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The Workshop, Ready to Shop!


If you can believe it – which, of course you can! – the workshop is finished before we can say the same about our kitchen. We had been sort of joking all along that it could happen, but we didn’t think it’d actually be the case. (In related news, door, get here.)

In all fairness, this has been the quickest room in our house to turn around, coming in at less than a month from start to finish. Once our pocket door had been installed, it was mostly a matter of prepping our blank slate with the installation of new baseboards and a window sill, fresh paint on the ceiling and walls, and coming up with a storage plan. The organization itself was the biggest task of all, but, organization! That’s my idea of a good time, so, let’s not call it a task at all, right?

This teeny room off the kitchen has served as our tool dumping ground since the day we moved in almost two years ago. There were good days and there were bad days, but when the going got tough, the thought alone of hunting down the wood glue could dissuade me from starting a project at all!


Now, we do that ridiculous thing where we walk into the room and yell for the other – Kim! Come here! Look at how clean!, Scott says. The view from the kitchen is so good, that we’ve even been leaving the pocket door partially open; it’s a shame to keep that hard work behind a closed door:


The working side of our teeny shop space was built around our work bench flea find and is highlighted by an oversized DIY tool print.  An additional shelf above the thick butcher block holds spare fasteners and a charging station for our power tools and a small task lamp was mounted on the wall to allow for as much working space as possible. To the left, we crafted the perfect space to sketch our ideas and jot down weekend to-dos – the heart of the room, really!


Our wall-mounted vacuum has gotten so much use already, from small sanding projects to the dust we’ve accumulated while pulling this room together in the first place! Here, you can also catch a glimpse of our ladder, which is stashed on these heavy duty hooks, screwed right into the studs. I love that it’s completely out of the way both visually and physically, and Scott can just reach it to pull it down safely.


On the opposite side of the room, our floating shelves are handling all the heavy lifting! We spent an evening purging items for donation, sale or FREE! in the alley (alley finds: arguably a top 5 reason to live in Chicago!), and we stored the rest on the shelves for easy access. The larger black bins hold paint and tiling supplies, whereas the smaller cubbies are separated into tapes, glues, caulks and putty knives – to name a few.

Our newest obsession is this Vittles Vault pet food storage (bottom left), which is within reach of Jack and CC’s doggie dishes. It holds an entire bag of kibble, keeps it air tight, and we’re no longer fussing with massive bags that are impossible to seal between feedings!


The finishing touch for the room was this art I pulled together last week (fun and simple DIY to come). During those crazy days of demolition, you might remember that our contractor saved a handful of 100-year-old nails that were, at one point, holding up the roof over our head. These things are massive, and so, so awesome.


Having this indoor workshop is a game changer, no doubt. Better yet, it gave us a little taste of what’s to come once we tackle the garage – a space so horrific, it is quite literally what my nightmares are made of. (And yet, we can’t wait to get our hands on it!)

But first, can we please finish the kitchen?

Sources: Paint color: Stratton Blue by Ben Moore, color matched to Valspar / Work bench: flea find / Kraft paper roll: DIY (see here) / Tool art print: DIY (see + download here) / Small shelf: 2×8 + Ikea Valter brackets / Chalkboard skull: iamhome / Plant pot: Ikea / Oil can: thrifted / White task lamp: Ranarp, Ikea / Black stool: Overstock / Overhead light: flea find / Vacuum: Ace Hardware / Floating shelves: DIY (see here) / Small cube storage: Uline / Ladder storage: Wall mount hooks / Shadowbox frame for nail art: Crate & Barrel

PS… Thank you all a thousand times for your input on the Milo debate! You’ve given us way too much to think about, and I might have ordered even more fabric samples. We’ll get there eventually; we will.

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  • Mrs Limestone5.5.15 - 7:58 AM

    What an absolutely perfect space. I love everything about it. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi5.5.15 - 7:58 AM


  • Rachel5.5.15 - 8:01 AM

    It looks AWESOME! I am itching to do a project just looking at that space!!

    Also, we got Vittles Vaults like 6 months ago and they are AWESOME. Our two dogs eat different food so having those two big unsealed bags around was such a pain in the butt, and now the Vittles Vaults just stack in our kitchen and they are so convenient and awesome! Next step… super organized and fabulous workshop space! (haha, just kidding, I wish!)ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 9:54 AM

      Isn’t it the best? I didn’t think we’d be so excited about dog storage, but it’s better than bags and much better than the large tupperware we were constantly having to refill! Worth the money, for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Cait5.5.15 - 8:15 AM

    What a great space! Everything came together so well!

    And fingers crossed your kitchen door arrives soon!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ RatherSquare.com5.5.15 - 8:54 AM

    Cute and efficient use of space! Love the nail art. Am I correct that you don’t have a basement to store workshop things? If so, this is a great solution!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 9:50 AM

      That’s right – our basement is actually our garden rental unit. This is the only space we have for indoor garage-type storage stuff!ReplyCancel

  • KathleenC5.5.15 - 9:42 AM

    Your workspace is awesome! I love all the various organizational ideas, the ease of access, and the color… but what put it over the top for me was the framed nails.A great nod to both the bones of the original house and the today purpose of the space itself. LOVE IT!ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent5.5.15 - 10:34 AM

    The workshop turned out great! And the shelves look even better filled to the brim like they are than they did empty. Also, kudos for the creative storing options for the ladder + shop vac.

