10 steps to an organized, dedicated space. It’s probably one of the biggest projects to be crossed off the list and that feels good. Really good.