Sunday, March 10, 2013

A pretty white light filled organised creative space


Welcome to my new creative work space.

Keep on reading and I will share my secrets with you and show how with jut $15, five minutes a day and items you already have around the house you too can have a fabulously clean, organised and gorgeous craft room.

Yup that is a total is the real story :)

Once upon a time I had no kids and a clean house, then I had some kids and I started to make cakes and blog and my mess and clutter totally won. It was not a happily ever after.

I knew I had to throw everything out or get some serious storage.

So I turned my formal dining room into a kinda extension of our kitchen which can be used for a study or creative space, or even extra kitchen. We never used it anymore because we have a breakfast room and outdoor dining area and hello did you see that before picture was unusable.

I was redoing the kitchen anyway (I have a post coming up next month on the kitchen) so I had Craftbuilt Kitchens pop in an extra wall of storage into the old formal dining room with a built in desk, open shelving and pull out shelves inside the cupboards. We ripped up the old beige sisal and popped down some new flooring.

I'm not quite sure if the before and after photo's do the makeover justice but there is such a different feel to the room now.

See look here it is through the doorway to the kitchen, I know I could have removed the wall, but I wanted a separate space for me.

Although the room was always quite light, removing the sheer curtains, painting the walls white (instead of the previous light blue) and the removal of the carpet has made it feel cleaner, more open with increased natural light.

Plus there is lots and lots of storage so all that mess is hidden away. I'm not saying that stuff is easier to find, my mess had a method to it and I knew where everything was, well mostly. But the access is way better and now everything has a space and that means it's easier to keep the clutter at bay.

Also I added lots of pretty details so I have incentive to keep it looking good.

In the corner I already had a little Ikea Billy bookcase with glass doors that I stored my cookies cutters and fondant tools in and it worked fine, plus it mostly matched so I decided to keep it as I was working within a budget. But I did pick up a cute and relatively inexpensive plate rack from Ikea to finish off the corner.

Cute huh!

Side story at one of my baking demonstrations someone commented that I get a lot of stuff from Ikea which is true. All I have to say to that is free child minding obviously works as an incentive for me.

Now I know some of you are thinking it's a bit white. I did consider popping some wall paper behind the plate rack, on the backs of the open shelves and glass front cupboards and also the area above the desk. But if I hate the wallpaper in a couple of months time I'll be stuck with it for a while this way I can just change around the accessories and update it whenever I like. That's not to say  I won't change my mind next week and pop in some wallpaper, but for now white is right for me.

Also I hear you, what is with that depressing ceiling light! Well there is a story to the light. I actually bought a fabulous 30% lead crystal chandelier to pop up in the new space which was TOTALLY gorgeous. But according to my electrician it seems most people actually like to walk around without ducking or hitting their heads so he didn't install it. Sometimes I get carried away and don't think through the little stuff. By the way if anyone has seen any beautiful flush fit chandeliers make sure to let me know - really I need to know :)

Anyhoo back to the storage, now I have draws for all my stuff. I have a draw for sprinkles:

The sprinkles are sitting on little wavy racks from Ikea that don't quite fit into the draw flat so they sit on a nice angle. There is a bit of space underneath the top back that I can store other things that I don't access often. I know that there are more space effective ways of storing sprinkles, but this room is not just a storage cuboard it's a creative space and opening the sprinkle draw makes me happy. Yes I do have more sprinkles in other spots, many, many, many more sprinkles.

I have a draw for piping bags and ziplock bags.

Seriously this one has changed my life. For some reason before I had the Wilton bags stored in one spot, the cheaper ones stored in another spot, the box of Kee-seal large bags on a roll (pictured at the back of the draw) in the back of my cupboard and the ziplock stacked up somewhere else. It doesn't look like much but I love this draw. If you are wondering why I need so many different types of piping bags that will take a whole post on it's own :)

A draw for piping tips, fondant cutters and tools and stuff....

A draw for paper doilies and brown paper bags.