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

  • Jaime5.5.15 - 11:23 AM

    Beautiful space!!
    I am so glad you mentioned the dog food storage bins…I looked into it and have a feeling those are going to change my life. haha!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 11:49 AM

      They really are life changing. You won’t regret it!ReplyCancel

  • Julie R.5.5.15 - 11:42 AM

    I love your storage space! On the third shelf from the top, all the way to the right you have 6 stackable open storage containers. What brand are they? They look to be the perfect size to store all the extra odds and ends in a workshop. Can we have a close up of that?ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 11:49 AM

      They’re stackable plastic bins from Uline!

      They come in SO many sizes though:

      You can find similar products at Container Store, and I think you can find them online in limited sizes from Home Depot.ReplyCancel

      • Cait5.5.15 - 12:10 PM

        High five for Uline bins! I asked R to bring one of their catalogs home from work, and I have several pages dogeared for our shed and art room organization.

        I think a few sizes of Uline bins are also available on Amazon. Not sure whether pricing is better there or at HD, though.ReplyCancel

        • Kim5.5.15 - 12:14 PM

          There’s a bit of a give and take with Uline. We love them, as I use them for all of my shipping supplies with the Pet/Print Shops. However, their shipping is pretty expensive, because the only option is pretty much 1 day UPS! You get everything SO fast, but you pay for it.

          That said, I usually place a large order all at once. If you do a little comparison shopping, you may find them slightly cheaper elsewhere, but the size and color options are very limited. Uline has it all – it’s a one stop shop, and the time you save with finding it all in one place is worth the shipping, I feel!ReplyCancel

          • Cait5.5.15 - 12:51 PM

            I feel the same way! Sometimes you just have to pay for the convenience of getting everything in one place. I’ve got a mental tally going for the art room/shed so that we can place a large order soon.

  • The space looks so awesome and so functional! I can definitely see your vision and can’t wait to see what projects you tackle now that you have a dedicated space :) As expected, I’m definitely jealous of your organized space. Our workshop is FINALLY next on the list and I can’t wait!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura5.5.15 - 1:04 PM

    I’m loving those shelves – where did you get them? They look like they can handle a bunch of heavy duty stuff.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy5.5.15 - 1:09 PM

    I love this space and all your projects. Wish I was handy enough to transform my house. Thanks for the inspirations. I love your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Daniel @ Manhattan Nest5.5.15 - 1:18 PM

    You guyzzzz, you’re killing me! I could weep with jealousy…I did a major organization party in my basement with a bunch of shelving and bins and crap and was feeling all good but it ain’t cute at all, and here you went and made it all pretty and stuff. Show-offs!

    I have about a bazillion nails just like that at this point—the art is so cute! I have no idea what to do with all of mine…I just hoard them. Maybe I’ll rip off yours but MASSIVE. Only a little kidding. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 8:36 PM

      Yes, do it! I wish we had more to make the art HUGE, so you’ll have to take care of that for your home, please.ReplyCancel

  • Tina Slocum5.5.15 - 5:03 PM

    I would never leave this room! Love every single thing. BTW I love CC’s expression in the “before” photo like she’s saying “seriously?”. She has the best expressions.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren5.5.15 - 7:29 PM

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been feeling down about the state of our office since we moved in a month ago. I never had one before so it’s taking a while to come together! Thank you for reminding me that that’s ok, and we’ll get there in time. Looks awesome!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.5.15 - 8:35 PM

      If you really need to feel better, you should see our bedroom! It’s nothing more than a bed floating in the middle of what used to be a kitchen…ReplyCancel

  • I love the print of the tools you made. After you took the picture, where did you get it printed in that size?ReplyCancel

  • Shay5.7.15 - 1:17 AM

    I love the single bent nail in your art- great piece. The whole room looks so amazing. Not being able to find the sandpaper/ needle/ glue has definitely grounded projects for me as well. Working on that dream of everything in it’s place for myself!

    But the big question, is Jack ok?? I noticed the shaved tummy.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.7.15 - 9:07 AM

      Hi Shay, you’re so sweet for asking. Jack is doing okay… he had a pretty big health scare for the last several months, and he had to undergo a lot of testing and prodding in his poor puppy body. The GREAT news is that just last week, we were given the green light that he’s on the up and up! He’s one tough cookie. No more bi-monthly visits to the specialists! I’ll drink to that. (And we did, ha!)ReplyCancel

      • Shay5.7.15 - 5:23 PM

        That’s good to hear! Why are our pups so good at hiding what is wrong with them?

        We’re in a similar, but less severe boat with our sweet pibble boy. He has allergies which have been worse than before so he’s covered in hives, he got a skin infection a bit ago, and a recurring ear infection. He’s such a sad mess of a cuddle monster.

        This whole episode does nothing to help convince my husband that we need to adopt our boy a friend. I will keep using your pictures of Jack and CC to make my case though.ReplyCancel

        • Kim5.7.15 - 5:33 PM

          Aw, I’m so sorry to hear! Poor noodle.

          I will say that I can’t imagine Jack not having a C-ster in his life! It’s changed everything. These two were meant for each other. :)ReplyCancel

  • Marita5.12.15 - 7:24 AM

    The room looks fantastic! And that nail art is brilliant. Well done. So many clever decisions (ie your ladder placement). Your wall-mounted lamp has me thinking about whether this might be a better choice for our desk space. I love table lamps, but sometimes they take up precious surface area.ReplyCancel

  • JM9.28.20 - 3:01 PM

    hi! did you ever end up sharing how to make your nail art? I love it and have some similar nails left over from projects in our place ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.28.20 - 3:54 PM

      Oh, no, it looks like the article was deleted from the site I contributed to! I used thick cardstock and thin wire to keep them in place, tied in the back.ReplyCancel

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