Play Space

Whether you own a shop, create a product, produce/design events or displays, you need to give yourself room to create. Create tangible things or just ideas, it doesn't matter really....the objective is to build a playground and then let your imagination run rampant in it. It needn't be huge - let me show you my office/studio, which is only an eight by ten room with a two and a half foot former-closet-space: Above is the view from the doorway. My husband is a dreamboat for building all of the shelves, cubbies, desks, and cabinets for me. That enamel top table is something I've had since my old mural-painting days - it's lightweight and travels well, and the top is easy to clean.

One wall is covered in bulletin boards (which are covered in cool papers and fabrics), and I use them as Inspiration Boards for the projects I am working on. Top right is an event for the Auction of Washington Wines in August, and since I took this photo I have filled up two more: One is a redesign of a winery in eastern Washington, the other is decor for a friends' wedding in July. I pin up colors, fabrics, photos, elements that spark my interest, and then as I progress in planning the project, I can discard what doesn't work and use the final choices to create a style sheet by gluing it all onto posterboard.

Yep, that's a chandelier painted green! I saw this idea on a blog belonging to Heather Bailey, fabric designer and creative spirit extraordinaire, and since I already had the chandelier I grabbed it and sprayed it Kermit Green for the perfect 'frou frou' touch in my office. A few added crystal beads and strands, ribbons, and a mini green velvet bird nestles into one of my NeSts make it 'over the top' perfect. Yes, my husband rolled his eyes when he saw it. But it's not just about working space & storage in here - it's about inspiration. I added crazy touches just to catch my eye and make me smile, like this:

Sure, it's storage - but it looks like candy (admittedly, some of it IS candy - a girl has to keep her strength up when creating). I also dressed my wire mannequin (you may remember seeing her as 'Miss Holly Daze' in my holiday seminar photos) in a glamorous pink silk ballgown...ummmm...actually swaths of fabric, since I hate sewing....and gave her a head of giant roses. It's wacky, yes, okay, I admit it. But remember my motto: 'It's not called Dis-WORK, it's called Dis-PLAY!' The black sweater on the back of the chair was my grandmothers', and having it there is like having her peer over my shoulder to see what I'm 'up to'....which she did ALOT!

There IS serious storage in there -

Fab shelving from IKEA, that I found on Craigs List for 75 bucks (and then we had to transport assembled and remove the office door to fit into the room...but it's perfect!) This holds works in process, reference books, office supplies, etc.

And these cubbies, which I have been hauling around since 1989, when I bought them at a garage sale in Truckee/Tahoe for ten bucks. They used to hold all of my magazines, now they hold boxes of small things. They are mounted to the wall in the closet, and a desktop is mounted to the bottom of them...perfect for the small parts of projects. Along with the other desktops and the enamel table, I can simultaneously work on three or four projects....and then there is the seven-foot-long dining room table and the three foot diameter library table and the four foot square kitchen island table.....I'm like a hurricane when I get going!
So my advice to you is, take a bit of time and find a space that you can organize and spiff up, and let yourself get creative. Amazing things happen - to us AND to our businesses - when we allow ourselves to think without limits!

Edited to add: Someone just emailed to ask me where all my STUFF is for displays & event decor?! All of the furniture, bikes, fabrics, silk flowers, vases, containers, baskets, trellises, christmas trees & ornaments, crates, barrels, boxes, silver champagne stands, and other props that I use are stored up in the attic, in my section of the garage, and some are stored at client's locations. No WAY all of that (over 50 Rubbermaid containers plus bagged trees) would ever fit in my office!


  1. Wow what a great space. It makes me miss my old display office. It is those great quirky things, like the smily face that always made me remember why I liked the job so much.

  2. Wow, Deb what a fantastic play space. Thank you for sharing it with us. Clarice

  3. Love the use of space and your displays! I am dreaming of having my creative space look like that soon. I even have the same Ikea shelf ALSO found on Craigslist and ALSO paid $75 bucks! Too funny! *Risa

  4. just passing threw,come over for a visit

  5. wow your world is such a beautiful place.

  6. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Loved the inspiration! Think I will have a wall of bulletin boards so I can juggle multiple projects (as usual!). We creative minds must keep each other chugging along, but it sure is fun getting lost in the details! Eliza