By Erin Huffstetler | 05/14/2019 | 8 Comments
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18 months ago we moved our office into a little cottage in our backyard. I shared pictures of the space before we moved in, and since then, I’ve done a couple garden updates, but I know what you’ve really been waiting for is an update on the interior.
And I finally have one for you.
Moving into our new office proved to be a much longer process than we expected. It takes a lot of tools and equipment to do what we do, and squeezing all that into a 936-square foot office space was a challenge. Finding the time to do it was even more challenging. But last weekend, we finally managed to turn our hot mess of an office into a functional space, and we couldn’t be happier with the transformation.
Let me show you around.
Our teeny tiny cottage has a rather large living room (it’s actually bigger than the one in our house), and we’re using it as a flexible space. It contains two desks (one for each of us), a couple work tables and a futon (which allows it to double as a guest space).
We bought the futon on clearance last December. Since the fireplace isn’t operational, we decided to place it in front of the fireplace. The throw pillows came from various thrift stores. I’m always on the lookout for decorative pillows with down inserts. We freeze them for 48 hours before we use them, and they’re as good as new.
All of the artwork in our office features our town, including the painting on the mantle.
It was done by a local high school student. I purchased it at an art show a couple weeks ago for $50. That’s our town’s library and courthouse at the bottom.
I’m currently using the built-in shelf next to my desk to store projects that are in progress.
The paintings at the top are original floral or landscape paintings that I’ve picked up at thrift stores.
The leather ottoman sitting in front of the window came from an estate sale last summer.
We bought two matching standing desks last December, when they were deeply discounted. Both of our desk chairs came from curb piles. I scored this one when the local college kids moved out a couple years ago. It’s a Herman Miller chair that originally retailed for over $1,000! It had a couple broken pieces when we got it, but my husband ordered replacement parts and fixed it.
To maximize our work space, we placed a counter-height work bench between our two desks. We use the space underneath it to store some of our finished inventory. I plan to make a skirt for it at some point.
The large “art” that hangs between our desks is actually a collection of promotional yard sticks from area businesses (many of which are now defunct). We look for them when we’re out yard saling and estate saling. We still have about half the frame to fill.
We used a set of bi-fold doors that we rescued from a curb pile to create a partition (I’ll show you what’s on the other side of it in a minute).
The art hanging on the wall is a blown up copy of an advertisement that ran in our local paper (many years ago) to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the ice and coal plant. Aaron’s grandfather worked there, and is featured in the ad.
Here’s what’s on the other side of that partition. It’s a work station that we use to make our aromatherapy inhalers, tub teas, heating pads and a few other things that we sell.
Both the farm table and the cubbies came from curb piles.
We use the closet next to that work station to hold our craft show stuff — tents, display pieces, etc.
The TV was a recent curb find. Aaron spotted it sitting at the curb with a “free” sign when he was taking the girls to school.
The picture hanging above it is a photo of a horse and cart from Huffstetler Mill (which used to be within walking distance of our house). I had it printed and mounted on a wood block during a 75% off Walgreens sale. I also had it printed on our Christmas cards for next year.
The pier mirror in the front hall is original to the house. The shuttered cabinet and magnet board next to it are some of our craft show displays.
There’s a little postage stamp-sized dining room to the right of the side door, but we get a lot of use out of it.
We pulled the little dining room table out of a curb pile a few weeks ago. It’s the perfect size for the space. The hutch to the right of it is another one of our craft show displays.
Space is at a premium in our little office, so our generator is currently housed under the table. And that’s a wax melter on top of the table, in case you’re wondering. I made a special trip to Georgia yesterday to pick it up. Someone on Facebook Marketplace was selling it for 90% off the regular retail.
The dining room is also home to my lighting studio. A photographer gave me the light box and three of the photo lights for free. The rest of my photo lights came from yard sales. Proof you really can find anything at a yard sale.
The copper light fixture was an anniversary gift from my husband. I spotted it at Ross (but didn’t buy it). He surprised me with it several months later.
And just to help you visualize how the dining room fits in with the overall space, here’s a long view of the dining room and living room.
The kitchen is just off the dining room. Here’s the view when you enter. We found the little apartment-size stove at a Habitat ReStore. The kitchen is too small for a regular-size stove, but this one is a perfect fit.
That’s another wax melter sitting by the back door.
The fridge is also pint-sized. We found it at another thrift store, and used a coupon to save even more.
This side of the kitchen is equipped with kitchen essentials, like dishes, drinking glasses and silverware. It’s also equipped with serving pieces for parties – serving spoons, tongs, that sort of stuff. Since we like to throw a lot of backyard parties and movie nights, I’ve been working on stocking it with everything we might need for a party. Sometimes it’s just nice to not have everyone in the house.
I got the Kitchenaid mixer on the counter for free after Shop Your Way rewards. It was one of my last big scores before our local Sears closed.
I use the kitchen pantry to store my wax supplies. Quite a few of the products that I make contain wax, so it’s nice to finally have a dedicated storage space for all my molds, pouring pots, waxes, etc.
Okay, now that you’ve seen the kitchen, I have one more space to show you: my studio. If you ask me, that’s the best part (which is why I’ve saved it for last).
Here’s a peek into my studio from the hallway. Squeezing all my craft supplies into this space was no small feat. The room has eight foot ceilings, so I stacked stuff all the way to the ceiling, and added a step stool to keep everything within easy reach.
Since I use my supplies constantly, I tried to make things easy to get to and easy to put away.
All of my fabric, for example, is organized by fabric and type.
These mail cubbies were a game-changer when I got them. They hold all of my product labels, as well as all the different paper stocks that I use. It came from Habitat.
When the door to the room was open it always got in the way of the closet door (and vice versa), so Aaron removed the closet door, and I replaced it with a shower curtain on a tension rod. This hides the clutter in the closet (all my glass containers for making candles, tub tea, solar lights, etc.), and makes everything more accessible. I’m thinking about having him remove the door to the room, too. If we do, we’ll store it in the attic, so we can add it back later, if we want to.
See that bun rack sitting next to my workbench? I use it to store my shower steamers and bath bombs while they’re drying.
Now, let’s flip over to the right side of my studio; it’s the work space portion of the room.
I do most of my crafting at this long, maple table that I bought at a yard sale for $5. I still can’t believe that’s all I paid for it. It’s super sturdy, and has lots of space for me to spread out.
I have a couple tall IKEA stools on this side of the table (purchased at a flea market), and a couple more stools on the other side (purchased at a thrift store).
We partner with a local recycling coalition to collect materials that we can recycle and reuse in our work. Old candles are one of the things that we collect (to make the pine cone fire starters that we sell), and that’s what you see in these plastic bins. We sort all the candles we receive by color to make them easy to use.
These shelves behind my work table were a super lucky curb find. They go all the way to the ceiling, and hold tons of stuff, including all my shower steamer supplies, and Reader’s Digests covers (something else we collect and reuse).
In addition to fabric, the back wall of my studio also has my big paper cutter and a cabinet filled with craft supplies ($20 at a yard sale).
I used my label maker to label what’s in each drawer, so everything will be easy to find and put back. This drawer is full of string.
This one holds cutting tools.
This one holds craft punches. And well, I think you get the idea.
I still need to de-granny the bathroom, so I’ll save those pictures for another day, and I think I’ll save our shipping/inventory room for another day, too. But, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have finally gotten to take you guys on a tour of the office.
Our business has grown and changed a lot in recent years, so I plan to do a post soon to explain how we make our living.