Musings of the perfect home-shop scenario.

My dream watercolour sketch
Dear Donna
I read your blog and am observing change in your life.

Have you ever considered yourself an artist?  I mean, for real.

Of course, you are.

Paint studio with repurposed storage solutions
Paint studio with repurposed storage solutions
Basement Paint Studio

It would seem you are somewhat restricted for studio space.  Would you ever consider a small cottage home on some land with a big pole barn as a studio space, instead of a big home with a little studio area? 

Just a thought.

It would seem, if you are to grow in your art it needs to take priority.  You have a great blog, but I think with the right set up, you could even be selling things from a studio space.

Organized collected antiques and junk storage in shelving against a basement wall
Organized collected antiques and junk storage in shelving against a basement wall
Basement junk storage

Honestly, I never give advice like this.  Ever.

It just occurs to me more and more these days that the Lord gives us gifts and they are often not developed or realized to their full potential because we allow other things to weigh us down and consume our time and energy.

Enhanced pallet drill station in a garage workshop - part of Dream Workshop Reveal
Pallet and crate storage in a dream garage workshop with all repurposed tool organizing
Single car garage workshop

In your case it seems you are house heavy and studio light.

See if you could imagine yourself on a piece of property outside of town with a little house and a big barn.  Even selling from the barn your work.

Super Market magnetic grocery list
Photo studio in a well lit basement room
Basement photo studio and Super Market magnetic board

Don’t neglect the gift you have been given.  Develop its potential.  See yourself as an artist with a gift. You will feel far more fulfilled than seeing yourself as a suburban homeowner with a garage workshop. You are so unique in your work.
Thanks for being so inspiring.  Don’t be afraid of challenges.  It is in stretching that we grow.

Best, Brenda

.– – – – –

This lovely email came at such an uncanny time. I was on my bike and stopped for a water break, when I opened my email and read this. Honestly, my eyes began to sting, because this has been on my heart ever since landing on this doorstep 10 very long years ago.

But most recently, a LOT.

Allow me to explain…

I landed here because it’s what I could afford. The view out back sold me, even though the place needed a LOT of work.

Over time, I had a lot of help with that work, which also educated me and was a big part in the starting of Funky Junk Interiors. You can read my story HERE.

So where are we today? My gut has been telling me to clear out. Just clear out the dead weight. Clear clear clear. So over the last year I have been focusing on selling big stuff I can’t move myself I no longer need / want, and putting smaller stuff on the curb.

And remember my Finish The House post? That too.

And now that personal chaos has left the building, I have time to finish things. And it’s working!

However, what’s transpiring mentally for me is rather confusing. Is moving really in the bigger picture, or should I dump the funds into this place to make it all it can be?

I suppose what answers that question is… do I have any limitations here?

Yes, I do.

For one, our entire back yard is a septic field so I can’t build or put weight on it. So… no big shop for me nor selling from home nor workshop opportunities. Big minus.

I miss living in a more rustic natural setting. (I had that dream country the home before this one, which I had to let go when I divorced.)

Vinyl siding doesn’t speak to me. Wood that needs staining or painting, now we’re talkin’…

At the same time, I’m 55. I need to think what my own personal limitations will be moving forward too. This house is sound and not a money pit unless I chose to spend money on it. That is HUGE. I am not a professional builder (yet?) so I’d have to hire out major fix up jobs.

I’ve also worked with all scenarios before:

Shop off property – I use to have a storefront so I was always there, not at home. The way I work today, that would not work as what I do for work IS play these days. I need it all in one spot.

Shop on property – I loved working from home, but was always in the shop, not inside my house. Lots of running back and forth between house and shop, but at least it wasn’t far to go and did free up house space. This setup was pretty sweet, however it was important to have the workspace super homey so you didn’t feel like you were leaving home. I did this one to the hilt. It became my 2nd home. I quite enjoy the thought of all my gear in a barn…

Shop inside house – everything is under one roof now, which is so much easier. However it is space tight…

My biggest gut-thought always hits in the same area. I have been visioning a little cottage home somewhere with a barn out back in a more natural setting. My ‘home’ will never be suburbia. I’m a farmer’s daughter through and through.

