A few years ago after Christmas, when the kids went back to school, I set about storing holiday stuff and replacing all of my sewing/craft/wrapping supplies back to the guest room closet. We had out of town family stay with us for the holidays and one for 11 days. 11. Sit with that for a moment:)
As I hauled loads of holiday decorations to the third floor, I was thinking that in a house this size there had to be somewhere for me to put my sewing and wrapping stuff besides the guest room closet. So often, we have guests at holiday or birthdays and that is also prime time for sewing, crafting and wrapping. Clearing out the closet whenever we had guests just wasn't cutting it anymore. Surely there had to be some place other than a closet. Then it dawned on me. There was a "finished" room on the third floor that we used for storage. I wonder.....
At the time, the room was technically finished. Meaning the walls had plaster, it had a door, windows, a closet and a radiator. I know that the radiator hadn't worked since the early 70's. But if it did, I thought, this room may have some potential. So I ran down and called the HVAC people that we use and asked if they could please stop by. They did and the next day there was heat in that room. No electricity but heat- thats a start.
Now this room was in pretty bad shape. It was at one time, a "maid's room". The rest of the third floor was framed out and we had recently added insulation. But that was it. No other heat or AC source, loose boards in the floor, and 100 years worth of dust. I set out to begin cleaning. l scrubbed the floors, windows and baseboards, wiped down the walls and sanded the trim. I spent the next few days caulking, priming and painting.
Finally, I was getting close and applied the last coat of paint. Later that day, I was so excited to come upstairs to check on my new room. As I walked in I noticed that the paint was bubbling and peeling away. How could this have happened? I was so careful and really took my time prepping the walls. It took some time to figure out, but I found that my walls had previously been covered in calcimine. Calcimine? Calcimine is a mixture of crushed chalk, glue and water. Back in the early 20th C. calcimine was a cheap and easy way to cover walls and ceilings. It was especially useful to cover coal dust. Nice. The walls had to be scrubbed with scrub pads, stripped and primed once again with an oil based primer. Remember, this was in January. It was cold and wet. Not the best time to be painting with oil. It was slow going, but I did it. By February, the room was finally ready for me to move in.
At first, it was so hard to get any actual sewing done. All I wanted to do was decorate and dream away in this new space that was all mine. It took some time to organize it to maximize its space for efficiency. It continues to evolve as I take on more projects and broaden my scope of work.
In the sewing room, I keep my supplies, notions, machines, books, patterns and trims. Just outside the room is a larger area that has my cutting table, fabric storage, and ironing board. It's nice to be able to spread out and not have to worry about little hands getting in the way.
I feel so fortunate to have this dedicated space. I no longer have to think ahead to what I might need over the holidays or a kids birthday and make sure that I get it out of the closet before guests arrive. Then have to put it all away again. It's all right here.