What I’m Working On….

If you read my blog post on Thursday evening last week, you’ll know I watched a video of Lori Holt’s sewing room tour.  HERE’s the link to that post if you missed the video, it’s all there…  I was in a hurry that day and very in the thick of things and didn’t have everything firmed up for my plans for the sewing room but I knew whatever was going to happen was going to happen NOW.

Ever since we moved to the house I’ve struggled with my sewing room.  Nothing clicked.  Nothing felt good so I muddled along and made the best of it.  In the back of my mind, it REALLY bothered me though.

This spring you might remember I started waging a war on my sewing room.  I was fixing it and that was all there was to it.  I started in my closet and made amazing progress there.

I’m very happy with my closet.  I don’t think I could like it any more than I already do.  It is EXACTLY what I had in mind when I was looking for a way to organize it.

From there I went to the main room.  I wasn’t happy.  It didn’t feel put together.  I couldn’t see my way through it.  Time passed.  I was back in my slump.  As I’d sew I’d consider this or that.  Did I need as many machines?  The girls and I don’t sew together anymore.  They have babies and sewing together isn’t in the cards right now.  Maybe downsizing and selling my Singer 99, might help.  I thought about that and yes, I was willing to sell that machine but it still didn’t solve the problem.  It’s so hard having machines in cabinets and machines, not in cabinets.

I knew I likely wouldn’t be able to get completely away from plastic storage drawers like these but I really wanted to move away from them.  They are super handy, priced reasonably, but not the look I was going for.

After watching Lori Holt’s video, here are a few things that stuck in my mind…

I could eliminate some of the plastic totes.  I could remove some furniture.  I could utilize dressers.  I could remove my ironing board.  Mostly, I could make an island….

and the very next day, the plans went into motion.  I went to the thrift store and found many things… Including these two dressers.  They were $40 for the one on the left..and $50 for the one on the right.

Wednesday night after getting these, I took a pad and paper along with a tape measure and started plotting the room.

The one on the right is going to be my ironing station.  I’m not going to keep an ironing board up anymore.  Rarely do I iron a full quilt in my sewing room.  I always take them downstairs and iron them.  Typically it’s because my ironing board is filled with STUFF and I can’t get to it.  Also, it’s because I typically save that as something I can do when the grandkids are napping.

Wednesday night after getting these, I took a pad and paper along with a tape measure and started plotting the room.

But then I got stuck again….I loved Lori Holt’s look.  That was totally right for her.  But, not for me.  I’m not a bright girl like Lori is.  What could I do-what could my color scheme be that was right for me?

Then I thought red of course.  I need some red.  It’s my favorite color…I didn’t want to paint everything red though.  Then I hit on charcoal.  I love charcoal…so everything will be dark wood, charcoal, or red.

Here are my plans…

The ironing station will be something like this…


This is the rough drawing of the island.  The top picture is how it would look from an ariel view.  The 49 1/2″ x 18″ area is where the desk will be underneath.  The island will hang over two inches on each side making the counter 53 1/2″ wide.

I want to butt my Singer 15-91 that is in a cabinet up to the island to make a rectangle.  The length of the 15-91 when it is open is going to determine the length of the island.  That length was 58″.  So the countertop I need for the island will be 53 1/2″ x 58″.


If you look at the drawing with the dresser included you can see that the dresser will be one end and table legs will be at the other end.  The Singer will be on the side where it says 58″.

Can you believe that I “happened” to find two dressers on the same day and they “happened” to be the exact height I needed?  One taller for an ironing station, one shorter for a sewing height island.  It was EXACTLY what I needed!!  When things happen like that, when I find what I need at a price I can afford, it reinforces my belief that someone is watching out for me!

Thursday Kalissa and I went to Waterloo and I ordered a countertop for the island…and I got supplies.  I am so EXCITED!!  Seriously, everything finally clicked.

This dresser is the one that is going to be the ironing station.  Stop back later this week because I already have it painted and upstairs.  I have to make the top for it.  I’ll write a post and tell you all about it!


I am chalk painting LOTS of things.  I know some people are not big on chalk paint…I like it to unify pieces that aren’t of high value as is.  Like the dresser above.  As is, it’s a mess and not worth much.  Just wait until you see it chalk painted!!

I ended up using this chalk paint.  I was a little nervous about it as in the past I’ve only used Annie Sloan.  I LOVED this….It’s MUCH cheaper too.  It is Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Charcoal.

I used this over the top…


This process was easier than Annie Sloan paint.  I’ll tell you more about that coming up.  The reason I went with this paint…  I was trying to do one-stop shopping.  I’m so glad I tried it.  I’ll be using it for future projects for sure!

As I said, nothing in the sewing room is sacred.  Many things are getting an updo including this piano bench that my plant stand sits on.


I stopped at Joann’s and got some fabric to redo the sewing chairs.  It’s a farmhouse print I’m excited about.


I also got ironing board fabric.

In light of going with my color scheme, I ended up ordering this for a countertop…This is old mill oak from Menards.  The top will be in a couple of weeks.

Wilsonart Old Mill Oak 7973K-12 4X8 Soft Grain Finish Vertical Grade  Laminate Sheet - Top Cabinet Hardware
I talked to Buck and he promised me a day of coming to help get things all together.  In the meantime, I am going to fix and do as much I can while I wait for the countertop to come in and then Buck to come.

I am just thrilled!!  I feel like it’s all finally coming together and the best news of all, it’s not going to be super expensive as everything so far, besides the countertop, is something I already had or something I got reasonably priced at the thrift store.

