Longing For My Own Workshop

I have to laugh every now and then when people make comments like, “Kristi, why are you going to all this work to make your studio pretty when it’s just going to be covered in sawdust?” 😀 I think there might be some confusion with a few people. So let me clarify. My studio will never be covered in sawdust.

There will never be an occasion when I’ll drag my miter saw or table saw into the room to build something. My studio isn’t where I’ll be using my sander. And once I have the hole cut in the second countertop (the countertop behind my desk) for the countertop grommet outlet, I’ll never use my router in the studio again.

None of those “dirty” sawdust-producing processes will happen in my studio. My studio is where the “office” things will take place (I sit at my desk with my computer and write my blog post right here in my studio every morning), and it’s where the “pretty” things will happen (painting, artwork, sewing, upholstery, etc.). The two work tables I built were designed specifically for the purpose of giving me a place to sew that is big enough to accommodate one full drapery panel. Before having those tables, I’ve always had to spread fabric on the floor if I’m sewing something large like a drapery panel, and I always dreamed of having a work table large enough for that so that I could get off the floor. So think of the studio as my office, as well as my art studio, sewing room, craft room, etc. But it’s not a woodworking workshop.

So that’s why I want it to be pretty. As I’m sitting here every morning typing on my computer, I want to look around and be inspired by all of the color and pattern. But none of that will ever be covered with sawdust.

For now, the sawdust, and all of the tools that create the sawdust, live outside in our carport, which was just recently finished. (You can see more of our finished carport here if you missed it.)

My setup isn’t convenient at all right now because two of my big saws are on tables that don’t roll, and the other one is sitting on the ground. I need to build rolling carts for my big tools so that I can move them out easily when I need to use them, and then roll them out of the way when they’re not in use. But this is where the “dirty” jobs happen for now. And if I need to do some sanding, or use my paint sprayer, I set up a table in the carport where I can work.

There was a time when I considered turning the carport into a workshop — enclosing the walls, adding a door at each end, adding a few windows. Some of you may remember that phase back in 2019. I wrote about it here. Where the carport is now open on all sides with a roof covering it, I had mind to turn it into a fully enclosed room like this, with some sort of locking barn doors on the house side and the back yard side.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how crazy that idea was. If I turned the current carport into my workshop, that meant that we’d have to build another carport or garage somewhere else on our property. And then it would be detached from the house, which means that I’d want some sort of covered walkway connecting to the house so that when it’s raining, I don’t have to walk out in the rain to get from the carport/garage to the house.

It also seemed crazy because we spent (at the time, before it was finished last week) $25,000 to have that carport built. One reason it cost so much is because since it’s a completely open structure, it had to be built with huge laminated beams that could span those widths without sagging in the middle. And those beams are very expensive compared to regular lumber. So it seemed ridiculous to spend all that money on a structure that cost thousands of dollars extra because it was built specifically to be an open structure, only to then go back and add walls. And then to have to rebuild the same structure somewhere else on our property seemed ridiculous.

And with all of that said, the current location just makes more sense as a carport. It has Matt’s wheelchair ramp right there, and it’s just so convenient to pull the van into the carport, and wheel him right out into the carport, up the ramp, and into the house. I can’t imagine the difficulty and frustration we would have added by having a huge obstacle (i.e., an enclosed room) right there by his wheelchair ramp.

So after considering that idea, and scrapping it because it was crazy 😀 , I went back to the idea of building a completely separate workshop further back on our property. I even made sure that the landscape designer included it on the plan Matt bought for me as my birthday gift in 2022. (If you missed the landscape plan, you can see it here.) See it over there on the right side behind the carport?

I love how the landscape designer has the little walkway to the front doors of the workshop (which face the yard and not the house), with all kinds of plants around it, and a little outdoor seating area to the side. But in the back of the workshop (which faces the right side of the property), it’s all business — a concrete driveway leading to the back doors, which I imagine would be a garage door where I could easily get sheet goods (MDF, plywood) into the workshop.

