How to Organize an Art Studio for Two

Here's a twist I wasn't expecting:  As I set about turning my older (college age) daughter's room into a sewing and craft studio, my younger daughter has informed me she not only wants to share it, she wants to have a say in how we arrange it.

donna downey art studio
Donna Downey balances mixed-media with fabric in
her art studio. From Studios Spring 2013

Photo by Donna Downey.

This should probably not come as a surprise. Meredith not only sews, she is used to the well-organized and relatively spacious studio of The Stitchers' Academy, where she takes lessons. Meri also inherited my passion for home design.

The trouble is, we have different art studio needs. Meredith sews garments, so she wants a wide cutting table, a wall full of threads, and room for a mannequin.

I consider myself a craft sewer. I just need a counter for a small cutting mat and rotary cutter, a table for working on designs, and a system for keeping bins of color-coordinated fat quarters and fabric scraps from taking over the room.

Also, if Meredith had her way, we'd hit IKEA and haul home enough furniture and shelving to outfit the whole room afresh. I'm more into re-purposing. It doesn't matter if it all matches.

Annabel Wrigley & Alessandra Gutierrez’s Confetti art Studio
Annabel Wrigley & Alessandra Gutierrez’s
Confetti Studio. Featured in Studios Spring 2013
Photo by Kristen Gardner.
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So, we have been spending a lot of time with old and new issues of Studios magazine (plus Inside the Creative Studio, of course!) to see if we can find common ground that fits the budget and the room dimensions.

I think Meredith would be very happy in the Annabel Wrigley & Alessandra Gutierrez's Confetti Studio. She'd love the open spaces and uniform cubby storage.

Annabel and Alessandra teach classes and workshops out of their studio, so they teamed up to be able to spread out and expand their creative ventures. However, their studio is a commercial enterprise. We don't have that kind of space.

Donna Downey's mixed-media approach to her art studio appeals to me. Donna doesn't have to share, but she makes the most of her home studio space anyway, with an L-shaped countertop that hugs two walls. By keeping the storage cabinets and counter along those two walls, she has plenty of room for a large center table/island. I think that might work for me and Meredith.

I have to say, there is no way I could keep my fabrics lined up on clips like Donna doesbut it looks really cool. I tend to prefer a more casual approach, like Pauline Boyd's open shelving full of folded fabric. It's not fancy, but it's functional and still allows you to see what you have.

pauline boyd art studio
Pauline Boyd's piles of folded fabric on open-shelving aligns with my home studio approach.
Photo by Christopher Heynen.

I think once Meredith sees the Spring 2013 issue of Studios, she'll find lots of ideas we can agree on for our art studio design. If not, well, she leaves for college herself in two years.

P.S. What are your thoughts on sharing a studio with my daughter? Any suggestions for making our space efficient for both of us? Share them below.

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