My therapist encouraged me to NOT feel guilt about leaving my current home, which I do. So I’m going to try and let that go and allow things sway where they may.

I’ve been trying to encourage myself with staying put and being happy with what is. But it’s hard when you know deeeeeeep down that where you are just isn’t you through and through. My little river front cabin getaway with all the rustic wood and imperfect grounds? That was me.

I also relish safe change, but some change strikes fear inside me, shutting me right down. I go go go, then come to a screeching halt, leaving dust spewing in the air. It’s like I’m holding myself back. From what I do not know. Perhaps a new season is approaching and it’s not quite time to pull the trigger yet?

Therapist: “Get comfortable with change. Otherwise you go no where new…” Yes. That.

A big part of this unsettled feeling is I keep shutting myself down because this place isn’t pulling everything out of me that I have to give. My gut is in search of something else… or perhaps an addition? 

Now to just realize my vision, IF it’s to be. Time will tell…

 – – – – 

During one of my most recent sessions, my therapist pointed to a beautiful watercolour painting on our way out the front door.

“Say that’s your water colour. What colours would you like to add? Which ones would you like to remove? YOU are the artist, so it’s up to you.”

My dream watercolour sketch
Oh boy… I think I’m going to start a fresh canvas so I have room for my humungous dream list…

And thank-you Brenda, I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Curious what the rest of you ‘see?’

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Categories: About me, Off Topic, Rambling

23 thoughts on “Musings of the perfect home-shop scenario.

  1. I love this conversation, D. I literally have goosebumps. I’m so excited for whatever change life has in store for you.

    Do not let anything hold you back from chasing your dreams. (Even your age.) It’s about the journey not the destination.

    Always cheering you on!

    • You are so right M. The journey is exhilarating! Perhaps that’s why rambling old country homes are never finished… they aren’t meant to be? haha

      Thanks for continuing to always be one of my biggest cheerleaders!

  2. Okay my friend everything you rambled is fear… I don’t say this lightly… I know this first hand because when my husband proposed a vision for our future two years ago I really thought he was crazy. After considering the idea of living smaller and then taking the journey to get rid of almost everything I’m on board 100%.

    What your seeking… it’s called freedom…..

    I’m guessing deep down you want the freedom to do what you love without being tied down to a traditional home. Perhaps you’re tired of living like everyone else… Only you can answer that….

    Living smaller with a large workshop well you described my near future and it’s at my finger tips just as soon as we sell our farm. We’ve already moved out of the house and started living smaller… it’s amazing!!

    When I finally released fear and let freedom rise everything changed.. It was scary at first… But I realized closing a chapter allows a new one to begin. I call it growth and again it’s absolutely amazing..

    I hope I didn’t over step by sharing and I hope you take this to heart… I’m 49 and decided long ago I would never let my age limit me to do more…. Life is short to ponder and let fear keep us from our dreams.

    Pray and seek what kind of land is available to see if living smaller with a large workshop is for you. If you find that it isn’t then flip flop your current home so one floor is home and the other is workshop.

    Hugs – Carole

    • Fear… I fear you are right Carole.

      Fear of landing in a money pit I can’t manage on my own.

      Fear of leaving such a special community. This is more than a house.

      Fear of leaving behind the most amazing bike paths on earth.

      Perhaps I’m a little too safe and that in itself is not inspiring…

      So pray and seek I will!

      Thank you for your gentle encouraging! And hoping your farm will sell so you can move on with your own inspiring future!

  3. I see someone with no restraints. You have no 9-5 you have to live near and you are basically free. You have the means to change your life so why the heck not? Follow that dream Donna, the time is now. Life goes fast, in another 10 years it may be too late. Xo

    • I love the way you think Susan. I’m still held in my area for the time being, however that may change at any given time. I think this chapter is still being written…

      However I will promise to at least look around.

