Fancy Tiger's Crafty Cute Shop and Classroom

Workspace Tour

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Name: Fancy Tiger Crafts
Location: 59 Broadway, Denver, Colorado
Size: 4,000 square feet
Years worked in: 2 years

Fancy Tiger Crafts is kind of like a knitwear wonderland. With wall to wall shelves of wool and felt yarns being stocked by lovely ladies in hand-crafted sweaters, it's definitely a place a shopper can really escape to for a while. But it's not just a great little shop: it's a community classroom for sewers, knitters and crafters of all skill levels.

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Owners Jaime and Amber each had plans to open their own craft and yarn shops, so they decided to double their talents and combine their concepts. The result is an open space with a respect for the old, like a lovely Nebraskan windmill which is used as a fan, surrounded by the newest in crafty creations.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern Mercantile.

Inspiration: Farms, prairie school houses, the old west — we wanted to reference back to when crafting was part of everyday pioneer life, while keeping it clean and modern. We brought in farm elements such as our stable bathroom doors, windmill fan, and rustic wood tables.

Favorite Element: Hand painted signs throughout by local illustrator and sign painter Eric Johnson.

Biggest Challenge: Working within our budget but still creating a beautiful and inspiring space. (This seems like everyone’s challenge, right?!) Our current challenge is keeping the classroom organized with so many folks using it. We are always brainstorming new ways to make it easier to keep organized.

What Friends Say: Customers seem to love it! Anyone who remembers our first tiny space — where we spent 6 years with our sewing studio in the basement —is blown away by the space!

Biggest Embarrassment: Our rustically adorable sink that embarrassingly still doesn’t work right.

Proudest DIY: The windmill fan made from an old Nebraska windmill. We sourced it from a Windmill Parts store.

Biggest Indulgence: Skylights throughout the space and beautiful stained oak hardwood floors.

Best Advice: The best part of designing this space was that we had been open and working in a space for six years, so we knew exactly what we wanted and needed for the best functionality. Then we picked a few select things to splurge on to make the space special.

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Resources of Note:

HARDWARE (technical goods, ie computers)

Sewing machines and sergers are all Janome. We use the 500 Sewist series for all our classes.

FURNITURE

We had all the display pieces, community table and cash wrap custom built for the retail shop by Morgan Briskey. We designed them all and love each piece. We were able to pick out the reclaimed wood for our two huge tables (one display table at the front and our big community table in the back). For the classroom, we built the machine shelf along the wall ourselves. We used pipes to construct our quilt rack and pattern hanging rack areas. Our cutting tables are just packing tables from Uline (shh…). They are heavy, so we put them on wheels for easy transformation of the space to accommodate different types of classes.

ACCESSORIES

The hot pink crocheted deer was made by local crochet artists, Ladies Fancywork Society. It is probably the most photographed element in our shop - kids and adults love it! The antique crazy quilt on the wall was found at the Goodwill next door and is dated 1900. The wallpaper is from Anthropologie. The cheesy faux fireplace was reclaimed from the previous tenants of the building. Our contractors thought we were nuts to salvage it, but what yarn shop would refuse the opportunity of a fireplace? The quilt hanging in the classroom changes as we finish new quilts. The one currently hanging is Amber’s Four Winds quilt and is our newest pattern.

LIGHTING

There is a lot of lighting so we wanted to go super efficient. For the retail space we used led lights and for the sewing studios it’s just fluorescent lighting - having ample light is crucial when crafting. We put in four large skylights in the retail space which adds lots of fantastic natural light throughout the space - especially with all this Colorado sunshine.

FLOORING

For the retail space we have a stained oak floor. This was splurge at 2,000 square feet and pretty much used up our flooring budget so we had to go with a basic, cheap and durable VCT tile in the main sewing studio. In order to make it better, we designed a fair-isle geometric design inspired by knitting patterns. The “yellow” sewing studio had original concrete floors which was just refinished.

ART

Hand lettered signs by Eric Johnson, Crochet deer by Ladies Fancywork Society.

VINTAGE

Classroom chairs around our community table are vintage school chairs from DPS (Denver Public Schools) and our knitting needles are all displayed in an old card-catalog from a University of Colorado auction. We have a large pew for additional seating in our community space that was given to us by Morgan Briskey.

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Thanks, Fancy Tiger Crafts!

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(Image credits: Elizabeth Giorgi)

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Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.