Natalie's Extra Small & Extra Large Workspaces

Workspace Tour

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Name: Natalie Wright
Location: Lehi, Utah
Size: 2,400 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years

Impressive! I work from a converted closet myself, but this might be the first time I've seen a closet-turned-home-office designed to accommodate for two inside such a small space. Natalie's compact closet workspace was designed as the preface to a larger story, with a larger work studio companion space offering a little more elbow space when required...

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Creating a home office in any space requires careful planning and considerations related to equipment, square footage, and ergonomics. But reduce the usable space down to a closet and the challenge increases tenfold, where the factors of utility, necessity, and comfort all vie for attention. Natalie was able to balance the equation of her small space problem with a surprising amount of storage overhead and below a floating desk for two, mixing in her love of vintage accessories with her array of modern day tech tools suited for a photographer and blogger.

But Natalie wasn't finished quite yet. Where some would relegate the garage for parking the family ride or as a catch-all storage room, Natalie cleaned out and converted the garage into a spacious photography and DIY projects studio, a larger companion to the diminutive closet desk, a prime example of "nothing wasted, nothing wanted".

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage eclectic. 

Inspiration: I love antiques and vintage items. 

Favorite Element: For the closet office, my favorite is the turquoise shelves. It was a shoe cabinet that I cut the legs off. I was just so glad I didn’t have to build custom shelving! As for studio my favorite is all of the exposed storage elements, especially the old soda crates. 

Biggest Challenge: For the closet office, removing the closet door molding and making it look like it was always meant to be an office cubby. 

For the studio, at first the biggest challenge was hiding the garage door. Then I just decide to embrace it! I realized it was nice having a big door to open and close as I was always painting furniture inside my studio

What Friends Say: Friends love the idea of taking a small space and making it so functional. I have had several friends copy the same concept. And the studio in no way expresses perfection, and people seem to resonate with that. Even when it’s messy it looks good and inspires creativity.  

Biggest Embarrassment: I had to return three plugmolds just to get the power access just right in the closet office. The staff at Lowe’s was getting really tired of me. And since the studio space is a third car garage, I can easily hear people walking up to my front door and what they are talking about.

Proudest DIY: It’s hard enough turning a closet into an office for one person, but the fact that it is functional for two or more makes me quite proud that I was able to adapt the space for our large family. 

Inside the studio, the space is often changing depending on what project I am working on. I am quite proud of the storage solutions I chose. Since I am constantly taking out or putting away supplies for various crafts and projects, I love how the organizational aspect of the space benefits my creativity. 

Biggest Indulgence: I purchased and framed a photograph from my husband’s former photography professor for the closet office. It was a splurge that he adores, and was quite surprised by. I also splurged on the paper backdrop system for the studio. It has allowed me to very easily raise and lower backdrops for portraits, and hides easily when I need the entire space open. 

Best Advice:  When converting a closet, don’t forget to consider your power sources. And a garage is a fabulous place for a work studio, but don’t forget to plan for the elements. A heater or air conditioner will help make the room usable year round. 

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Resources of Note:

CLOSET OFFICE:

  • Paint: $12 for one quart 
  • Sandpaper: $4
  • Plugmold: $40
  • Electric box and outlet: $3
  • Filing  cabinet: $10 at thrift store
  • Desk top: $2 at local school surplus sale (I removed the metal legs)
  • Wood support for desk: Free from a friend. 
  • Shelving: $40 bookshelf at local furniture boutique (It was already painted turquoise and we cut off the legs.) 
  • Lighting: $10 pendant light on clearance at Home Depot
  • Containers: 4 linen boxes at Ikea $8 each. Wood boxes on top shelf made by my husband with free scrap wood from a friend. 
  • Stools: $2 each at a local surplus sale. 
  • Framed artwork: $20. 
  • Apple MacBook
  • Apple iMac
  • Apple Magic Mouse

Total for entire project: $177

STUDIO

  • Entrance- blue door for and door frame- $80 at local antique store.
  • Craft and sewing tables from a local surplus sale for less than $5 each. 
  • Lamps $1 each at a yard sale.
  •  All of the chairs came from a school salvage sale for $1 each. 
  • The white hat boxes I spray painted in various shades of white (they were originally red). 
  • The soda crates were each purchased on ebay for around $25 each. 
  • The architect drawers were also purchased at a school salvage sale for under $10. I repainted it and added the new hardware.
  • The architect desk was $50 and purchased at a surplus auction. 
  • The long table is a $2 salvaged desk top which is set upon two old metal sawhorse legs my father gave me.
  • We spent around $300 on paint, wood, and drywall. 


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Thanks, Natalie!

(Images: Natalie Wright)

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