gathering for the studio

Finding inspiration and ideas for decorating the studio is easy. Finding time to implement all the pinterest pins I have – not so easy.

I really want to get a few main furniture pieces in there before I start making holes in the walls and adding details. I am on the hunt for a great couch – who knew couches were so expensive! I was spoiled by having my dad build the one in our living room. The second thing we need is a work table. A BIG work table. We have been using our old kitchen table (back in the days when we were a couple with a couple of kids). I am thankful we didn’t build a worktable right away. Using the small table has helped me know what we really need in our big worktable.

Here is what the table looks like 95% of the time. We need more room….and kids that pick up before moving to the next thing.

The studio is very industrial right now. Lots of metal and concrete. I couldn’t take it any longer…so I made a new pendant to go above the stairs. When we built the space I just had the electrician hang a standard pendant, so I could make something custom later.

I used an old hat box and the ribbon chandelier that Sarah gave me. To combine them, I glued the hatbox lid on to the bottom of the hatbox and cut a hole large enough for the light fixture in the center. The inside of my hatbox had glue from a previous project, so I cut some scrapbooking paper to cover up that mess. Next, I attached it to the light fixture and then tied the chandelier to it all.

I like seeing what other people pick out at antique stores, garage sales, and estate sales. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my recent finds.

This metal desk was previously olive green with one drawer that didn’t match. Yay for spray paint.

I had told myself “no more metal”…and then I found this little guy. I’ve never seen a vertical one like it, so how was I to walk away? To be spray painted.

Slowly, but surely all of our wedding dishes are getting broken (mainly by me). I picked up two new dinner plates. The boys are pretty pumped about the presidential one.

Christmas tin and tablecloth

A little print to frame and then there is the butterfly collection. I’ve mentioned before how much my 6 year old son enjoys all things nature. He has been wanting some framed insects and butterflies, but all the ones I find are so expensive. I found this one at a flea market for 40% off. I’m going to give the frame a facelift and change the red paint to another color. My son hasn’t seen it yet, I can’t wait to surprise him once I finish its makeover. If any of you out there have any framed insects or butterflies you want to get rid of – let me know!

This books is SO GREAT! It is beautifully illustrated and is full of projects my boys can’t wait to try. The outdoor shower needs to happen this spring.

A perfect Campbell crate for our books! (Thanks Jill)

My original plan was to purchase new barstools to go around our bowling lane counter….alas, another too expensive idea. Instead, I have been collecting random barstools. They ranged from $5.00-$25.00. In the end, I like this look better than perfectly perfect new stools.

Crazy girl trying to block my shot.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Lianna - Ikea has lots of tables you could use and they are pretty cheap. Also look at their kitchen islands as tables. That’s what I did for my craft room!

    On average how many photos do you take a day?

  • barbara - Oh what I would give for a studio like yours to work (and play) in!!!

    Totally love the bar stools! We did the same here at home with our dining room chairs… collected them from all over then did a quick paint job… Each one is unique and in a different color!

    Looking forward to seeing the progress!!

  • Joy - LOVE your style!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I’m with you- I wouldn’t have been able to walk past that vertical file either! So cool! About your bug collection, here’s what we did for my bug collecting daughter. She had a small collection of really cool dead bugs. A huge beetle, a perfect butterfly, a perfect cicada, and some other things I can’t remember. I bought a shadow box on half price at Hobby Lobby. I lined some cardboard with pretty scrapbook paper and put it in the back of the frame. Then we arranged her bugs. I used small pins with tiny heads to pin the bugs to the covered cardboard, and that was it! Now she has her very personal bug collection up on the wall!

  • LeighP - The bar stools are awesome! Love, love. Really love the price points. Also, the crazy girl photo made me smile. Thanks for that!

  • Lisa McCracken - Thanks for showing all of your neat finds. And I love the bar stool idea! It looks really cool.

    For painting metal, like your desk and that new vertical file holder, you said you used spray paint. Is there any particular brand you like? And do you prep the metal at all? Thanks!

  • Sarah - Ashley, the pendant looks AWESOME! It looks soooo much better in your studio then it did proped in the corner of my spare room!!! Another idea with the bugs-there is an Etsy seller, I think he’s called Porkchop shop??? he is a supplies shop and makes wood butterflies and the like for different craft projects. The butterflies looked very real on screen, i thought about buying a few and making my own shadow box with one from Hobby Lobby. just an idea!

