Welcome to my Home Studio!
Hello All! In this post, I’m going to give you all a short tour of my tiny lingerie and leather harness-making home studio! Like many indie designers in NYC, I work out of my home, which in this case is a tiny one room apartment. My “studio” consists of a small corner of my living room near the windows, approximately 10” long by 4” wide.
Let’s start at the entrance.
Once you step past my front door and take a few steps in, you’ll be greeted with this view.
The Room That is Not the Bedroom or the Bathroom
This area functions as my living room, kitchen, studio, and sample storage. As you can see, my actual studio area consists of a small strip of space against the window, fenced off from the rest of the living space with white grids.
I share my home with my two bunny overlords who live cage free. Rabbits explore the world by chewing and nibbling and nomming everything they can reach. For both their safety and my sanity, I’ve blocked off anything that shouldn’t be chewed, or could hurt them if ingested, which includes my leathers, electrical cords and anything to do with my craft. One of the upper grids in this fence can swing open and closed with a little ziptied hinge. It’s a little door so that I can easily step in and out of the area.
Have I tripped over it and nearly brought the whole thing crashing down? Yes. So, so many times. PS these modular grids are super cheap and can be used for EVERYTHING. You can get them on Amazon, Target, Wal-mart, K-mart, etc.
The Actual Work Area!
In my work area sits one of my keys to being able to work efficiently in this small home studio: BOXES AND SHELVES. I cannot stress how important organization becomes when you don’t have the room to spread out. I have multiple boxes and shelves and drawers and boxes within cabinets that I stuff full of all the things I need.
Against the wall underneath the window, I have a couple of collapsible fabric drawers in these cheap white cubbies – in them I have various hardware pieces, fabrics, and one drawer that holds only leather scraps.
Next to that sits a smaller open cubby that holds my elastics. The cubbies next to it hold a lot of my branding materials – my logo charms, hang tags, and business cards.
And of course, here lies my actual work table! It’s a simple wooden kitchen table I inherited from a roommate years ago. I added this measuring tape to the edge which has proven to be a super helpful thing to have. Also it faces the television because of course I need entertainment while I’m working! I plow through a lot of movies and tv series like this.
On top of this table, I have EVEN MORE DRAWERS. This components/craft organizer that I got from Michael’s Arts and Crafts holds four separate plastic containers. I have my most used hardware pieces in here, such as buckles and rings, organized by hardware color.
Sitting above that is this other little organizer thingy whose name I forget. I put my rivets in here, separated by color and size. The individual boxes flip open and can be taken out. Also handy when you’re running out of rivets and frantically looking for a cap piece so you need to dump the whole thing out to feverishly paw through it.
The next KEY COMPONENT of me not trashing everything in a rage when I can’t find a tool I need are these amazing PEG BOARDS! /jazz hands I’m sure most of you have seen/heard of these before, they’re quite commonly used to store bigger tools like drills, saws, etc. Maybe you know some people who have something like this in the garage (those lucky bastards, having a garage). I purchased a more affordable, smaller kit that came with these two separate peg boards and a handful of the hooks and hangers. They weren’t quite enough for everything I had so I bought another variety pack of the hooks and hangers. It’s GLORIOUS. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to create when all your tools are in easy reach, and not hidden in a drawer.
And here’s my beloved green machine (hand press for setting rivets, grommets, etc)! I could never have created all the designs I have if I hadn’t invested in this gift from the gods. It sets rivets and grommets super easily and without all the noise that comes with the hand setting tools which requires a hammer.
Underneath the table I have a cheap plastic drawer system on wheels filled with yet MORE stuff, and a folder filing box which I use for my patterns. Unfortunately this does all sit right next to my radiator. So far, nothing’s burst into flame or melted so HERE’S HOPING NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE. Also I don’t think I have a fire extinguisher? Wait, should I have one?
On the other wall, opposite the wall my table faces, I have another two big cabinets. Most of my packing supplies sits on the open shelves on top. The bottom shelves and boxes contain more miscellaneous bits and bobs, more fabrics, books, and my collection of leather paints, dyes and other leather working solutions. At the very bottom shelves sit my sewing machines! These happen to be the biggest compartments and the machines have the dual purpose of weighing these tall cabinets down. I live in a very old building so time has warped the floors and they are no longer fully level. I have this irrational (or rational?) fear that things will topple over and crush me.
See this thing on the floor? This is my cutting area! It’s actually a huge pain in the ass because I have to crouch to cut all my leather and that gets pretty tiring pretty fast. Sadly, I don’t have a flat surface big enough for the large rolls of leather I work with so I have to make do. My dream studio will have at least two big tables for me to work on, one to cut leather and another to piece my designs together. And then ideally I’ll have two industrial sewing machines. Ahh just imagine. THE DREEEAAM.
Hanging on the wall by the window are actually a couple of rotating towel bars from Ikea. I use this to hold strips of leather that I cut and will use in the future. They’re all slip tied together with plastic twins. This allows me to keep the strips relatively straight and in good condition (ie not being crumpled and tangled together in a box). I tend to hold onto all strips over 1” in length because I’ll always have a use for them. Even the tiny strips can be used to make belt loops and belt keepers. I hope this doesn’t fall out of my wall. IT’S PROBABLY FINE.
And of course we can’t forget my trusty lady – my dress form! I’ve had her since sophomore or junior yearly college. I think she cost upwards of $650 and boy, that was painful for my parents to pay at the time (thanks Mom and Dad!). I drape all my designs on her and photograph 95% of my completed pieces on her as well. She’s a bit old and messy now but still does the job! Although sometimes when I extend her up and make her taller she’ll slowly slide back down. But age gets to us all. Not me though. I plan to stay young forever even if that means consuming the blood of young nubile men and women.
Beyond my working space is my sample rack with this awesome tension garment rack that I found on Amazon. I used to have a rolling rack but the base of it took up too much room and looked pretty ugly. This happens to match my home decor AND it’s slim AND it’s held up so far (ie hasn’t fallen onto my fat head yet). I’m counting that as a win.
The last thing before wrapping up – I’ve got this big drum container that holds all my currently-being-used leather. What you see here consists of only a small fraction of the leathers I actually own; the rest of them are hidden underneath my bed.
Maybe next time I’ll show you guys the rest of my apartment so you can see how I organize all the shit I have, and still have a functioning, livable space. I’m actually pretty proud of it!
Anyway, I hope this has been an interesting insight for you! This tiny home studio is where all the magic happens.
How would you guys describe your working areas? Are you creatively cluttered? Is everything cleaned and shined within an inch of its life? I want to know!