      Yikes. The last time I ‘looked’ at cats I ended up with TWO! Dangerous… haha

      And I can always sell in another 10 yet again should the next step not be a good retirement place I suppose…

  4. Donna, you have drawn out my dream(I have too!). It’s almost identical. I have pastoral views around my space, the Art Barn(events, shop, workshops, etc) in view from my front door. I have a sweet little(well, medium size)cottage home. I even know what my office in the house will look like.

    Here is to big and important dreams(even in our 5o’s!) and their possibilities. Keep working through those blocks, counter them with positive thoughts and solutions and plan out your first action step. It doesn’t matter how small that first step is, only that you take one.

    You can do this. Look at all you have accomplished so far.

    I am excited for you.

    xx 🙂

  5. Donna, I also believe you are an artist and have talents yet to be pursued and discovered. What you do with practically any old piece of wood or hardware is amazing. And your blog inspires others to find the creative inside of themselves, too. And your photos – very nice!

    I have no words of my own to share as I’m trying to figure out the stirrings in my own soul. But here’s a story I recently heard that May encourageme you, too – xo

  6. Maybe Brenda is an angel. Seriously, Donna. And her email was your very own personal annunciation-whisper/shout of what could be.
    Praying for clarity and discernment of your needs and desires.

  7. I think you’re being very smart planning your future. Any changes you make that are true to your heart will be the right decisions. I’m 57 and we’ve been kicking around the idea of looking for a more suitable home for us in the future. It can be daunting and exhilarating at the same time. Do we stay safe or go for what our hearts tell us to do? I’m beginning to lean towards listening to our hearts!

  8. Donna, I have 2 thoughts:
    1. Can you just add on to the side of your garage? And maybe open up a part of the outside wall to an addition? I don’t know how much room is on the side or if there are any other restrictions there. This would allow a bigger home studio, but not a dramatic change like moving where you live.

    2. I think it would be helpful to talk to other artist/entrepreneurs. As many as you can. They can help you with the struggles they had, what helped them, etc. Some local networking groups, your local Chamber of Commerce or such. Also, use the internet to read about these people.
    One source that I like for inspiration for artists who have struck out on their own (in many different ways) is the magazine: “Where Women Create”. Besides showing their studios, there are some interviews and insights from others in situations similar to yours. Some list their websites, so you could also contact them with questions.

    It seems like you are right on the edge of change. Your just need a nudge/information/inspiration/ideas.

    Mary M.

  9. Yes! Your post is so timely for me as well Donna. I am going to be moving soon across the pond. New adventures full of fear and excitement all mingled in together. And I want to do things that I never would have tried BB (that’s before blogging) Donna I’m a year older than you and those muscles are really starting to hurt. But as long as I can get up in the morning I look forward to new ideas and lots of projects to keep me busy. Look forward to any changes you might be making. I have only one little nugget of advice. Home is where the heart is, and I truly believe this. Don’t let a building hold you back. You can move anywhere you want and it will be home because you will be there.

  10. Like so many folks have already said, fear immobilizes us, keeping us from the blessings that could be ours.

    Pray about the matter and allow the Lord to open the doors that need opening, and ask for the grace and courage to step through them.

    On a personal note, I adopted my second to last child in my fifties. She was born when I was fifty and I got her when she was 16 months old. Everyone thought I was crazy, but it was one of the very best decisions of my life. After her, I adopted again, a five month old. I wouldn’t change a thing. That said, the Lord opened the doors. He supplied the means and He picked the girls. And I watched as He did it, and was blessed beyond words. I still am.

    I am now meditating on the scripture that says we are to be fruitful in old age, and wonder what adventure the Lord has for me ahead.