  • Alice H - Love the barstools! Love that they are all different, just like each one of your kids are different!!

    If I come across any bugs, I will let you have them for your nature boy. LOL!

    That last shot of your crazy girl is the best!!

    How did spray painting the metal desk go? Any tips? I have an old metal desk that is black, I really need to paint it. I really like the gray you used. How long did it take, did you have to sand it, how many cans of spray paint did you go thru? Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!!

  • Sarah{Handbags*N*Pigtails} - Ashley, this space is soooo amazing and coming together nicely. The best part about it is that your family built(& finished) it for you. Its already full of memories. I love that!

  • Heather - This space is lovely! If you happen to discover where I can find kids that pick up before they move on to the next project, let me know. I could use a few of those. Beautiful! I so enjoy both your writing and photography!

  • Amy - I snorted OUT LOUD at “we need kids who pick up after themselves before moving on to another project.” Hilarious!! Oh my…GUILTY!!! I’m bad about it myself, but I get so frustrated with my kids! They’re terrible! Trying so hard to teach them this skill…but alas, I think genetics will rule. Ha!

  • BeckyH in MA - Hey! We had that Golden Book of Hobbies and Crafts growing up! WOW!

    Sometimes you can find retro/antique couches on CraigsList.

    And about the lampshade/chandelier — you can also purchase a fire retardant spray for the inside area. That way you don’t have to worry as much about it heating up!

    LOVE your space! Lookin good!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Valerie - Your studio is getting there day by day. I am wondering what finishing you have used for your counter. Did you use a foodsafe product? Would you mind sharing the name?

  • Teresa - I love the barstool arrangement! What a fantastic assortment.

  • Andrea - This is a totally random bit of trivia I learned this year that I thought you might like to know about your butterflies! When you reframe them, you might consider putting them in something the kids can see from front AND the back, because butterflies have a “breeding side” (which is the pretty colors when the wings are open) and a “camouflage” side (which is when their wings are together or up). It is fascinating! Those butterflies will be COMPLETELY different colors and patterns on the other side! Especially that bright yellow one!
    Like I said, random. But enjoy when you get to see!!

  • Kelli Helm - The lighting in your studio (and your entire house for that later) is amazing! Really makes me want to just take a sledge hammer to my walls and surprise my husband with an “open to nature” concept! Love reading your blog every morning, it’s a breathe of fresh air!

  • megan@contentedsparrow - that vintage craft book was the best spare change purchase EVER! and i don’t care if it’s MORE metal, you’re right that the vertical file couldn’t be passed up. AND those barstools are WAY cooler than new ones would ever be! love how your space is coming along. the pretty light fixture does a lot to soften things up. you know i want to come hang out in there with you someday, right?

  • megan@contentedsparrow - i was looking on amazon for that book (yes, i’m a copycat) and i found this one which is surely all things awesome, too!

  • Cara Louise - Hi Ashley! love what you’re doing with your space. I’ve never actually been a big fan of matching stuff and find your bar stools especially appealing! You say you like seeing what others find at ‘junk sales’- if you haven’t already you should stop in at The Cottage Market ( ‘Junkin’ Joe’ is featured every Friday, usually with a budget of 5 bucks and the stuff he finds is amazing! I have often thought you and Andrea are kindred spirits…. love and prayers for the whole Campbell clan!

  • kiley - love your treasures! love your space! i’m sure you have ideas for your worktable, for how you want to decorate your studio, and maybe you’ve all ready seen this room…but if you haven’t, i think you might find some additional inspiration here…

    i think jaime is super inspiring, just like you! and while i can only dream about meeting you someday ;), turns out i live in the same city as this gal! we’re sisters in Christ and have mutual friends. so excited to actually meet her and see that gorgeous space in person in the new year!

    happy thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

  • Marie - Try local universities, in the Entomology Dept for framed insects. Sometimes they sell off older ‘collection’ pieces that are displayed….frames will likely be UGLY, but you can fix that ;P
    My mom works at our local university and bought our boys each framed insects for Christmas last yr…a beautiful (huge) moth of some sort and an assortment of beetles (creepy for me and lately for our 3 yr).

  • Annie Page - I’m with you I’d be dying to get that space decorated. It’s an amazing space you are so very blessed! I’m (not so patiently) waiting for my husband to finish his new office in our basement so I can have my craft space back. His self employment needs took precedent to my hobbies. :o)

    I want to thank you (I think) for my new addiction of washi tape. I can’t seem to help myself. I subscribe to pick your plum (highly recommend) that has a daily deal with incredibly cheap craft materials. Washi tape is a big one and I seem to find myself unable to say no. So thank you. :o) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and happy decorating!

