Monday, September 10, 2018

Upcoming Changes


I have an announcement to make. At the end of November I will be closing my current studio location in Shelton. I'm definitely not closing my business. I'll still be in Shelton I'm just moving back into my Studio at my home. I will continue to do custom work for clients and occasional projects that I design to sell but I will no longer have a retail area. I will be open by appointment. I worked out of my home studio for several years before opening my shop in town. It is in our detached garage. It seems a waste to pay rent when I have this space to use. As you can imagine this was a huge decision for me and I thought long and hard about it. Three years ago I wanted nothing more then to get away from my house and get out into the world again. It was just what I needed then but Seasons change, I'm looking forward to the flexibility of working from home again.

Here's a little background as to why I need to make a move. You may remember me mentioning before that the owners of the building I currently rent space in are retiring. My arrangement with them has been very unique. I rent space in their Antique & Vintage shop. I rent the front retail area as my showroom with upholstered pieces, furniture, home decor items and a fabric viewing area. I rent the back room for my workshop. They run the retail space so I can happily work in the back. They come and get me whenever someone would like to speak to me. They are there for moral support, help with heavy lifting and basically just all around take care of me. It has been wonderful and I feel like I found the perfect set up for me at the time. Not to mention sharing space made the rent very reasonable. Their impending retirement left me with a few choices. I could rent the entire building (3000 sq feet is too big), find a small Retail space (and still double my rent) or go back to my home workshop. Hmm, what to do.

I took the entire month of July off to think and plan and dream. I listened to all the pod casts, read several inspiring business books and journaled about it. Basically I drove myself insane for 31 days. These books and podcast pretty much said the same thing. I need to dream bigger, Work harder, hustle, I am built for more!! That kind of talk can be great except it began to make me not trust what my gut was telling me. It made me feel like moving back to my home studio was somehow a failure. It made me wonder if I'm just afraid of success. Playing small, staying where its safe. Also every time I told one my regular customers that I wanted to move back to my home shop they frowned. They like coming into the store so I cant blame them but it made me question if it was a bad idea.

 (current studio on a tidy day)

At first I was convinced I had to open a shiny new shop and make it so fabulous that everyone that walked in would exclaim "Oh my gosh its so cute in here!" But this nagging voice in my head kept saying then what? So you'll have a cute shop but you'll have to be there all the time and keep it fresh. New merchandise all the time, which lets face it you're not that excited about. You wont be able to keep up with running a retail shop by yourself and doing all the upholstery, which is actually your favorite part. So then I thought well maybe I just open more of a fancy design center that only has a few pieces and lots of fabric displays. Again the voice was like then what? You will still have to keep those consistent retail hours and a design center is not necessary to do what you do. Then there's the fact that I'm not that fancy so it would not really be me. I'm really more of a watch your step but come here let me show you this cool piece I'm working on, don't mind the mess. If you've ever come to my shop and visited with me you know this about me. Creativity is messy should be tattooed on my forehead.

Finally a few days after my month of vacation (haha) was over and I had laid off all the inspiring self help materials I was driving to my studio and I just knew what I was supposed to do. It just came over me, decision made, calmness. Go back home. Put your blinders back on. Put your head down & quit worrying about what everyone else thinks. Do your thing. I'm not interested in growing in the traditional sense. I don't want bigger faster more. I want to enjoy every piece not hustle so hard I don't get a moments peace. So this is the my plan.

I have a ton of work to do to clean up the home studio. I have been piling things in for the last three years and it was never really that cute in there. I have lots of plans to make it brighter and more efficient then the last time I worked there. It will make it cute. I will be selling off all my inventory over the next couple months. It feels a little early but time will fly so I thought I'd better get this out there. I have to say I have loved having the retail studio so much. I think it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I learned so much and met so many kind people who have become friends. There is nothing like having regulars pop in to say hello and give you encouragement. I will miss that most of all. The thing I wont miss is the pressure of finding inventory and stocking a store. I know my strengths and that is not one of them. The thing I most love about what I do is working with clients to give them exactly the piece of furniture they want. I can do that from home without a fancy shop. I think I can actually do it much better without the distraction. I am excited for this new chapter. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

-Michelle



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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Re Styled Settee


I finally got around to upholstering a piece for myself. I have been re-decorating my home office for months now. I cant believe how long it's taking me and at the same time I'm enjoying the process. I have completely let our home go over the last few years. My business has taking over my creative energy. Lately I've been feeling the home improvements.


Secret time (not really I posted this all over social media) the settee actually is not finished. I haven't picked a fabric for the cushion yet. I love combining fabrics and I want to use a different fabric on the seat.  The settee is against the wall directly in front of my desk and I think having a fun cushion will really make the piece special.

This settee is not particularly old as in a fabulous antique but it is the perfect size and is super comfy. I wanted a piece that I can snuggle up on while listening to music or reading a book.  I made a few changes to the style to update the look.


First the wood on the wings was puny. It looked cheap so I covered it up. Second I chose not to to button tuft the back. I almost did, so close, but I'm glad I stopped myself. Third I chose to do one large seat cushion to update the look. That is the fun part of upholstery and why I wanted to share this project. Small changes in styling can totally update a piece.


My favorite change was stripping the finish from the woodwork and using white wax to finish.


The white wax toned down the orangyness that still lingered after two doses of stripper and a good sanding.

I think I might have finally decided on the cushion fabric but I'm in no hurry. For now the plaid Ikea blanket is looking pretty cute.


I want the room to feel calm and peaceful so my color palette is soft grays and creams. I'm almost done just need to sew up the curtains and install a chandelier. Waiting for hubby to do the latter. He's promised 82 times "I'll do it tonight" so we should be getting close.


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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Black, White, Wool and Tweed Chair




I think this little cutie is my new favorite.  I designed it to sell in my showroom. This is another frame I've had for almost two years and just never got to it.  That's seems to be a theme with me lately. It must be the new year. I feel a renewed creative energy and have been tackling projects I've long neglected.

With this one I could never find the right fabric. I needed something amazing that would update this very unique antique frame.


Enter gorgeous Pendleton Wool Fabric. I fell in love with it and purchased it for a project for myself. Then I realized I'm a gray girl. I love the look of black and white but my entire home is shades of gray. Not to worry though it was just what I'd been waiting for for this piece.


The pattern is very bold so for the back I used a black tweed that has a tiny fleck of cream in it. Perfect. I works to keep the pattern from being overwhelming.  


Yummy. There is nothing more cozy then wool. Someone asked if it was scratchy and no it's not. Pendleton wool is soft and thick. This is available by the yard.
 

I decided to run the fabric vertically up the chair and offset the pattern a bit to the right. Definitely a fun statement piece.

Ok and here's the real reason it took me so long to do this chair, 

 before

These springs just looked like a nightmare to redo. They are tall (except for the front row) and tied together down inside as well. Actually they weren't hard to redo but every time I looked at this chair it looked like it had a million springs. So I was like nah, I'll wait on that one. :) Glad I finally took the time. 





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