When I started working for myself, almost 9 years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. But I knew one thing: if I was going to make jewelry making my job, I needed a space away from the house to do that in. I needed to be able to get up in the morning, leave the house, and go to work. I'm lucky that studio space is still relatively cheap and easy to find here in Portland, and so since day one, that's exactly what I've done. And that's worked really well for me for a long time. I needed the regimen of getting into the car and going to work to keep myself in check. The studio was for work. Home was for, well, not work. And everything sailed along just fine. Until now.

Around the beginning of this year, getting in the car to go to the studio began to feel less like a daily routine, and more like a daily annoyance. When I moved into my current studio about 6 years ago, my business was in a different place, I had two employees and required a lot more space. And I have a lot of it there. Tons. Way too much for just me. What used to feel just right started to morph from a place that I felt good working in, to a cavernous enclave that was slowly making me feel unfocused, discombobulated, and cranky. Lots and lots of cranky. And then I started looking at my garage. A perfectly lovely, one and a half car detached garage that I've never put my car in. A garage that has been quietly acting as storage space for a whole bunch of stuff that I, quite frankly, don't need. A garage that I wouldn't have to pay any extra rent on. A space that would allow me to walk out the back door and work till midnight when I need to, without having to haul stuff back and forth across town and drive home late at night. A space that has massive potential for being pared down, light, and cozy. A space where I could put a wood stove! And that pretty much sealed the deal: You guys, I'm moving home.

Self employment comes with a myriad of both challenges and joys. One of the joys that I am trying to focus on lately is that working the way that I do really allows me the freedom to create exactly the life and schedule that I want, and this move feels pretty integral to that right now. As much as having that space away from home has been important to me for so long, the fact is that this is my career: after almost 10 years of self employment, I've got my routine down (I hope!), and I should be able to maintain that wherever I'm at. And at this point, it's much less where the space is at, and much more the space itself that matters to me. Moving my work home feels like a move towards much more flexibility, freedom, and most importantly, simplicity. (And, of course, a reclaimed barn wood ceiling...) I have the opportunity to build my dreamy dream studio, and it's time to go for it.

This move marks a huge change for me and my business. One that will involve all sorts of upheaval in the next month as the garage is transformed and I transition out of my current space. So shop updates and actual jewelry production will most likely be light as I comb the Rebuilding Center for doors and figure out what color to paint the floor. I'm super excited and all sorts of nervous all at the same time. It's a 'whole new chapter' kind of thing, and I'm so, so ready. I've already ordered the wood stove and everything...


  1. Woohoo, I'm excited for you and your reimagined new space! :)

  2. this sounds awesome! i have been noticing this theme in many of us makers lately, both locally and in my internet community. keep us posted, i bet the space will be wonderful.

  3. So excited to hear about this Theresa.

    I tried renting a studio last year to "drive to work" to. But I ended up rarely using it because I didn't want to buy internet for the studio on top of already having it at my house and on top of renting costs. I hated that I was in a building of other workers but rarely saw anyone. I hated that I couldn't be flexible about coming and going, grabbing something from another room in my house with ease, having to plan my meals way more intentionally.
    I got out of my lease within about 3 months.

    But working from home has it's challenges too. Sometimes I just want to work from bed ;) Sometimes it is hard to create a set schedule. Sometimes it feels like my friends don't understand that, though I work from home and there is flexibility in my work day, I still need many hours to focus without distractions.

    But in the end, the battles of working from home feel SO much easier than the battles of working away from home. I feel more relaxed at home working, but get more done because I am more contented and feel free and empowered in my space.

    I think you are going to end up being TOTALLY excited about your new space in your garage when it is all done. Your space will feel more special to you, more personal, and I think you are going to find a new level of fulfillment in having your studio on your own property.

    Man girl, I wish I could be your little apprentice for a few months. I really want to develop my jewelry line in a similar way as you have laid yours out. Not the same pieces, but you know, figuring out how to structure my overall business.
    I admire you a lot. And look forward to seeing updates on your new space!
    xo Moorea

  4. Thanks so much, you guys! I'm super excited about everything that's happening, and will definitely post updates as everything comes along.

    Moorea, you are the sweetest! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on working both away from, and then back at home. I definitely have lots of fears about how this is all going to shake down, but have just as many things to look forward to, and feel it's the right move all the same. Thanks for the kindness, girl. I think you're doing an excellent job at what you do! XO!

  5. so excited for you. it's odd. i've been feeling the same way about my outside of home studio space lately. not sure i'm ready to come home but i think one day i will. change is always exciting. can't wait to see the barn! xoxo

  6. Yay! I'm so excited for you. Best of luck with the transition and setting up your new space! -Colleen

  7. As one of your former employees all I can say is... YAYYYYY! It is going to be amazing and beautiful and productive and I cant wait to see it!!!! (I am only sad I not in town to see all the stages of the transformation). Go you!

  8. Oh Teresa. This is something I have been fantasizing about for a while now. Having a custom backyard studio. Being kind of away from home while still being home.

    I am in no position to rent a studio space, so my studio is in my apartment (which is a studio). This worked fairly well for me until my partner moved in, which makes work sessions a lot less productive, a lot more like short bursts of activity amidst lots of interruptions.

    My partner is very forgiving and lets me kick him out of the house if I need to do something big on my easel (which simply not possible with someone watching until I really get going,) but it's certainly not ideal. But budget restrictions make this necessary for now.

    Sometimes I wear headphones and a hat while I'm working. It's called my working hat. When I'm wearing it, it means I cannot be interrupted for anything but a fire. Then when I take the hat off I'm on break.

    I hope you post more updates about this studio space as it comes to life, I am really thrilled for you that it is happening.

  9. very nice.. great! Thanks for informations..

  10. Girl, it's nice to meet you. Moorea Seal sent me here after reading my post on how I'm doing the exact thing. We're likely doing a fresh build, but I have the same detached garage situation in my back yard that I'm turning into a place for an all season studio. Here's the post I talk about it http://lunevintage.blogspot.ca/2012/09/lune-home-base.html. I'm excited to see your progress. We're in the first stages of figuring out what exactly must be done before the pad is poured, so it's pretty scary but totally fantastic.