And naturally, I want the workshop to match our house in style and colors. I imagine it looking like a little mother-in-law cottage from the front. Something like this, only it would have to be much bigger and painted the colors of our house.

I can just imagine sitting outside on our back patio and seeing my cute workshop sitting over there behind the carport, facing the yard and looking so inviting from the front.

I’ve been dreaming about having my own workshop for decades. I remember visiting my grandparents and going into my grandfather’s workshop on their property. It was a detached garage, and one end opened up completely with big garage doors. He used the whole things as his workshop, and he had every kind of tool you could imagine. And I remember, as a little girl, being mesmerized by all of the big tools, and all of the amazing things he created with those tools. It was like a magical wonderland in my little child brain. I remember the first time he let me use his miter saw, and feeling the power of that thing in my hands. I was scared of it, and yet fascinated and excited all at the same time.

I’ve dreamed of my workshop for so long, and I’m determined to make it happen one day. To have a place where all of my tools can be organized and have a permanent home seems like an absolute dream to me. So I’m just going to keep dreaming until it happens. But until then, I’ll be quite content having a nice covered carport where I can use my tools.

But rest assured that there will never be an occasion when I’ll drag my miter saw into my studio, or start cutting plywood on my table saw in the middle of the studio, or start sanding down a piece of furniture in my studio. 🙂 There will never be a time when my pink gold leafed cabinets are covered in sawdust. All of that type of stuff will stay outside for now until the day I can move it all into my own backyard workshop.

Speaking of tools and saws, I’m trying my hardest to get the paint swatch cabinet finished today!! I had forgotten that I hadn’t even painted the ceiling or wall in that area of the room, so having to do that first set me back a day. But I’m trying my hardest because I’m anxious to see the finished cabinet, and I know some of you are as well!



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  1. Besides of keeping up with your blog, all your DIY projects on your house and caring for Matt (which are at least two full time jobs), do you also have clients that you do design work for? Just wondering how much extra stuff you will be doing in your studio.

  2. Would it be possible to build the workshop structure at the same time you build your addition? It may be more cost effective to do both. You wouldn’t have to finish anything inside, but then at least you could store your power tools inside the workshop. Just a thought! 😜

  3. You might consider leaving a wee bit more space between the carport and workshop in case you need to back up or turn. If the drawing is to scale it looks like a tight fit. I drive a full size truck, so I tend to “think like that.”

    That said, perhaps have a ready-made building brought in as a workshop, then customize it. Many of the nicer storage sheds offer “pretty” exterior design details you can customize, in addition to wall height, flooring, windows, roofing, rollup doors, double doors, etc.. You can wire and finish the interior any way you choose. So, instead of stick-by-stick, you have a whole usable building from the get-go.

    1. I’ve spent many hours looking at pre-build workshops. I love to look at them and dream. I never have found one that I think is the perfect fit for me, but I’m going to keep looking! I’d love to compare the price of a pre-built to a site-built and see how they measure up. That would be interesting.

      1. Prefab buildings have come a long way. I got the cutest garden shed of super quality from Dakota Storage….. has optional upgraded windows, shutters, window boxes, double doors. Painted the interior…. blue ceiling, white walls, cadet blue floor. Set in the midst of trees, perennial gardens, picket fences, bird feeders/baths. I put in a couple painted old furniture pieces, some shelves… storage of dreary work equipment can be charming & happy. Have an old milk can for fence posts & a dairy barn wall desk for garden journal from ancestral farm. I hope you have some old tools of your grandpa’s…. warms my heart to have some of my dad’s with mine. The old tape measure and wood handled screw drivers bring a smile and galvanize my confidence when I DIY.

        Perhaps a framed pic of your grandpa doing his thing in your “create” space would warm your heart and inspire you too.

