published Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Sewing room makeover clears clutter problem, adds organization and efficiency

Doors were removed from the room’s former closet, far right, so that a custom shelving unit could be installed inside the space. The new shelves sit upon the base of a china cabinet, which was painted to match. A dining room table was repurposed into use as a cutting table in front of the window. Woven baskets and wooden boxes fill the closet unit and the freestanding shelving, at left, to organize and hide clutter.
Doors were removed from the room’s former closet, far right, so that a custom shelving unit could be installed inside the space. The new shelves sit upon the base of a china cabinet, which was painted to match. A dining room table was repurposed into use as a cutting table in front of the window. Woven baskets and wooden boxes fill the closet unit and the freestanding shelving, at left, to organize and hide clutter.
Photo by Doug Strickland.
  • photo
    Vickie Mason made the Irish chain quilt suspended above her sewing table.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    A decorative basket and bird in Vickie Mason’s sewing room.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

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    Drawers of the former china cabinet base, now the bottom of a built-in storage unit, hold thread, scissors and other sewing notions.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

For six years, Vickie Mason used a small guest bedroom in her Ringgold, Ga., home as her sewing room. But with the only storage space being a closet with one hanging rod, the avid quilter and seamstress says growing piles of fabrics, patterns and other sewing notions began to turn her work area into "a stacked mess."

So she led interior decorator Margie Burgin into the room and commissioned a makeover.

"This looks like a mess," Mason told her friend. "I want organization. I want a cute place to sew."

When not working at NHC Healthcare in Fort Oglethorpe, where she is a physical therapist, Mason spends anywhere from four to 12 hours a week sewing or quilting. She began sewing in junior high school and has been quilting for 15 years.

"I made all my own clothes, made all my children's clothes until they reached the age they didn't want to wear clothes their mom made anymore. Then I started quilting, but I've started making clothes for girls again since my grandchildren were born," she says.

With the focus of the makeover to increase storage and organize the craft room, Burgin began the redesign by installing two built-in shelving units. By rearranging and repurposing furniture, she also opened up floor space so the 10- by 11-foot room feels more spacious and open.

Here's the pattern for this sewing room makeover. Their ideas could easily be replicated in any craft room.

• First, Mason and Burgin kept the room's original khaki-colored walls and taupe carpeting. Not only was the wall color easy on the eyes for any length of time, the neutral shade didn't clash with the myriad colors of fabrics Mason used in her hobby. To further enhance the khaki color, the pair mounted one of Mason's large quilts in earth tones as a wall hanging.

• The base of a china cabinet, which contained eight drawers, was moved into the bedroom's closet to become the base of a built-in unit with 12 shelves. Burgin says they removed the closet doors so the door frame became the frame for the built-in and the width and depth of the closet set the dimensions for the shelving.

• A second shelving unit was built in a matching design on the opposite side of the room. This free-standing unit has six shelves of varying sizes atop a set of drawers. All the shelving was built by Mike Atkins of Affordable Kitchens in Flintstone, Ga.

• A cutting table was positioned in front of the room's window to make use of its natural lighting. The women used a former dining room table, took out the leaves and raised its height by lengthening the legs. Now the table surface stands about 40 inches off the floor, says Burgin. The table, the china-cabinet-turned-shelving-base and all the shelving units were painted the same dark stain.

• A variety of woven baskets fill the built-ins' shelves and cubbyholes, keeping clutter off tables and hidden from view. For visual interest, Burgin contrasted woven baskets with wooden boxes tinted in a soft aquamarine wash.

• Mason's large sewing table was centered against one end wall as its focal point. Above it hangs a purple, black and white quilt she made in an Irish chain pattern and depicting bees pollinating flowers.

• A large board -- on which Mason can pin pattern pieces or fabric swatches to determine their placement in the final piece -- was mounted on an end wall within a narrow, recessed alcove of the room. The small space also has room for her large, free-standing sewing hoop and frame.

• Burgin custom-designed an arched cornice board for the room's window. It is covered in burlap and monogrammed in soft aqua. Finishing touches include the addition of a TV in the shelving unit nearest the sewing table, an oversized pair of shears hung between two mirrored frames and a decorative lamp with burlap shade on the cutting table.

"She made it look so nice that now when I come in I don't feel like I should shut the door," Mason laughs. "Sometimes I come in here when I'm not even sewing. I may just come in and sit and look at patterns and books. I just love being around fabrics."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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