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Thread: House Addition for Sewing Room

  1. #1
    Senior Member RonieM's Avatar
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    House Addition for Sewing Room

    How many of you have had an addition added onto your house for the sole purpose of it being your new sewing room?

    What difficulties (if any) did you encounter?

    What do you think you did very well?

    What do you think you could have done better?

    Any tips you'd like to share?

  2. #2
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    Are you planning an addition? Our addition wasn't for a sewing room. We added a den 16x 25 across the back of our house. A screen porch of 16 x 16 continues the addition. This has become where we spend most of our time.

    I would start a dream notebook with ideas an inspiration. You will want to use a good scale for determining the size. Don't make the room long and skinny. Use a measurement that already comes close to that length to avoid waste of materials.

    Plan your room according to your needs or zones. How much space do you need for sewing activities? What machines do you use in your sewing room? Any future plans for specific machines? What are your storage needs?

    Put electrical outlets at counter height. I would do a quad outlet or even a tower plug outlet. Consider your lighting requirements and perhaps a lighting planner. There is a formula for lumens for the size of the room.

    Think about the window treatments and size of each window. Larger windows costs more to decorate,

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    No, I have not had the joy of planning an addition, especially for a sewing room.

    However ... the secret to your success will be to plan, plan, plan ... and plan some more!
    Then when you think you have it ... plan more again!

    Take your time ... and do it right, so you don't have your druthers later.

    The thing is, what is right for one person, is not necessarily right for you and your life.

    What I have done when doing major renos (next thing to a total new build) ...
    I start with the dream listing along with a file folder where I put brochures, magazine pics etc. with no true decisions made. Just possibilities that are in the running. You can chuck the no-goes, later!

    When you are ready to move forward, get out the graph paper and start drawing out what you want. Check the measurements and space needed with what you already have and what works ... or know what needs to change.

    As you get closer ... start mentally living in your new room.
    What I mean is that everything you do, you mentally think you are in your new room, and where it is or where it will be put as you put it away. Before long, you will start to find what's not going to work. Or what is missing in your new plans.

    That's when you start re-planning.
    ... and keep doing again and again and again ... til you have it right!
    Repeat .... as many times as is necessary!!!

    Enjoy planning your dream room!
    Last edited by QuiltE; 06-18-2019 at 01:52 PM.
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  4. #4
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    We recently had a small addition added to our little cottage- bumping out seven feet along the width of our house allowed us to add space to the kitchen, main bathroom and our bedroom. We also squeezed a tiny house half bath off of our bedroom. I also gained a good size closet and a sewing nook with a built in counter for sewing and storage for fabric and supplies. Now, I'm sure you are thinking of something on a grander scale but we are thrilled with our extra space. I'm looking forward to having a dedicated space for sewing away from other family business. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    We closed in a garage and had it finished by a very good handyman. The shape was already determined and I had an idea where the quilting frame would go. We planned around that, but ended up changing to a different layout after the fact. I had a plug installed in the ceiling that now gets very little use. There are only two things I would change. I would install double or triple the lights we have. We had the foresight to put our lights on dimmers, but what we thought was plenty of light has turned out to be less than ideal. The other change I would make is to the floor. Since it was a garage it has a slope to it so water drains toward the wall where the door was. My handyman offered to use a leveling product on the floor, but it took days to dry and we were already needing to move things into the space (baby was 2 months old and we were tripping over stuff in the house). I'm guessing that won't be an issue for you.

    Some of the things we did right: lots of plugs (every 6 feet I think), One wall of upper and lower cabinets with plugs between and a counter top for work/storage of "everyday" tools, made a cutting island out of 4 base cabinets on wheels, plug in the ceiling for Quilter, large windows, LED lights, hard surface floor for easy cleaning, but we do have one large area rug, separate circuit for a small fridge and another separate circuit for the Quilter, a cable outlet for TV, excessive insulation and a hotel-type heat/air unit that serves only that room, cabinetry has door, and also drawers for storing smaller things like blades, needles, pens/pencils, patterns, feet, etc.

    I know a lot of people agonize over size, layout, and such, but I really think you cover the big things in planning, then adapt to your space as you use it and fine tune.

    Have fun planning your new space!

  6. #6
    Super Member canmitch1971's Avatar
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    Our house had an attic that was totally unfinished. We had a carpenter come in and finish it off for me. It has 3 dormers so one is a small bathroom, one is where my sewing machine is and the last one used to have a small computer desk and computer. One whole wall is shelves and closet.. I love it.
    Besides my family, my pets are the most important things to me. I have had birds, a dog or cats since I was about 8 years old. The cruelest thing you can do to me is take my animals away.

  7. #7
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    Years ago I added onto my garage; we'd originally had a 6' x the length of the garage added to the side of the garage; with an in wall heater/ac unit; after my husband passed away I had that ac unit removed and a wide doorway put in and a 14x14 foot room built in behind it; first off too many windows so very little wall space; the drawback was i had to go through the garage to get to the room; later I had the deck removed from the back and a 15 x 30 foot room added that adjoined the previously added room. I've since migrated into the bigger room; the original room - too small. I wish now i'd made it 25 x 25; so per others suggestions, yes plan, plan, plan - a lot. If you put in a built-in sewing cabinet/table; have the outlets just above the table tops; easy to get too; all mine are about 36-40 inches above the floor. I have carpet in mine; I think now I'd opt for some sort of wood laminate. But always as my mom said, too soon old, too late smart. I do wish I'd planned better. Good luck and how fun for you!

