Sunday, February 17, 2013

Before & After: Becky Kazana World Headquarters


One of the challenges with living small and working from home is finding a way to concentrate on work tasks when personal tasks (that pile of breakfast dishes, the grocery list, the lure of facebook) surround you. Living in such a small space, we desperately needed an office space to shut out chores and concentrate on growing our business. 

My Dad's massive Victorian house had a tool room in dire need of organization. Though of ample size, precious floor space was squandered; strewn with tools, construction remnants, paint cans, electric supplies and various furniture left by previous tenants.  I felt certain that we could relocate the tool room to a walk in closet by editing and organizing, leaving this space free to become Becky Kazana World Headquarters! Here's what it looked like when we started out:



Yikes! The room was so choked with clutter, I could hardly get photos of the space.


After several hours of work, with the mantra "Like Things Together", I started to create some space. I pulled out anything I could sell on craigslist. All told, I made $175 selling items we found down here, all of which went back into the house. Still scary, but looking a great deal better.


Once my dad (on the left) saw the room cleared out, he started to get excited about really making it special. I had planned to move in "as is", perhaps with a coat of paint or two but he called his construction expert Tom (on the right), and got things rolling. The first concern was containing the asbestos paint on the ceiling, which they sealed up by powder coating with paint. The ugly pipes snaking overhead disappeared when the ceiling was painted black, which hid the pipes without sacrificing height. Then an electrician installed several florescent lights and additional outlets on each wall. It was incredible to see the transformation of brilliant light- the room suddenly seemed like a legitimate work space, no longer part of a dingy old basement. But it also shined brightly on the cracked and crumbling concrete walls and floor!

 A bucket of leveler helped even out the dips and crevices in the floor and gave us a smooth surface on which to install a beautiful wood floor. Eric spent quite a lot of time on his knees with a bucket of glue and a jug of foul smelling mineral spirits to get it installed.



My dad had a stack of pine lumber cut from our backyard (my friends may recall the infamous Log Rolling story...) and he decided that would create a nice texture for the walls, also solving the problem of putting drywall in a damp basement where it is likely to warp and crumble. It created a nice warmth for the space and the whole room smells like pine- clean, rich and warm.



All that was left now was to furnish it. We spent a lot of time combing craigslist and made more than one Ikea trip for a row of tables that would create a long L shaped work space.


Here, at last, is the finished product. We are so proud of it. The artwork is all by talented Etsy artists; the Man Riding Lobster poster from Nate Duval, the Ironing Ostrich and Piano Playing Pachyderm are from Wild Life Prints. The matching fawn colored leather chairs were craigslist scores, hardly used from Ikea. The tables were new from Ikea. The custom monogrammed wastebasket is from Two Sisters Designs. Our lightbox is now a permanent feature in our studio, making snapping beautiful photos much easier and we have ample storage for our inventory and all my crafting supplies in the cupboards mounted on the walls. 



Our packing station is actually a cabinet door mounted at waist height so you can stand while you assemble boxes. Eric's greatest innovation has been finding a way to print first class postage at home so that our parcels can go out with the mailman on the same day, without us ever leaving the house. He also mounted a towel rack above to store tissue paper neatly.

I'm so delighted with how this project turned out- it was far better than what I had initially imagined, thanks to my Dad, my husband and the talented Tom. I know great things will happen in this little room.

Our goal is to make this our full-time income stream, with the capacity to support a family someday soon. We'd love to run a business from home, giving us the flexibility to be with our family every day. I'd like to focus on my writing, finding new outlets in free lance writing and adding new facets to the blog and website. Eric is planning to expand our sales outlets to include Amazon and Ebay, in addition to Etsy.

These are big dreams for such a humble little room, but when I look back at the dusty junk yard it was, I have no doubt that it is possible to imagine and create beauty in unlikely places. The first step is making room.

3 comments:

tahiti said...

love it!!! amazing!!

Rebekah said...

Great start to your new adventure. Miss you guys and hope you are well.

newmexicomtngirl.com said...

I am so inspired and thrilled. What a great idea. How cool to have a big old rambling house like that. Reminds me of ones I grew up in and around back in Missouri. Those homes and houses always had rooms and doors and more doors and spaces..
peace n abundance,
CheyAnne

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