I have no sensible excuse for this one, but it's good to be able to find the paper bags for the kids tuckshop at a moments notice, oh and there are business cards at the back - so it's not just totally paper doilies.

I have a draw for ribbon and twine which needs a lot of work. I have another large box of ribbon somewhere and twine and paper ribbon squirreled away in other spots. My ribbon storage needs more work. I do have a ribbon detangle plan underway.

There are lots of pull out shelves, these ones hold big click clack containers of almond meal, bitter sweet chocolate, white chocolate, lindt milk chocolate, hazelnute meal.......y'know that stuff that I always use in my super delicious recipes. Also rolled fondant, more sprinkles, candy melts, modelling chocolate, pouring fondant, food colors...the decorating essentials.  There is lots of stuff in here, it used to be stored in big plastic storage bins underneath my dining table covered by the tablecloth. It was hard to access this stuff when I needed it in the old system.

Pull out shelving rocks - just saying.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and I came in within a couple of hundred dollars of the original budget for the whole kitchen renovation. Here are some hints and extra information:

- have lots of pictures from magazines or pintrest of kitchens that you like. A lot of the kitchens I picked had different features but they all had similar profile doors and a bright airy whiteness. When I was being swayed towards other options I went back to these pictures and refocused on what I wanted.

- do it your way. I got a marble look laminate top instead of natural stone or some other fancy bench top, mostly because I am messy and use lots of stainy type food colour. The profile doors were a lot extra than plain doors but I was willing to pay extra. That was for me, it was something I wanted, however if you love natural products but couldn't give a hoot about the know what you have to do.

- research appliances, draw options and other nifty gadgets before hand. But only get it if you need it, every extra thing adds $$$. Note: as mentioned above pull out draws and pantries are awesome.

- Get a few quotes and different designs, of course. Price is important but so is the feeling you get for how the company does business. I had one of the biggish flatpack places that offers interest free come out. Wow they are hard sell. At the start I said I had other people coming to quote, so after drawing up the design she priced it and then said she would call her boss to see what the best price they could do if I signed up today on the spot. I said I can't do that I still have quotes to come, she said I'm going to do it, I said but I can't sign today I have more quotes coming, she said but we have a one time special today, I said please don't (really I used those words 'please don't)....despite my plea she called up and gave me a nearly 30% on the spot discount if I signed NOW. Obviously we did not go with that business.

- Tell the designers drawing up your design your budget, everyone that quoted mostly worked to my budget, they gave me options of what I could cut to get the stuff I really wanted. The places I had come out all included the labour costs e.g. electrical, installation, plastering so there were no hidden costs later.

- Have an idea of what you need to store. For example I have some really tall items so I needed some of the shelves to be double the normal height in the cupboards. You want that sorted out before you install fixed shelves. Alternately make the shelves movable.

- I really wanted those handles (CLICK HERE for link). The kitchen design took a couple of hours, finding the handles I wanted took a couple of weeks. As it turns out they were from Ikea. The kitchen store had round silver pull handles that might have matched for the overheads but I felt they were too big or small, I found the ones I ended up using at Big W (discount department store) they were $26 for a pack of 6.

- I liked Sue the consultant that designed my kitchen, she was sensible and warned me about possible issues without trying to sway me to change. The last thing I do each night before going upstairs is wipe down sticky little fingerprints from the handles and dust the little ledges of the profile doors that catch everything - but I knew that going in and I would still choose them again.

- Cupboards up to the ceiling mean no dusting the tops and extra storage. Craftbuilt included and arranged the cornices and plastering in the installation.

- The chair is one of the old dining chairs painted white with the seat recovered in Tilda fabric. I have repurposed the dining table and remaining chairs in the kids craft room. If your on my facbook page you might have helped me out with voting on which you preferred - white or blue. I am actually going to paint one in sea foam (light mint green) next.......if the rain ever stops here.

