For months, I’ve been using my home office as studio/office with a few inconveniences. It had rug in it. This is nice on feet but not so great for easy the anxiety of a vibrant abstract artist who likes a clean office. I didn’t have a sink in the room to wash up, hence I had to run to the guest bathroom to rinse brushes and clean off my hands. There was no room to do artistic upholstery and even if there were, I cringed at the thought of the very likely possibility of stepping on tacks and staples hidden in the rug waiting to attack my tender tootsies. Over time, I started to think about creating a proper studio space and a school break coming up. Seemed like great timing. And indeed it was!
Spring break was approaching and I wanted to use my time wisely. While others were galavanting, I was gazing at my garage. This is where I had been prepping my chairs, easy to clean up and I didn’t worry about much. However, the lighting was poor and the prep space limited. I called up my dear friend who was a carpenter in addition to being an artist and shepherdess. (Yes, she raises sheep. Farmer Dell, if you’d like to look her up). We talked, she came over and measured up. Adding a window, work bench, finishing up the space was all discussed. None of it sat right. I couldn’t add a sink. The cost was higher than Mr. Budget recommended. We have winter here. The garage is not heated. Call me a Princess (please do), but it’s difficult to use tools with frozen fingers.
As Julia and I talked more, I realized that I didn’t want to work in my garage and Princess Obvious began to gaze in the castle for a more idealistic and realistic solution. Suddenly, the guest room became the perfect solution. Rip out the rug, add an art friendly floor, repaint and convert my office back into a spare room. It backs onto the guest bathroom, so I could add an art sink.
Renovations began shortly, and miracles began to happen. In my heart, I knew that I wanted this room to be uniquely suited for all the art that I do: music, painting, furniture, jewelry. A unified, beauty filled space that beckoned me to create. Lighting was important. What else would a Princess want more than a chandelier? The perfect one appeared on the local buy and sell just when I went to look for it. Miraculous provision. I needed an art sink but no matter where I looked, the laundry tubs just didn’t fit the aesthetic. My plumber recommended a local place and when I went to look, there was one choice. The perfect art sink, deep and beautiful, with solid wood and perfect wood grain and stain colour. It was on a ridiculous clearance. Another providential purchase. I had to make decisions on flooring and I knew I didn’t want grey or beige. I wanted blue. And a certain colour of blue. I already know what you’re thinking – why couldn’t you just do the easy thing. I’ll answer that by simply saying that I knew that every detail was important. I had to partner with the Holy Spirit on every step and in my heart, I knew it had to be blue. Holy Spirit blue. I received a tip on a great local company who reclaims materials. There was my Holy Spirit blue vinyl flooring. The paint on the wall had names that befit this new beauteous space.
Owning My Own Space
What I haven’t told you is that I shoved everything from the guest room into the other two rooms. I was going to set up the guest room – essentially just do a quick switch. More than one of my friends suggested I take over both rooms. I shuddered. That was daring, bold, unthinkable.
I own my home. Therefore, I own the space. I have both the responsibility and freedom to do what I wish with it. So why didn’t I think of creating a studio and an office space both?
I was hanging on to a hope that I had to let go. I had a purpose for that guest room that I needed to release. After having a heart to heart with the Lord, I knew that I had to own my own space. In order to embrace the new, you have to let go of the old. So I took a deep breath and started to see both spaces in a new way. The new rose lavender inspired studio as my creative space. The office as my business and education space.
My decision was easier when I saw how much I had crammed into my office studio. Who made that mess? Who kept all of that unnecessary stuff? Oh yes, it was me and it was time to step into the new season.
A Place for Everything
At the right pace, the new studio was ready to go. One of the most special pieces that went into this space was my Mom’s sewing desk. For years, she sewed baby blankets and gave them away to moms she knew, moms she didn’t know, and moms in crisis with a generosity of love that blessed everyone around her. Last year, as her health declined, she stopped sewing. My Dad gave me the desk, which I didn’t want at first. I used to spread my fabric on when I upholstered, but it really didn’t work in my garage and I didn’t use it to its full potential.
