I see pictures of many quilter's studios, and drool. They are in pretty rooms, with good light, heat, windows, rugs, and appropriate cabinets and things for storage, etc. Mine?...nope. I was lucky to get access to the basement 4 years ago. My kids would have much preferred having it as a play space. Gradually, I have taken more and more of it, claiming it as my own, and little by little, the area is getting neater and neater. I'll never have windows or heat -- but in all seriousness it doesn't get that cold even in the dead of winter.
I could only find a couple of "before" pictures, and these were taken about a year ago. You can see in the first one where I was priming the walls for painting them. The battleship gray concrete was so dank and dismal looking. I was doing what I could to increase the brightness, to make it more like a work room and less like a concrete cell.
I don't mind the pre-school foam mats on the floor. They keep it warmer, and soft under foot. It might be nicer if they were all one color, but the only way they come like that is if they are all brown or all gray. No thanks. Crayola colors, here I come. The shot below shows how my thread was stored...these June Tailor thread cone racks, strung together with carabeaners and hung with chains. Kinda tacky, agreed, but the function was there. I'm telling you, the concrete walls limit everything. It is very hard to get anything attached to concrete. There's my old (small) sewing machine, on the wooden table, with a desk we no longer have next to it for extra space. I also had another 30"x6' table behind these where the cutting mat lived. It was not enough storage or work space and honestly, it looked hideous. It was a mis-match of epic proportions. Fortunately, an ugly studio didn't limit my ability to quilt beautiful quilts.
Last winter, I painted the walls bright yellow, and got matching yellow sheers to cover all of our personal storage areas. I just wanted to see my space. I'm by no means a fan of yellow, if fact, I loathe yellow. Don't wear it, don't sew with it, and definitely don't paint the walls upstairs yellow. But here it was for reflecting the light.
Flash forward a year or so. This panorama which may be hard to view shows where I am now. There are subtle improvements, not the least of which are less clutter, and more space.
This is such a drastic improvement over the previous crappy system, which knocked off cones if you inadvertently bumped the racks! But, I kid you not, it took my husband 6-8 hours to predrill the holes in the concrete wall for those 4 furring strips! I don't have the heart to tell him I need 2 more racks (and they can't go higher or I can't reach them!).
A couple weeks ago, I drafted plans and bought the lumber for my husband to make me an ironing table. I even had Lowe's cut the plywood to the right sizes to save him time. I found the canvas at Mardens for a whopping $2 per yard, or I might have searched for something more matchy for my studio. Last weekend, he was persuaded to make the table for me. It will eventually get a shelf on that lower area, but I haven't sanded the wood yet.
All of my small scraps are in the little tubs that are on this (above) shelf). I used to use the scraps quite a bit, and wonder how much they will be used. Sometimes it is hard to part with fabrics that you like. The unit of drawers on the top of the shelf is also new. It arrived yesterday. It is really for storing screws and hardware, but I am using it for bobbins. Perfect! Gone is the cardboard box that held 30 bags of bobbins, which made finding the right color a challenge.
One area I still lack is a design wall. Right now, a quilt I am pondering lays on the floor in pieces. I need to investigate hot-gluing a flannel-backed table cloth onto the concrete wall. My competition quilts are all layed out on the insulation board that I block on. Within a couple days the last of these will be on their way to the September shows.