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August 29, 2011

What My Studio Looks Like: Then And Now

By RetroRuth

I got an note through our contact page the other day where a reader said they liked the blog very much, but would I PLEASE show some more pictures of my own house? 

So, I decided to quiet the clamor and show some pictures from the “raw” room in our house, which is my studio in the basement.  It is ever-changing, depending on what I can find thrifting. Also, it is where I spend most of my time and where this blog goes from vague ideas in my head into semi-coherent posts.

I am really, really lucky in that I have an entire room in the basement that I can do whatever I want with, and I totally take full advantage of that room. Besides being a work space, it is also a holding area. Whenever Tom deems anything scored during thrifting “too kitschy” or “ugly” or “too homemade looking”, I snuggle it lovingly into my basement refuge for a while until he gets used to seeing it down there. Then I usually try to work it back into the house somewhere where he won’t notice it.

Oh, and sometimes I use the room for novel-writing. Sometimes.

We can start with some before shots, which I just came across the other day in our photo archive.



Wow, huh? Pretty hideous. This is way back when, before Tom and I had even had our scary basement carpet removed and replaced with some excellent VCT tile.  Back then, I was just happy to have a little place of my own for my own stuff. Or, as Tom liked to call it, my “garbage room”. 


Fast-forward one year. The carpet is gone, and a nice, neutral flooring is in it’s place. I picked this flooring because I figured it would be nice to have just a plain, light canvas to do whatever I wanted.

Plus, the walls are totally overdue for some paint, and I wanted to keep my options open in case I want to go with a wild color. Like metallic gold.

Kidding! Kidding!

Well…maybe. 🙂


And here it is, my studio in it’s current incarnation!  I have it set up in designated areas to serve our various hobbies and growing collections. Above is a long vintage folding table which I use as a craft table/desk. This is where I sit when I am writing the posts for the blog!

In the back, you can see my sewing stuff and a PBN on the wall banned from the upstairs by Tom. The black filing cabinet under the sewing table holds vintage photos from my grandfather’s collection.


A vintage GE kitchen clock, some plastic seagulls and a lone skunk salt shaker I picked up somewhere for a quarter. He was just too cute to leave behind, but also too kitschy to be allowed upstairs.  The old index card  file holds vintage postcards, photos and greeting cards. The metal chest below that holds mailing supplies, paper and artist supplies. Next to this chest is a large drafting table I use for sketching (badly) and painting (even worse).


My ever-growing collection of vintage, retro and new fabrics. The top shelf is almost completely vintage aprons. I have A LOT.




I got this molded plastic wall-hanging at a recent church rummage sale for 10 cents. Tom hates it, so it is now in a cherished spot in my studio!


Another storage corner. This dresser was my grandmother’s, and it holds my extensive vintage pattern collection. Also, my beloved ram lamp and two more PBNs have found a home here.


More crafting space with an poker table that came with our basement and some Steelcase chairs, and a set of three Marushka prints. I found these together on a recent thrifting trip, so I am assuming that this is one of the pre-matched sets that were sold as a group to be hung together. I love the owl, mostly because it’s big-eyed expression reminds me of one of my cats.


Yeah. Now you can see it.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this tour of my studio and work area!

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8 Responses to What My Studio Looks Like: Then And Now

  1. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Isn’t it great to have your own space? And we need to work on Tom and his fear of kitsch. A little kitsch is like a little sunshine. 🙂 Though I kind of like that your basement is the island of misfit knick-knacks and wall decor.

    I love that dog plaque and want to peek through your patterns. We had that same clock the entire time I was growing up. It hung over the fridge. Brings back some great memories. Thanks for the tour!

  2. Betty Crafter Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 9:18 am

    What a great space! I love me some PBNs too 🙂 I also adopt widowed salt and pepper figurines. I think we should institute a kitsch education program for Tom! We should start mailing him little kitch-y goodies and try to win him over 🙂

  3. Barbara - The Tattooed Housewife Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 9:40 am

    wow! you are lucky to have a space like that all to yourself! and its so inspirational! my family and i are moving soon the the midwest so i really hope i can find a place with a basement I can put all my stuff in! can’t wait to go thrifting up there either!

  4. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

    SO jealous of that space Ruth!!! We have virtually no basements here, so finding a house with one in AZ would be a miracle! I love everything about your kitsch-ed out space, esp. that you can decorate it how you want to. I agree with Eartha and Betty, I think we need to start a kitsch loving program for Tom! 😉

  5. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The Mister and I have a friend who once decided to start a “Knick-Knack of the Month” club where he sent crazy knick-knacks to complete strangers whose names he got out of the phone book. Maybe we can get him to reinstate the club just for Tom. 🙂

  6. RetroRuth Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks, guys! Glad you all like it!

    Eartha – Ha ha, that “club” sounds awesome!

    And Betty & Sara – It would be hilarious if everyone sent Tom a little bit of kitsch, just to see what happens! I don’t know what his reaction would be.:)

    Barbara – Good luck with the move, and if you get a MCM house, be sure to send us pics!

  7. Andrea Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Oooh, I am loving your space! Largely because you have so much of it, LOL. I have a large chunk of my basement, but it’s been in various states of transition since Ella was born and took over my previous room, LOL. I would love to get a closer look at your lovely stash of fabric! the dog plaque and skunk shaker are awesome – you definitely need to work those into the main areas of your house 🙂

  8. ae Reply

    August 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Just love the idea of a knick knack of the month club. So glad not to see anything we gave you on Tom’s “do not put up” list!

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