Vancouver, BC, Canada • Visit Website »

Come behind the scenes at Thrifty By Design for a #CraftRoomTour and see Denise's multipurpose room (aka all in one craft room / office / living room) in Vancouver.

(Photo by Julie Larsen)

I've managed to create an eclectic, warm, inspiring space that is very me. It's filled with finds from the dump, the thrift store and garage sales. Plus free stuff friends and random people have given me. My space brings together all the things that make me a very happy person - inspiring quotes, photos of my family, my adventures and my husband plus colourful pieces like swanky pillow covers, vintage lamps and low maintenance plants.

Tell us about your space

I live in a one bedroom ground level suite in a heritage home. I have one big living room that is connected to the dining room and kitchen. My living room hosts my home office plus doubles as my crafty space. It can be quite challenging to keep my space clean and organized at times.

I tend to sew and work on small projects in my space. This could include pillow covers, baby booties, DIY jewelry, updating thrift store finds like frames... There's a full range of craft awesomeness that happens in my small space. I also prep samples for my Crafternoons (upcycling workshops).

The bigger projects like refinishing furniture happen in my parents' garage. Thank goodness they don't mind me being messy over there. Gotta love parents for supporting your crafty / upcycling endeavours!

What have you done to make your space cosy, beautiful or inspiring?

I've filled my space with the things that make me happy... Photos of my family, my husband, my adventures. I have framed prints and cards with either images or quotes that speak to me. I love having earthy coloured furniture that I then brighten up with funky pillow covers and other items to add sparks of colour. I have very few new things in my place. I love the one-of-a-kind finds or donations - my teak coffee table from the thrift store, my favourite chair from the dump and the awesome dining room table a friend donated to me.

How do you keep organized?

Rubbermaid containers!! Seriously... With being crafty plus giving tons of upcycling workshops, you need to be organized and on top of the mess. I have furniture that I specifically have to 'hide' my craft supplies. Yup - ya gotta be thoughtful in how you organize your stash. And every so often I purge. If I can't use it then I'm sure someone out there can.

Any tips & tricks for organising supplies?

Like anything you need to be harsh about your stuff... I would collect, collect, collect and it became unmanageable. So now I don't always take things when people offer them up. I do tend to collect egg cartons and cereal boxes for the workshops but I don't always need to take random stuff from people. Best to let them donate it to a local charity or thrift store for someone else to enjoy. Learning to say no is my trick. Also the Rubbermaid containers. And now I try to clean up right after my crafting instead of allowing the mess to just sit there and grow. When I wrote the book ('Raw Crafts') last year I learned my lesson - living in one big crafty mess is no good for anyone. ;-)

Which are your favourite possessions and are there any of your own creations on display?

My 1950s Singer sewing machine... It was a total score! I bought it for $10 at a garage sale. I even got a sewing lesson included. I replaced the belt then the plug and it's worked like a charm the 8 years I've had it. Best $10 I've spent!

My other FAV is the cabinet I store my fabric in. A coworker gave it to me. I stained the wood then added beautiful brass pulls to it. The pulls cost me about $100 but it was worth it. I also had a craft date with my Dad - he helped drill the holes for the new pulls. It's a gorgeous piece plus has sentimental value.

How do you organise your inspiration and ideas?

Someone donated cork tiles to Thrifty By Design years ago. I glued them to wood panels then stenciled words on them (wants, needs, peeps, ideas). I have these hung by my desk where I collect biz cards, ideas, memories.

I also carry a mini notepad around with me where I write my ideas or thoughts down. Plus I use my trusty iPhone for taking photos of things I come across that inspire me - crafty pieces, quotes, people, etc. I'm a very visual person so random photos help me remember any crafty epiphanies I have while out and about.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Sometimes Pinterest although I find Pinterest an overwhelming abyss. Too much visual stimulation I find gets in the way of getting things done.

I also Google stuff... Sometimes I'll wonder - what can I make out of wine corks? Then I do a search and see what inspires me. You can always find something that gets your crafty mojo going.

Going to local craft fairs and seeing what other people are doing and making. I love to see how ingenious people can be when working with unorthodox materials.

If you had three wishes, what would you do to make it the dream space?

Well there's always room for improvement on the organization front! I would wish for a bit more organization and a better handle on purging. Sometimes we hang on to things too long. Purging definitely is a fine art.

Hmmm more shelving. I'd love to have some shelving made out of pipes and salvaged wood. Or salvaged wood shelving that hangs from the ceiling with rope. That could be kewl!

If I had a green thumb then I would wish for more plants. Maybe some nifty way to have succulents surrounding me as I create. Why not!

Whose craft room would you love to explore? Send us a message!




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