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Martha's Craft Room

Martha Stewart Living, September 2007

 

Tour Martha's attic craft room in our photo gallery.

Attics often become repositories for memories -- a much-loved chair, a box of baby clothes, an old trunk. To Martha, however, the top floor of her 1925 home in Bedford, New York, had the potential for creating memories, not just storing them. She turned her attic into a crafts room.

The long, low-ceilinged space, which measures 43 by 14 feet, was "useless when I bought the place," Martha says. "It was only accessible by a ladder. But I could immediately see its potential." She transformed it with the addition of eight dormer windows, which brought both height and light to the room and gave it architectural presence. She sheltered the ceiling bulbs with mercury-glass domes, which cast a gentle light over the walls, and covered the floor with a durable rug. The final touches were the addition of a Shaker-style staircase and elegant moldings, which "made the space seem much more important than it was." And the window seats, she happily reports, immediately began to serve as favorite cat beds. "The cats love it up there."

Once she built out the space, Martha set about organizing it with custom-made Shaker-style work desks for each kind of crafting she enjoys: sewing, embroidery, knitting, paper crafts, photography, and printing. A center table provides space for cutting fabrics and papers, which are stored in flat files beneath it. A large-screen television allows her to keep up with the news as she works. It's a long way from how she crafted growing up, at the kitchen table. "Eight people had to come in and eat meals, so it was, 'Hurry up. Finish your sewing,'" Martha remembers. Now, with a private room where she can craft at any time of day or night, she can respond to inspiration whenever it strikes.

All-Purpose Compartments
Lacquered wooden cubbyholes provide storage space for many supplies. All of the crafting materials were measured before the drawer and shelf sizes were finalized.

Easy-to-Access Materials
Martha pulled these fabrics from nearby flat-file drawers, which were custom painted at an auto-body shop to match the desks.

General Work Station
The ample work surface, adapted from a table Martha once designed, is ideal for measuring and cutting paper or fabric. A shelf below houses scrapbooks.

Creative Containers
Martha uses glass jars to store spools of colored waxed-linen twine, a basic acrylic box to dispense seam binding, and small galvanized buckets to hold colored pencils.

Boxed Goods
Fabric-covered boxes contain a variety of scrapbook papers. Martha stores the boxes in a row on a bookshelf.

Supply Sorters
Slice-and-fit acrylic dividers keep scissors and other small tools in order. A graduated spice rack organizes the many jars of glitter.

Organizers for Paper and Fabric
Flat-file drawers house fabrics and papers sorted by color and type -- in this case, cotton fabrics, both vintage and new, which Martha buys whenever she spots ones she likes.

Classic Details
Thin metal shelves slide out easily on old-fashioned bird's beak supports (the small notches on the sides), giving Martha easy access to papers in a range of colors.

Linseed Work Surfaces
All of the desks are topped with a pressed-linseed material that's soft enough to absorb nicks and scratches.

Tools of a Kind
Similar items are stored together. In the drawer are, from left to right, stencil paints, stencil brushes, and graining tools used to create faux-bois paint patterns.

Machine Embroidery
Martha's sewing machine is hooked up to a computer, which reads a CD-ROM of patterns that she purchased and translates them into thread, as on this set of napkins.

Power Seating
Each desk in the room is fitted with a vintage metal office chair that Martha had stripped and reupholstered with gray leather. Their wheels make moving around the space effortless.

Thread Organizer
A wooden spool rack holds rayon machine-embroidery threads in a full spectrum of colors. Prewound disposable bobbins are stored in nearby jars.

Comments (14)

  • 8 Jan, 2011

    Where can I find the birds beak shelving or support? I have looked all over on where to buy or how to build - with no luck. Nothing on the Martha site either:( Please help. Thank you!

  • 31 May, 2009

    I hope that my craftroom makeover looks at least half as wonderful as Martha's beautiful craft attic!

  • 31 May, 2009

    UAU! It is really great to have your own little space to do the things you like to do the most... I am planning to buy a house now and i wanted my own creative space and this is a great ideia! Thanks for sharing it.

  • 30 May, 2009

    What a dream come true...to have a craft room! Mine sure wouldn't be "perpetually neat" no matter how hard I tried!

  • 30 May, 2009

    where can we purchase the pressed-linseed material used on the surfaces of the work tables?

  • 29 May, 2009

    Just love the vintage metal office chairs. Makes me think of the chair Dad used.

  • 29 May, 2009

    I'm blown away by the sewing machine-laptop hook-up. Wow.

  • 29 May, 2009

    if only we all could have a room like this.

  • 29 May, 2009

    I LOVE HER

  • 19 Sep, 2008

    Does anyone know what colors she used for her crafts room...both walls and desks? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you

  • 2 Feb, 2008

    Found it!! lifestylesystems.com -- they even have "as featured on Martha" proudly displayed on their home page! Click on product catalog and browse for all sorts of nifty dividers...

  • 26 Jan, 2008

    Where can I buy the slice and fit acrylic drawer dividers that are shown in this article? I LOVE them! Thanks, Cindy

  • 7 Jan, 2008

    Hi...just thought of a great contest -- allow winners to craft in your new room.

  • 25 Nov, 2007

    Where can you buy the slice and fit acrylic drawer dividers that are shown in this article?