One of the biggest goals I had for moving to Hawaii was to give my husband the time and head space to think about what comes next for him. When I transitioned away from being an engineer in 2014 and started trying to find my footing as a professional quilter, he gave me the grace, time, and space to evolve into what works for me, which currently looks like mornings spent technical editing and afternoons spent quilting or working on my own quilt patterns. After about a year in Hawaii, he had a very clear vision about what he wanted to do next, and living on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was not going to be in alignment with his new vision. We spent the first 6 months of this year looking at real estate in several ideal locations and putting in bids on numerous different properties. If you didn’t realize it: the real estate market at the beginning of 2022 was bonkers!
After several disappointing months of trying to find an existing home near family, we resigned ourselves to the reality that we were going to need to build what we wanted. So we reached out to some friends who had lived in a unique living arrangement like we had been trying to find… and in the end we ended up purchasing their combined hangar/apartment from them. It definitely wasn’t what we thought was going to happen, but after nothing working out smoothly, this agreement between friends has been easy and it has felt like it was always meant to be.
So my husband and I left the Big Island of Hawaii in mid July, and after a lovely week spent visiting with family that we hadn’t seen in over 2.5 years, we have been working hard to clean up, clear out, and settle into our new space. My husband will have over 3,000 square feet of shop space to set up his new venture, and we have about a 1,600 square foot apartment which provides me with a lovely new sewing studio to outfit. I had hoped to give you a tour of my new studio today, but the sea container with our household items was delayed by a week, so instead you get to see Part 1 today. Hopefully we can work hard over the weekend unloading the sea container (that arrived just after noon on Thursday, a few hours ago as I am writing this post), so that I can share more progress next week.
The room that I am going to use as my sewing studio was previously used as a room for two boys. If there is anyone near Tehachapi, California, who could use bunk beds (mattresses, sheets, and lovely down duvets are included), let me know!!
The studio is on the second floor, and the room has a low ceiling. It slants from a little over 7 feet tall to a little over 6 feet tall. It has one high window on the south facing wall, and I think it will provide nice light.
To maximize the light in the space, the first thing we did was paint the walls and ceiling bright white. Well, after we disassembled the bunk beds and got them out of the room, of course. Then, after painting, we pulled up the carpet and installed a light gray laminate flooring. I want the room to be as light as possible! I do have an area rug on order that will tuck behind the cabinet you can see in this photo.
Speaking of the cabinet, that is a kitchen cart that I will use as the base for my ironing board. The rolling cart I had my ironing board on in Hawaii was not going to survive another move in a sea container. My husband and I worked on its caster wheels several times a month. This time, I opted for a sturdier base that also will provide me with a bit more storage. When I need to baste a quilt, I’ll simply rotate the cabinet / ironing board 90 degrees to tuck against the wall.
As you walk into my studio, this is the view of the sewing side. We will be installing a design wall on the wall to the right of the fabric shelves. And my husband and I will be building a table for my sewing machine and cutting station along the south wall under the window, tucked into the open corner you can see in the photo above.
The other side of my studio is my office. I spend a lot of time working as a technical editor, and I am really happy with this desk and office arrangement. All of the furniture (except for the office chair) were part of our purchase, and it has been great moving the furnishings around to make the space work the best for us. I am excited about the large printer (super helpful for testing out templates) and the expanded monitor. I did opt to purchase a fairly high end ergonomic office chair. I have a lot of lower back pain due to a wakeboarding injury I suffered as a teenager (oops), and the older I get the more attention I’m paying to my posture!
One of the other things that I am very excited about is having an in-office tea station! While it’s a bit warm for me to want tea in the mornings right now, it won’t be long before the weather cools and I’ll be happy to have my own station set up to make my morning tea in my office. For now, it’s a great way for me to remain hydrated.
The final photo is a view looking in from the doorway. This last photo should clearly show the wall under the window where we will be making the 8 foot long combined sewing table and cutting station. I have asked my husband for help recessing my sewing machine into the table for years, and I think we are finally going to give it a try. So wish us luck on that build over the next week or so. I’ve missed having access to my sewing machine, so now that it’s here, I’m going to be eager to get things loaded to brighten up the space and start sewing again!