    Love. B

  11. Wow! I can identify on so many levels. My husband and I, 58 and 56 are in the same type of stage of our lives.. trying to decide whether to sell our house – larger than we need – or stay put, etc., etc., etc. The only thing I can offer (which I’m not terribly good at myself) is to pray, pray, pray and go where God leads wherever that may be.

  12. WOW…that a lot of possibilities and the email is spot on..right time, right topic. Something you have not spoken out loud but is in your heart and head often.
    No harm in getting out there and start looking; what is available, what would you like to acquire. You don’t have to spend any money to look and plan. Get the plan on paper and out of your heart and head, it will start to make more sense to you and you can then take the steps that make you comfortable moving forward. It is OK to take chances at your age, I wish I would have taken more.
    We took the chance to build our own home at 60 yrs. old and it was the best fulfilling adventure for me. Now 14 years later, I am purging all that stuff I thought I needed. All that makes me happy these days are my gardens and my art can be better used by others.

    You have all of us for your therapist…Ha/Ha! Go forward and conquer my friend!!

  13. Omg…this really hit home for me. I too am divorced. I have a large house…aka money pit and a nice shop. Just like you I need the reverse. I have trouble letting go. Thanks for the inspiring post. I love it. Well said. Thank you!

  14. I see that you’re right where you’re meant to be. I don’t profess to be a religious person, but I do think there’s something out there bigger than all of us — that nudges us in a certain direction. To what feels right! And when we get there (if we allow the nudging) we realize … well THAT’S why that happened.

    More than once in my life I’ve let myself just flow, and I end up in a place I couldn’t have imagined. Maybe that’s what a good artist does? They go with their instinct and see what the end result is.

    All those people that have helped you — don’t feel like you have to stick around to repay them, or that you have to stay in your house because of the work that went into it. Those people that have come and go in your life have had their own path to find, and you were part of it! I truly believe paths converge and diverge according to that “bigger picture”. Have faith and I’m sure you’ll soon see where you’re going.

  15. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

  16. this is a goosebumps post! seriously hope you write a book one day!

    reading the comments…you have some great advice on here.

    I moved to NC with a suitcase…seriously a suitcase & I shipped my car which could not have anything in it…sold everything…leap of faith

    listen…your answer is inside…if you can… go for it!


  17. I have had one of those move or stay kind of weeks too, and we’re just celebrating 15 years in our Fake Farmhouse. I’ve been online looking at houses just to see what’s out there, desiring more square feet, but knowing I just really love character:( Think we need to finish where we’re at, and then decide if we add on or move.You’re not alone with all your thoughts! I just figure, we’re not getting any younger, so why not be up for an adventure if we’re still able, right? I think you should go for it and start hunting;)And honestly…not having to make this decision with a significant other is so much easier…just sayin’!

  18. OMG Brenda sure hit the nail on the head! What great advice! I totally agree with her. It seems to be one of those so obvious ideas – why didn’t I think of that? I would love to follow along for that adventure!

    As always – sending love and light your way. Your posts never fail to put a smile on face. I always feel like I am having a cuppa tea with my friend. 🙂

  19. Hi Donna! A very interesting and stirring post. Ditto for the comments. There are a lot of people in your corner rooting for you and their views are informative and helpful. I don’t know that I could add much to it but to say I agree with Brenda. An artistic streak runs through your soul and mind as you also have a gift for writing and reaching others hearts. I speak from personal experience. You always did say that you felt your present home was needed at the time of purchase, but you had aspirations for the future. I believe that when we get a stirring in our soul and a feeling that you need some thing else that it’s God’s way of preparing you for the future and what is to come. Could be that you are there and maybe still on the way. I wish you fulfillment in your stirrings of your heart and soul. You ‘GO GIRL’. And just an end thought. What do you think if your mom was talking to you. Do you think you know what her prompting or advice would be?I don’t know. It was just an idea that popped in my head. Take care.

  20. Just go for it! I’m 66 & that’s my motto. Life is short & we only get one so, I believe in getting it all in before my times up. I to go go go & I like it.

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