My New Room

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Welcome, finally, to the new and improved Posie craft studio! Won't you please come in?

Looking north

Looking south

Looking east

Looking west

There is a lot to see here. I'll try to take it slow and show you around. But basically, this is it! This is my new room!

We began working on this room about a month ago now, I guess. The redecoration was a long time coming, since although we had cleaned and painted a few times over the past ten years (here is what it most recently looked like), it had long housed a jumbled collection of mismatched furniture, jerry-rigged shelving, utility tables and chairs that were the wrong working heights, carpet (blech), and just, in general, too much stuff for one room.

My inspiration for this new space was the work and homes of Swedish artists Carl and Karin Larsson, whose aesthetic I love and whose rooms have influenced me so much over the years. For such a long time I've had this dream of grayish-blue walls, red gingham curtains, and a red geranium in a terra-cotta pot. I really don't know what's taken me so long to make it happen. But I swear, when I put that pot on the windowsill, my very soul sighed with contentment.


It really did.

We started by painting the room Buxton Blue by Benjamin Moore which we got at the awesomely wonderful Pearl Hardware. I can't tell you how much I love this color. It is a deep grayish-blue, and changes like crazy with the light. You will see in the photos that this color looks different in almost every shot. That is because it looks different constantly and throughout the day (and also because I change my white balance a lot, depending on how I feel). Next we had the old yucky carpet ripped out and pretty, blond laminate flooring installed (by The Floor Store) in a color called Montgomery Maple.


Then we started going to IKEA. Constantly.


If your decorating inspiration is "Swedish country" and your budget is small (whose isn't) and your town, like ours, actually has an IKEA, life is good. IKEA came to Portland a couple of years ago now. It's arrival brought much-needed shelving to our dining room and bedroom several years ago and pretty much changed our entire house (I would say life) for the better. This time, for the studio, we got every single piece of furniture there. It was, I just have to say, an excellent experience. Andy built all of the furniture for me and he did such a great job. I'm sure we lucked out, but everything fits, everything is functional, everything is beautiful, everything went together. We only got in one small fight (again about a chair!!!) and I only had one IKEA freak-out during the negotiations about the chair when a) the music speaker was right over my head and playing way too loud, b) there were four teenagers zooming around in office chairs and crashing into each other immediately next to where we were having a very tense (i.e.: mostly silent) discussion about office chairs ourselves, and c) we were in the "as is" area, and thus, if we did purchase the exponentially cheaper chair and it turned out to be wrong, we could not return it. Suddenly I saw that Andy had the "I love this chair and only this chair" crazy-man glint in his eye (I'd seen it before). Unfortunately, his beloved chair was not the chair that I wanted, but my resolve (not to mention my legs) was getting wobbly; as this was my seventh trip to IKEA in two weeks, the commitment to a non-returnable chair turned out to be too much for me to handle at that moment. I (involuntarily) made a noise that sounded like, "Ay-eeeeeeeeeee!" [dolphin] and staggered out of As-Is back toward the warehouse, where I went and sat in the Poang display chair with my feet up and my eyes half-closed (while Andy did the rest of the shopping for track lighting [aren't I clever???] ). I think it was about forty-five minutes before I could move.  I don't know if I was actually allowed to sit in that chair, since it was on one of those platform things that I think are supposed to be for display and not customer resuscitation, but none of the workers said anything to me about it. It was obvious I'd hit the proverbial IKEA wall. I was not a big fan of the Poang chair before, but now I am. It was lovely. (The next morning, I woke up feeling strong and healthy and said immediately, "Dang it! I need my chair!" [It was the red one.] Andy's mania had left him [and he'd discovered he needed four more track-lighting adapters]: IKEA trip #8, first thing Saturday morning, which included Swedish pancakes and thrills and giggles because the red chair was still there — yay!)