When I looked at what I needed in my office, I realized that the current table was too wide and impractical to keep using. I needed something else and I took a little trip to the garage. I measured mom’s sewing desk up and it was perfect. Once again, provision, well in advance of need. I felt so ashamed at how I had initially responded to receiving the desk. Instead of looking at it as a blessing, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see how it would work. Isn’t that how things are sometimes? We don’t see the blessing because we are too busy looking at the present and not sensing the future.
This is my first spring without my mom and I’m feeling it pretty deeply. I miss her. She would love my new studio. I would have loved her to see it. Perhaps the Lord will give her a little glimpse. However, I am so thankful that I will be inspired to do great work on the very surface that she did her great work. I think the Lord knew that I would need to feel her close. Having her creative desk as my creative desk is special, and, like she did, I create to encourage.
As I filled up my art studio, and reorganized my art supplies, designating unique spaces in the room for each creative pursuit, the big piles in the other two rooms began to beckon. Actually, they yelled. I can’t work in disorganization; it’s a visual thing. Also, a mom thing. I make a mess and then clean it. Repetitively, ad nauseum. It’s part of my process.
The office space now needed attention. The piles of paper and books and files was daunting. I just started with one box. Then I did another. I shredded the old and unnecessary. Made room to grow. Until it was fresh, organized, and ready to go. Except I still needed a place for a guest to sleep that was comfortable.
I thought I would put the guest bed in there but it was too big. So, the offspring got a new bed, which was needed. I was on the hunt for a hideabed, daybed or something that wasn’t ugly that would work. I searched well over twelve furniture places to no avail. Except, I found an orange, yellow, and olive green plaid chair. Ick. Super comfortable, and high quality but orange and yellow. Gosh!
I once saw a pair of eyeglasses on a search for a new pair. I commented to my offspring – ‘who on earth would wear those? They are so ugly! Gold and magenta and olive green? Ewww!’ I circled the eyeglass cabinet several times and could not stop commenting on those eyeglasses. Soon, I bought them and wore them with a bit of a giggle and a lesson learned. Or so, I thought.
The plaid pleaded with my colour bias. It won. When I got it home, it fit like it was made for that space. It was on a deep discount, which pleased me. What I realize now, is that I needed a comfortable place to perch to pontificate and ponder. I also needed to embrace all the colours, even orange and yellow. (Olive green I already liked.) Soon, my office and my colour bias were aligned.
The last space to conquer was my room. There was furniture in there that I had to reconcile with. To be ready for the new season also meant that I needed to make room for me to grow. Once I took authority over what I owned by creating the two working spaces, I now needed to look at my personal space.
After years of motherhood, it’s easy to discount dreams and wishes, to unintentionally devalue your own space. It’s a growing concern. To discover what one likes and to embrace a new status is not something that comes easily. I’m not who I was and I’m not who I will be. For I will and am growing. I’m growing into the me that I have been designed to become. My own room needs to be a picture of that. Not a testament to the past or a hopeful wish of the future, but a realistic imagining. So, I tackled that space, too. Rather, I treated that space with kindness, gentleness, and hope. Just as I am being treated by God.
Oh, this growing is concerning sometimes. Painful even. But oh, so good. It’s Good Friday today. By all accounts, it truly is. As I look at my spaces that have grown me, and I think about how good God is, I am moved to tears of deep gratitude. This growing space adventure has been God’s way of reminding me that He is good, that He has good plans for me, and that He delights in giving me good things. He is with me as I grow. I’m not alone. Every single aspect of this renovation has challenged me and grown me. And now, I get to walk into and past each metaphor on a daily basis, ever reminding me of God’s faithfulness and love.
All the time, God is good. God is good, all the time.
May you receive all the good from the growing spaces that you are in!