A Backyard Garage Becomes an Artist's Studio

See how a slipcover maker turned a backyard garage into an industrial-chic sewing studio.

Photo By: BOB FARLEY/F8PHOTO.ORG, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: BOB FARLEY/F8PHOTO.ORG, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley/f8Photo

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley/f8Photo

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley/f8FPhoto, Bob Farley ©Bob Farley

The Sewing Shack

Michelle Reynolds is a very talented slipcover maker and frequent contributor to DIY Network’s Made and Remade blog. She gave us a deluxe tour of her quaint-yet-funky studio — check out our photos along with captions from Michelle.

The studio (a.k.a. — the sewing shack) is a fairly new structure that was built to blend in with the 1927 Spanish-style house that it sits behind. But they’re not a perfect match; the sewing shack – designed by architect Anthony Oliver -- was given a bit of a modern vibe with its metal roof and glass garage door.

Balance of Style

The acid-stained concrete, a glass rollup door, and galvanized metal light fixtures add industrial touches to the cozy-style rustic beams and vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling. My homemade curtains, appliqued fabric art and varying shades of green add warmth to the white-washed walls of the sewing shack.

Curtains

Metal hardware and a galvanized chain-link fencepost made the perfect hanging rod for the $10 coverlets that I turned into curtains. I hung the curtains high enough to hide the mechanics of the glass wall.

Window Treatment Mechanics

Twill tape and recycled bead-chain allowed me to turn coverlets into curtains with an industrial twist. The chains glide with ease over the fence-post curtain rod.

Potting Bench Project Table

This was my first cutting table. I removed the galvanized tabletop and replaced it with my travel laminate cutting board. Whenever I need to cut out a sofa slipcover, I simply pick up the laminate top and take it with me. The bench also serves as a project-holding table and supply storage.

Sewing Notions

The upper tier of the potting bench worktable holds sewing notions, grid shelves and a holder for markers and pencils.

Catch Alls

Metal buckets from the hardware store's paint aisle are inexpensive, just the right size for various notions, and I love the way they look.

Clips and Ideas

I am always snipping out pictures from magazines, things that might inspire me to make an art quilt. Of course it is the snake here I find intriguing.

Little Tool Caddies

Grid shelves and a pencil cup hook right on to the grid panel of the project table. They hold all of my markers, chalk, scissors and more.

Zipper Holder

I repurposed a scrolled-metal towel rack into a zipper organizer and holder. This way, the right-size slipcover zipper is always within my sight and reach.

Idea Board

I love my magnetic inspiration board. It is made from an industrial kitchen shelf. It allows me to keep projects organized and neat.

Cutting Table

Rolls of piping, bins of scrap fabrics and a home sewing machine fit neatly on and under the shelf of the worktable. The wide tabletop provides plenty of room for cutting fabric. The legs of the worktable are heavy-duty and adjustable. Adding casters gives a little extra height and adds to the ease of moving the table for cleaning behind.

Tough Work Surface

A laminate tabletop with bullnose edging is a nice smooth surface for rolling out fabric, and it is sturdy enough to stand up to daily abuse from scissors.

Acid-Stained Floor

A DIY fail became a DIY win. When using acid to stain concrete floors, you are supposed to use a sprayer without metal parts because acid rusts metal. Oops, my sprayer had a metal part in the tip of the nozzle, so it sprayed bits of rust along with the acid all over the concrete floor. Happy accident! I just love the way the brown flecks look amongst the many shades of green.

Pattern Storage Cabinet

I bought a chest of drawers at a flea market, painted it real funky, attached some cool scrolled metal pulls to it, and now I use it as a pattern box. The cabinet also holds my thread and a few small projects in various stages. On top, metal and wood storage bins hold paint, brushes, pins, needles, bits of ribbon and twill tape.

Pattern Drawers

I make all of my patterns out of fabric. They don't wear out as quickly as paper patterns do. I file all the patterns in drawers of the dresser.

Fabric Art Flower

These flower fabric art wall hangings were the first pastiche pieces I ever made. I'm glad they didn't sell because the colors are perfect in the studio, and it is nice to have a reminder of where I started.

Snake Tablecloth

When I started working in the new space, I found I needed a table behind my sewing machine to lay all of my pinned panels just before I sew them together, so I bought a cheap plastic gate-leg table and made a canvas fitted tablecloth for it. The cloth was boring so I appliqued a snake made of fabric scraps onto the cloth.

Shop Snake

I have several snakes to keep me company as I sew, but this large shop snake hanging over the door and reaching nearly the width of the sewing shack, is my favorite by far. It all started with the eye. I cut the piece out thinking it would be a perfect snake eye -- "but dang, that's gonna be a big snake!"

More Snake Art

I found a piece of fabric that looked like snakeskin, so of course I had to make a snake out of it.

Desert Flora

Besides snakes, I also love succulents. It is only natural that I make fabric art of the things I love. Here, a snake ornament hangs next to a wall hanging with an agave, cactus and echeveria.

The Industrial Workhorse

I have had this industrial Singer 31-15 sewing machine for 28 years. I am not sure how old it is but it is one big hunk of metal that will plow through anything. I love the metallic paint on the machine. I picked the colors for my studio floor and trim to go well with the colors of the machine and table. My dog's bed also matches well.

Tiny Dancer

The Hawaiian man was a gift. Instead of the dash of the car, I like him to dance, shimmy and shake on the industrial serger table.

Tools of The Trade

Metal and plastic bobbins and spools of thread litter every surface of the shop.

Corner Desk

An old-school iMac sits on my tall desk. When I get tired of sitting, I can stand up. It is just the right height to write and accomplish office work comfortably. A haint-blue bird wall hanging and a folk art snake keep me company as I type.

Wood Snake

I had a piece of birch plywood leftover from when my walls were installed, so I painted a folk art snake on it and nailed it to the wall in front of my tall desk.

Practical Storage

A simple assemble-yourself shelving unit made of galvanized metal and particleboard fits just right in the corner and it holds a lot of bins and things. The space between the shelving and the worktable houses many fabric rolls.

Backdrop

My photographer husband periodically uses my space for shooting pictures of either my work or portraits of his clients. Our dog Lulu likes to have her picture taken.

Photography Studio Too

A chain-link fence post hanging across the rollup door tracks makes a perfect photography backdrop as well as a place to hang my story quilts and wall hangings when I am getting them photographed or just to get them off the floor as I work.

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