Introduction: Where Does a Workspace End and a Home Begin?

About: I have a compulsion to make stuff, all kinds of stuff. I'm glad to be here...

I love to make things and do projects. For me it's not about having hobbies, making stuff is the lens I view the world through. As I contemplated what to include in the "share your space" contest it got me to thinking about where does our workspace end and our home begin? In our case that line is awfully fuzzy. Since my projects are all over the place I decided to include all of the spots projects happen from classic workshop to cooking, sewing and gardening areas.

My family and I live in a 1,100 sf double-wide mobile home. It's very easy for the four of us to become overwhelmed with clutter especially when you get a few projects going. Several years ago I remodeled it which helped the way it looks inside and out (goodbye vintage shag carpeting and fake wood paneling) but it didn't address the quick-to-clutter situation. We're always balancing an unchecked project habit with an interest in having a relatively uncluttered living space. This has led to erecting out buildings (for cheap) as well as trying to make maximum use of the space we do have. So come along and let's take walk around the place.

Step 1: The Worktable

Up to three years ago we had a pretty standard living room; sofa, chairs, TV etc.  After a visit to my 95 yr old grandmother who was a professional artist and has reduced her life down to the essentials due to space and age we came away inspired by the large worktable that dominated her small study.  This table has been in her studio for many decades.  I remember it being a treasure trove of surprises when I used to visit as a kid.  She had all her supplies and tools readily available.  It was a functional workspace as well as a statement about where her priorities lay.  Upon arriving home we got rid of the TV, put all of our furniture on wheels and I built this work table.  Now you can wheel all the furniture away and spread out all over the floor when you need to cut out fabric, put together a science fair poster or build a metal casting furnace in the dead of winter.   The beauty of this thing is that it let's us keep a massive amount of materials and tools handy but they can all get put away easily. 

Step 2: Rest of the House

The worktable is the main anchor for projects inside but there are several other places with work space for ongoing projects squirreled around the house.  This first picture is of the first growing station I made this winter.  I'm using it to start plants for the garden as well as sprouting various other seeds.  Kinda nice to have something growing around in the winter.  It's sitting on top of our pantry.  You can see part of the thread collection to the right.  The sewing machine is in the living room across from the work table.  It's on wheels of course.  It unfolds when it's being used and then tucks away the rest of the time.  I had to include a shot of the kitchen since a whole bunch of cooking projects happen here.  The cooking gear extends to the set of drawers as well as bookshelves in the bedroom.  Finally, my electronics stuff and spare computers are stashed in the closet.

Step 3: Out Back

Going out the back door we have the outdoor kitchen where most of the cooking happens whenever its warm enough. This also doubles as an abattoir and butchering area for chickens that we raise for meat.  

We're adding ducks and pigs to the mix this year too.  

Since it's almost Spring my thoughts and energies are turning towards growing stuff. The cold frames are holding greens that have been overwintering.  I'm just starting to terrace the back yard into a series of raised beds as well as building a solar greenhouse out front that will (hopefully) be ready for next Spring.  The windows for the greenhouse came from a fire lookout station.  The insulated walls are going to be built with papercrete.

Step 4: Lower Shop

It's not all domestic bliss over here.  There is plenty of workshop too.  I built this shop originally as a parking structure but when the sheriff's deputy that was investigating a break-in at our house backed up into it and broke one of the posts I re-purposed it as a shop.  No, their insurance never paid up...  I do most on my metal fabrication and general construction out of this building.  

Step 5: CNC Shop

I had to build this shop when I built my CNC machine so it would have a home.  I do most of my woodworking and CNC stuff in and around here.  I want to add some extensions to this building so that I can leave power tools set up instead of hauling them out to the tables every time I want to cut something.  I'm quite proud of how cheap I was able to build this.  Most of the materials were scrounged.   I only bought the roofing and the siding.  The floor is carpet from a dumpster over dirt.  Works great!

Step 6: Upper Shed and Piles O' Stuff

Even with two shops I don't have nearly enough storage space. I have large shed at the top of my property that is stuffed to the gills. Off to the left of the shed are two top bar beehives that I made from scrap wood last year. We installed bees in them last Spring and they did great. 

We bought a whole bunch of standard hives to set up for this year. I just love the bees! The rest of the pictures are of some of my piles of materials all along the driveway. Damn you craigslist and all your free stuff.

Interested in what we're up to lately? Updates happen pretty frequently on Instagram and YouTube.


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