But let me back up. To figure out what I needed, first I measured the room and the width of each of the doorways (including the trim) and the windows. Then I got a piece of graph paper and made a floor plan, with each 1/4" square equaling 6". Then I went to IKEA (that was trip #1) with my little floor plan and a notebook and just, very slowly, walked through the whole store, thinking about what I might need. I took notes on lots of different pieces of furniture, figuring out dimensions and prices. I noted the names of everything that I liked and kept a list of Needs and Wants. Then I made little paper pieces that fit the footprint of each fixture and moved them around the floor plan until everything fit. I started with the thing that I knew I was definitely going to Need: SHELVES.


These are the Expedit shelving units in birch. They come in different configurations; I wound up with two 4 x 4s and two 4 x 2s on top of them. I also got three white door inserts, three red door inserts, and three Branas baskets to hide the stuff I didn't want to look at, like bills and mail and copy paper and plastic boxes of embroidery floss, etc. That gave me just enough room to slide in the Jonas desk to the left of the shelves; it holds my computer, printer, telephone, and stereo.


Anyway, so . . .




where was I.


Oh yeah. For my sewing machine, I knew I would need a sewing table that had leaves. The Leksvik dining table has two that extend it out another three feet, maybe. But I think this rectangular table is discontinued, because ours was on sale and I don't see it on the web site. It's a really nice color, though — kind of a grayish brown. I really like this color. For my fabric, I wanted a cabinet with glass doors on it — doors so I could shut them, glass so that I could still kind of see all the pretty fabrics. So, the Liatorp cabinet (which also matches our bedroom shelves and dining-room china cabinet). That just squeezed into one of the small walls. I didn't want anything to go in front of the windows. Lastly, the Varde kitchen island was a no-brainer, really. Mine is just like the one in the big photo (click the link), made up of two separate pieces: four big drawers on one, two shelves on the other, all topped by one big, beautiful wooden top. Which I have to oil every other day for a month (and which I do). This configuration was also shown as a sample on the showroom floor, so I had to get a sales associate to help me order exactly what was there, as it was totally confusing, and even the sales associate messed up the first time (so definitely get someone to help you, and then ask them to have another associate look it over, because you do not want to get this behemoth home and discover it's wrong). I don't see these exact pieces on the web site. My old table had no storage underneath it, so this thing is totally incredible to me. I only wish my kitchen was big enough to have one.


All of the lighting came from IKEA, as well. The Basisk pendants hang over the sewing machine. The Leran pendant hangs over the kitchen island. The table lamps are Januari bases with wicker shades that I can't find on the site, but they're in the stores right next to those bases. I have those all over my house right now. The French door curtains are here. The red gingham curtains came from Country Curtains. I guess I could've made those but I have made so many curtains for the windows of this house that if I never have to make another one it'll be too soon. I am done with making curtains. I took my screens out (we don't really need them in Oregon) and so the view through the windows is lovely and clear. Yum.

Directly behind the camera in the shot above is the sliding door to outside.

The view from my studio looking south, into the back yard. The pendant lamp is fake wicker and rated for outdoors. Love it.

It is glorious to be practically in the back yard while I work.


Clover Meadow absolutely loves the new studio. I really think she loves it as much as I do. I know Audrey would have loved it, too.


It's close to their favorite rock, and the back yard, and the dogs next door. Clover comes and goes all day long.


Doesn't she look like she loves it? :-)

We took these photos over the course of an hour or two. They don't show up chronologically here because I wasn't very organized in how I took them, and I am not very organized in how I'm showing them (I will put enlargements of all of these images up on Flickr when I have some time). But all this golden light started happening after about six p.m.


It is so beautiful just after six p.m.


Jeesh. That's nice. Love love love. Never want to leave.


Oh, I really, really love my new room. I love that Andy and Clover and the Avetts and I did it together. I love how it feels and how it makes the house feel. I love how it makes me feel. I am going to keep it soooooo clean you're not even gonna believe it. I swear I swear I swear. xoxo


i think i am green with envy.