  • Tanya - You are so lucky to have that enormous space for hanging out in! I can’t believe you guys did it all yourselves, too. I love seeing other people’s purchases too. That metal desk is awesome.

  • sarah k - This space is inspiring! And I love, love, love the assortment of barstools. I think the variety adds depth and warmth and texture to the space–and a sense of history. It’s all beautiful–including the girl getting in your shot! 🙂

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - “and kids that pick up before moving to the next thing.” Let me know when you figure this part out, ok?! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving sweetness!

  • Natalie - Oh how I love {and covet} your studio! 🙂 I love the chandy and the fun finds… especially the Christmas tablecloth. The stools all look really great too!

  • hb - Hey Ashley – I just made a craft table for my son on the cheap… I got a LARGE heavy board for the top and then bought adjustable height metal table legs online. We ended up with a huge table for around $60. It is awesome! By the way, I love your blog – so much inspiration. Thank you!

  • Emily - I love it! And I’m so glad my son isn’t the only shot-blocker 😉

    Random: I saw a review yesterday for macro filters – have you tried them? I’m very intrigued by them.

  • Megan - I just love your blog so much! I just found it recently while you were in China getting your beautiful daughter and it just makes me happy to read what you write and see your pictures! It’s quickly become a favorite and I just thought I’d tell you! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  • Tracy a - You find the best hat boxes! I never come across great ones like that!

  • stylencritics - your barstools are….GREAT!!!

  • Rachel - The stain glass studio that I go to made their huge work tables with 2×4 legs and a particle board top. It has one shelf that runs the entire length of the table. The top is sealed with varathane. It is super easy to clean, durable and able to with stand high heat from stained glass production.

  • Laura Chavous - “I’ll be in my studio, studio down down down in my studio……………..”
    Does anyone remember that from America’s Got Talent.
    THis is an awesome studio!

  • meg duerksen - SMILE! SMILE! SMILE!
    i am completely in love with the tablecloth and with the bar stools.
    i would marry them.
    ha ha ha
    but i am still not seeing my bed anywhere……..

  • marcy - I’m planning a studio addition and I’m curious as to the size of yours. I’m trying to plan it large enough to accommodate my projects as well as my kids!

  • Christine - Firecracker’s face is priceless!! Love the last picture!

  • Victoria - This is my first comment on your blog, but I’ve been reading it for about a year now. I just wanted to say thank you for blogging and thank you for sharing all your ideas — particularly the stuff with kids’ projects! I’m a new mom and the amount that you do (with FIVE kids!) is amazing. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Sabbath - Hi, I have some Australian saltwater crocodile teeth I can give you if you think your lad would like some.

  • ellen patton - I love the bar stools! I want to get an old farmhouse table and mismatched chairs…

  • Karen J Moseley - Hi Ashley ~ Just loving your studio and all of the fun new finds! Could you share where you got the red polka dot print seen in some of these photos?
    Thanks and Blessings Galore ~ Jo

  • Haverlee - I know this is ridiculously expensive but I just had to share because it was too gorgeous not to. (Sorry, quite mean of me, actually!)
    Has your name written all over it. Know any really great knitters who could duplicate it? ha!

  • AshleyAnn - Haverlee – that was mean to share 🙂

  • AshleyAnn - Karen – the red polka dot is vintage fabric and the paper cut on top of it is from Lori Danelle ( it is the Bittersweet one

  • Becky @ Farmgirl Paints - kinda drooling over here. loving all over that red chalkwall may have to do that to one in our basement. wondering if you ever did a tutorial on the chalk art? you don’t have to answer i’ll look around.

  • Brooke - Ashley your space is looking amazing! I’m not going to lie I’d LOVE to have a studio like this! The fabric chandelier looks so lovely! Also the desk is great. I’ve recently discovered how much fun it is to spray paint things LOL Yes okay I’m a little late to the party. I think a lot of the objects in my house are happy that it’s gotten too cold for spray painting outside right now, they are safe for a few months 🙂

    Your collection of bar stools is awesome and I’d even venture to say it’s better than having new matchy ones 🙂

  • Mary@ Finding Healthy Hope - what a fantastic space!
    i just love it all!
    those stools together are meant to be! 🙂