  4. I moved to NC from MA last year. Pre built sheds are all the rage around here. Are they not so available where you are? The house I bought has a huge workshop shed in the backyard that has electricity, water, a ramp, and roll up door. I could get my SUV in it plus storage. I just use it as storage. The electricity has its own panel. If I wad better at tech I’d take a picture and include it. You should look at premade sheds.

    1. Oh, I have. 🙂 I’ve spent countless hours over the years looking at pre-built workshops. I just haven’t found the perfect fit for my wants and needs yet, but I’ll keep looking!

  5. As much as I love keeping up with the other things you have going on – when will you report on meeting with the architect about your addition? I’m sitting on pins and needles!!

    1. I was going to wait until I had the plans in hand and then share with y’all. But the meeting was great! I really like him, and he seems easy to work with. He should have preliminary plans ready soon.

  6. I am glad you cleared up the idea of the STUDIO vs WORKSHOP. I wondered why all the detail in the room to be covered with scraps, paint drips, sawdust. Rename it ART STUDIO makes much more sense. Now I understand why you want it pretty. Boy, you had me going.
    You need a workshop but trust me, 15 x 20 won’t be big enough. Plus you will need a bathroom in it, I think. Why not go forward on the workshop and do the house addition later? Or put them all in the same project?
    Yes get the colored cabinets finished so we can see it! Have a peaceful day.

  7. I do most of my work in our carport, but keep my big tools in our barn, which unfortunately doesn’t have electricity yet! So I have to roll my table saw and miter saw into the carport whenever I’m building. My table saw came with a folding roller base, but I bought the folding roller base for the miter saw separately. It’s made by Craftsman and it’s really solid. It’s pretty heavy, but if you’re only moving it around in the carport it wouldn’t be a problem. It only took a few minutes to put it together. You might like it!

  8. It could be that the purpose and actual use of your studio has been ambiguous to many of us, so thanks for clarifying the point.

    A sign, “Art Studio” would make it clearer or “Kristi’s Art Studio” (or ?) in neon would say it all.

    I have waited so long to see it come to pass.

  9. I think I knew all along this was a studio and not a workshop…So I understood why it could still be beautiful. I hope your area is safe…tools would not last long outside in so many places. Of course you have a dog that would be crazy if someone was outside. I’m just a tiny bit worried. Hopefully you will find a way to make sure they are secure. Meanwhile, the cabinet is almost done and I can hardly wait. I was thinking of doing something like that with just a few colors, but fading…I can’t think of the word right now…light to darker. In my favorite colors. You give us all so many ideas! Take care.

  10. Because I’ve followed you forever (lol), I knew it was a studio and not a workshop. But i realize theres probably new people here that had no clue. 😁Cant wait to see it all finished.

  11. yes, thanks for the clarifications. I am nowhere near disciplined enough to not sand or hammer things where i “shouldn’t” lol especially if they were as close together as your spaces so go you. I would love having an organized uncluttered space for pretty things – but alas its a crammed up closet, so I will enjoy your spaces. 🙂

  12. Im glad i found you. I love all your content. I feel like i know you and we can be best friends. I love building stuff also but i only own little things. I cant wait for one day buy my own miter saw. So i can start building bigger stuff( like a tree house for my daughter). Or a swinging chair. You inspire me so much. Have a great evening bestie!

  13. Kristi I got so excited reading about your workshop and seeing the pictures of the style you’re going for just as if it was mine. I hope you are able to get that workshop and beautiful backyard soon!!!

  14. I know exactly where your coming from about the sawdust in your studio you would be forever cleaning it up an then probably not get it all a Studio is for creating and quiet contemplation for ideas to form plus your need for a large cutting table for material, I have to manage with a fold up paste table and believe me it,s no joke as it bends a bit in the middle & sewing machines do not like sawdust they can be temprementel enough without sawdust in in the works and this where you will create your ideas & plans for your magnificent workshop,