New England Girl says: August 13, 2010 at 09:03 AM

Truly, it's absolutely lovely.

What a splendid reveal! I love everything going on in your space and it's nice to hear how happy you are! Enjoy the weekend crafting away :)

Gorgeous Alicia!

love, love, love it. love it all.

This looks like absolute paradise to me!! Just gorgeous. I aspire to have such a lovely studio one day.

Heather Bond says: August 13, 2010 at 09:07 AM

I thought I would miss the old blue but that Buxton is really gorgeous (I love all those Pottery Barn colors from BM!) I am just in awe of your vision and design skills. Really, Alicia, you are an amazing artist. Thanks so much for sharing your creative (and personal) space with us!

Oh my goodness! It's gorgeous! I'm sure it won't be long until you're contacted about having it featured in a magazine.

I LOVE it! (I love your pic on your computer, too. In the first photo showing your computer, I thought "oooh, she likes the Avett Brothers, too!")

Perfection! I also love the paintings of the Larson home, and you've done such a great job of capturing that same lovely homey look/feeling.
I got your new book in the mail yesterday and love it! Haven't had enough time to really read it through but looking forward to doing so this weekend.
Blessings and rest now ;),

It's so perfect! Worth every unpleasant IKEA moment and very long list of decisions. I think Clover Meadow may have the best seat in the house tucked in where she can observe and supervise. You did a great job!!

It's absolutely stunning. Isn't it lovely when it turns out exactly as you imagined it?

Received your new book on my birthday. Best present ever!

Have a lovely weekend

It is absolutely gorgeous!!!

I thought we were walking into a cottage in Tuscany in that first photo! So beautiful, it makes me feel peaceful and refreshed~and ready to create. I'm happy for you and hope you have many fun-filled days with Clover Meadow at your feet!

Ahhh, dreamy...looking at your pictures makes my day! I think just being in it would inspire all kinds of creativity. Happy Friday and congratulations on the book! :)

Oh Alicia, I love it! So happy for you. :)

Cannot wait to see what kind of creations comes from such an amazing inspirational studio!! Wonderful, wonderful....

OH, this is so lovely. I keep wondering why, as I look for a Portland rental, I have not yet come across a place as sweet as this. :)
Enjoy that gorgeous, peaceful and creative space!

it's SEW pretty! Love it.


We just redid our daughter's room (old style: kid chaos, new style: bright young lady) and spent some quality time at IKEA as well. We almost got the shelves you did too, but the besta fit the space much better. We had an identical discussion around your large island/table (we wish we could fit one in our kitchen!). And an equally animated discussion in as-is around chairs (are these lovely discounted chairs charmingly mismatched or horribly mismatched?). Turns out they will be charmingly mismatched as soon as I paint some matching design on the backs -- problem solved!

My sister drives 8 hours to get to her nearest Ikea (seriously!) -- I feel so fortunate that we have one right here in Portland. It's getting to where our whole house is Ikea.

i really, really like how you made this "For such a long time I've had this dream of grayish-blue walls, red gingham curtains, and a red geranium in a terra-cotta pot." (your words) come true.
i want to, if you don't mind, hinge onto that thought, and make a dream of mine come true (although we're far from finishing touches over here....).
good luck in that beautiful looking new room of yours. and well done!

You have made such a beautiful room for yourself, gorgeous and inviting. I totally understand that you'd want to stay there all the time. Totally worth all the hardwork and the zillion trips to Ikea! I am very happy for you, enjoy your paradise!

Beautiful!! And I am glad that Clover Meadow likes it too! Sweet name for a dog as sweet as that!!

Ann Bates says: August 13, 2010 at 09:27 AM

Love this...LOVE THE CMP...and Andy too. Love Y-O-U for keeping your cool at IKEA! THANK YOU for making this such a bright spot and sharing it with the world. God Bless this space- :)

It´s absolutely lovely, I´m sure you´ll make beautiful creations in there! :-)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at