- The toile curtains and pelment were already in place, I had them custom made at Curtain Elegance years ago. I really wanted new curtains but they still look so good I can't replace them.

- There are built in lights under the open shelves above the desk area. A power point behind the kitchen aid, under the desk and an area in the cupboard that I use to recharge stuff. I like those nifty power points that pull out of the desk like a little tower then push down flush but it's not practical if I'm going to be cooking stuff in this area.

and I'm sitting right here typing this post up - your seeing exactly what I am seeing.

So now I've had this creative space for a couple of months I can honestly say it is way easier to keep clean. Also I have been inspired to declutter other areas in the house.

Is it my happily ever after? Well I'm happy right now and that's all I can ask for, oh and maybe a flush chandelier :)

Shop the Details

The wall is 4.6 meters (over 15 feet) long so there is a lot of cupboard space.
All up the shelving, installation, electrical, plastering etc. cost around $8,500.
Cabinets, installation - Craftbuilt Kitchens
Handles - Ikea and Big W
Fabric on Chair - Tilda similar from Fabric Traders
Pink and Blue folders in overhead cupboards - Bantex
Sprinkle organisaiton - Ikea
Plate rack - Ikea
Most of the display stone wear and tins are Greengate
Mint Camera Bag - Missy Mint by Jo Totes mine from Cambags

Hey check out this bag - it's a camera bag with little inserts to keep your camera and lens etc safe but I love it because it has a super section for my laptop. I picked this one up at Cambags in Australia. If your in the US try Jo Totes.

Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores:

Link to Amazon:

Or at Fishpond (free shipping Australia)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! 


  1. Wow...this looks amazing! I would love to be able to have an area set up like this. So pretty :)

    1. Thanks so much @Carlasueeatsweet I am enjoying the space, but it did get pretty bad before I could convince Mr Sweet to ditch our dining room :)

  2. Oh my goodness Linda, that looks incredible! I'd love a space like yours. It looks so clean and uncluttered! Mine looks like your before picture! :P

  3. This is a beautiful, inspiring space. I love the cabinetry - it is exactly what I would have picked too! I will be pinning your photos so that if I ever get to design my own creative sewing space, I can use it to inspire me too. Enjoy!!!!

  4. Thank you so much for all you have shared here. I'm ready to move in now if you still want me :-))

    Really, don't you just sometimes want to see what everyone keeps in their drawers? I think it is all so did a great job. I know you will keep it nice and neat as you bake and cook away. However, please post one messy day so we know you are still human like your readers.

  5. Wow!!!! I would walk in everyday and just exhale with complete happiness!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. wow this looks awesome. this would be a happy dream for me :) great job!

  7. Wow, I don´t have any words to say you that it´s great and fantastic. A dream become true! :)

  8. you have so much equipment and utensils for deocarting cakes! im so envious! lovely new workstation! so cute!

  9. I've said it in person, but I'll say it again...such a gorgeous space Linda. Totally jealous of all that white! : )

  10. Linda, I am so jealous, uh, I mean inspired:) Your new space is so very pretty, crisp and clean! I love the soft colors. Everything about it is so YOU! I actually am inspired though, to declutter, paint and organize! Very lovely.

  11. This is gorgeous Linda! I'm so jealous. There are so many aspects I've imagined for my own dream kitchen and work space, I'm looking for a new house at the moment so maybe one day those dreams will come true. Love the white, the pastels, the sprinkle drawer!!

  12. This so fabulous, so magazine gorgeous. I absolutely love it. We bought a house a year ago and I am still looking at ugly kitchen counters paralyzed by not being able to make a decision about what to do first. This is inspirational and a beautiful space so worthy of all your lovely creative treats. Bravo.

  13. vicki from in.cube8rMarch 13, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    such an inspirational blog!! Pinned & LOVED!!!

  14. oh my gowd. Im in love with you, your home and your lovely blog!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I love that you left it on this post which I took a bit of time to write and reflects my personality and also shows some of my flaws Xx