You will be so surprised by how many things I found quickly, that were inspired by Lori Holt’s video.  I can’t wait to show you all that is to come!!  It’s going to be a fun month watching it all come together!!

26 thoughts on “What I’m Working On….

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Great finds and I’m looking forward to seeing it all put together and finished!! Love your farm fabric for your chairs!!!

  2. Roxanne

    This is most exciting! It’s the biggest Dirty Dozen UFO you’ve got and it’s really happening! I’m cheering you on and looking forward to the reveal!

  3. Hedy

    How wonderful! I bought bare wood cabinets and extended counter top from Menards and just Love it. Looking forward to seeing your reveal.

  4. pat

    There is nothing better than having a happy space to be creative in. I think its going to look fabulous. Can’t wait to see

  5. Cindy in NC

    I’m so excited so see your chalk painting projects, Jo. I’ve been experimenting with Rustoleum chalk paint by painting picture frames. In fact, I posted about that today on IG (carolinacajuncreates). I think Floetrol, which minimizes the brush lines in chalk paint, makes the job a lot easier. I got a quart size bottle for less than $8 from Walmart (online).

  6. Stearns Carol

    Can’t wait to see the finished product! I used to do this kind of stuff in a room program online in my design business. Measure everything and place it and it works.

  7. Susan Q

    I’m excited for you Jo! There is nothing better than having a sewing room that you love being in! I can’t wait to see the next blog post on your sewing room journey

  8. Kim J LeMere

    I cant wait to see how this turns out and I do like the color of the chalk paint and the fabric for the chairs is perfect. Lucky you to be able to get it done and so affordable. I watched her video and she did some really smart things in her small space, like rounding the corners.

  9. Cindy F

    So excited for you and can’t wait to see it! I watched the video and Lori Holt’s room was charming. She had a lot packed into her room! I’m continuing to work on my room but have been stuck in trying to decide whether or not ro remove some built in shelving. I guess the bottom line is whether or not it’s working for me. I already took out a closet…what’s a little more demolition? lol

  10. Colleen

    I loved Lorie ‘s room also but she loved to match her fabric line. I just bought a machine that makes me look at my room. How can I use my space efficiently ??

  11. Jill Klop

    I’m so excited for you! I can relate to putting things on the ironing board! I have one of the older brown wood tables in my sewing room that I covered with batting and that silver-ish fabric for ironing boards. Now the tables are plastic, but they used to be wood. Anyway, I love it as an ironing surface, but I do pile stuff on it! Can’t wait to see your room all put together! I can feel how exciting that you are!

  12. nancy weller

    I discovered Lori Holt this weekend and could not sleep after thinking about her storage system and her sewing room. I am coming up with a plan for today and hope things fall in as easily as yours have. Thanks for more inspiration. Can’t wait to get started and to see how you come along with yours.

  13. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, I have a small travel ironing board that I use to press my quilt pieces it tucks neatly under my sewing center on top of my plastic fabric containers at just the right height and so convenient. I have a largish corner desk set up that hold my machines, my cutting area, and lots of my fabrics. Convenience all the way. Do glad you’re able to get what you wanted/ needed to make your sewing room truly yours.

  14. SusanfromKentucky

    Can’t wait to see the reveal! I can see how excited you are about this. Wish I didn’t have such a tiny room for my sewing space, but it is what it is. If I had somewhere else to move some of the furniture pieces in here, it would be much nicer.
    Had no idea Cindy from NC was Cindy @carolinacajuncreates. I follow and comment on her instagram posts all the time. She has such great posts! I keep telling her she needs to become a writer!

  15. Joy

    Looking forward to seeing your progress! We have an old dresser in an outbuilding that I’ve been wanting to turn into an entertainment center but I think I like the idea of using it for an ironing station and fabric storage better. I’ve never been a fan of chalk paint but I think I’ll look into it as my dresser isn’t a good candidate for refinishing the natural wood.

  16. Cathy

    So excited for you!!! How fun when everything falls into place. It will feel so good and it will be your happy place!!
    Love your ideas and cant wait to see the finished room.
    More inspiration for me too!!

  17. Beryl in Owatonna

    You certainly have e thinking!! I love your ideas. I have been on a waiting list for an apartment for nearly a year and a half. It will be one bedroom…small. I will have to make that room my bedroom and my sewing room. I have a couple of book cases that are about six feet tall, maybe I should paint them and a couple of cabinets with doors…they could all be painted to match. I am thinking of getting a twin bed with underbed drawers thus eliminating a dresser or chest of drawers. The room is about 9 x 11, Not spacious at all! But all of the ideas from the video and seeing what you are doing has me thinking. At least the room would coordinate and not be such a mess. I am anxious to see what else you do!! You may be inheriting some of my stash too. Thanks for all of the thoughts!!

  18. Robin

    The anitcipation of your new room is worse than Bonnie Hunter’s Black Friday reveal. I can’t stand the wait! Everything is coming along great for you. You are such an inspiration to me.

  19. Debra

    I had a dresser given to me years ago. I originally had it for fabric storage but after re-deciding on how I want my room to look I took it out and painted it white and the drawer fronts a medium gray. I added different glass drawer knobs and then decided I didn’t want a regular ironing board any longer. Got rid of that and added the longer/wider board I made a couple of years ago to the top of the dresser. Of course that meant making a new cover for the board! I also ordered fabric for new drapes and lined them with darkening fabric……..man is it dark in there! But I love it and now have an old sewing cabinet in the works to repaint and put to use. Wish I could send a picture I am just loving my room coming together.

  20. Lori Genther

    My room is in progress too! Have you considered using a bookcase instead of the table legs? I’ve seen that done a lot and It’s like a bonus few shelves!

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