  8. #8
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    Also, add plenty of led lighting; fluorescent lighting can fade fabric - I did Not know that when I had my original lighting put in and I wish I'd had more but I can live with it - like I have a choice! I have since changed out All my bulbs in the house to leds. Love them.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-19-2019 at 08:47 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  9. #9
    Super Member lawsonmugs's Avatar
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    I for one would love to see some of these renews or rebuilds. Pictures give more ideas.
    Mary

  10. #10
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    You might consider getting industrial steel shelving that is adjustable - the kind that does not have screws.

    It comes in various sizes and one can change the shelf height - relatively easily. I have the kind that one assembles with a rubber mallet. If you get the 24 x 48 x 84 inch size - it goes together much easier with two people doing it. (I did put that size together when I was much younger and in a stubborn (stupid) mode - but I finally decided to ask for help with the next ones!)

    Fabric is heavy. Depending on what brand you get, I think different colors are available. The metal parts of my shelving were painted blue.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 06-19-2019 at 09:14 AM.

  11. #11
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    Tip: Put electrical outlets waist high on your walls. Easier to get to. I say waist high, but it could be 'top of desk high'.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  12. #12
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathyvv View Post
    Tip: Put electrical outlets waist high on your walls. Easier to get to. I say waist high, but it could be 'top of desk high'.
    Oh, yes, definitely. I'm getting ready to make a new sewing area in my winter residence and that is what I'm planning
    Nancy in western NY
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    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

  13. #13
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    I remodeled my garage into my sewing studio. Plugs are higher than desk top so I don’t have to worry about not reaching them. I also had to have a ramp installed to get out into the space which took up a good 6’ of my space so instead of 17’ by 21’ I am down to 9 or 10’ by 21’. I can change out the ramp if I want to by winter bc I have a small elevator that I intend to put in. Then the ramp goes away except for the two landings I had put in. I have 6 bookcases plus one extra large cabinet on wheels for my fabric and I’m not kidding when I say I have more yet to put on shelves. I did have the 4800 led lights put in with plugs in the ceiling. My electrician installed them and also installed two small ceiling fans and a garage electric heater for winter. Plenty of insulation two nice size windows in front plus outside door. I also had a door put in on the east side if I wanted to open it up for fresh air. My daughter got hold of a 14000 btu portable ac unit a lady was getting rid of and I’m a happy camper. I have two sewing cabinets but I have yet to get my janome horizon out there. Waiting on removing my sisters’ ScrapBox that I got for a steal. Someone wanted to get rid of it. I have one of the original ScrapBox and I just love it. All my tools in one place plus lots of storage for thread n fat qtrs I’ll have to take some new pictures to post. I also have a large cutting table w/ sides that drop. My one sewing cabinet is huge so opening that one wide will have to wait till the ramp is gone.

  14. #14
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    I also am in the process of putting my fabric on the magazine boards. I just love how my fabric is displayed on the shelves. Looks like a store. I did put curtains up on the bookcases bc of fade issues but have the led lights. I also had white metal (like pole barns) installed on the walls and ceiling. So nice n bright.

  15. #15
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    Great minds think alike!
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  16. #16
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    We are never satisfied, there is never enough room for all our quilting stuff!
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  17. #17
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonieM View Post
    How many of you have had an addition added onto your house for the sole purpose of it being your new sewing room?
    What difficulties (if any) did you encounter?
    What do you think you did very well?
    What do you think you could have done better?
    Any tips you'd like to share?
    We dormered the attic over our two car garage about 2 years ago for my new sewing studio. It is a lovely bright place to be creative. I received a lot of ideas from members of this board.
    I worked directly with our contractor and electrician. I put plenty of LED lights, some recessed and some on strips that are adjustable. I had electrical plugs installed at different heights on walls, a couple in the floor in the middle of the room and a couple in the ceiling.
    I have plenty of storage under the knee walls which would have been wasted space. I also chose LVP (luxury vinyl planking) flooring which is super easy to keep clean and durable.
    Good luck, it’s very exciting to have a designated sewing space.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  18. #18
    Senior Member juliasb's Avatar
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    22 years ago we had the addition and remodel of our home to accommodate my sewing room. It included access to the bathroom too. That is the one thing that could draw me away in the middle of a project and I would have to make a running dash. This access made the best sense. Having a computer station also was a must for digitizing software to be at hand so I could test designs or stop to take a break like this to learn more and more from each other. We built a single wall of cabinets and a built in cutting station. I keep a single book case in here that has quilting patterns and books. The cabinets house my fabrics from floor to ceiling and the lower cabinets have 3" built in drawers to handle various notions. I keep a small chest of drawers in here too that hold other medium items. At one time I had my quilt frame set up in here then after several years of only having a path I decided that needed to be moved down to the guest room. The lighting was also a big investment. I have 2 skylights and large windows on 2 sides from east to west so I always have the best lighting for sewing anytime of the day. I max the use of this room every day. The only thing there was no space for was a design wall. I also keep 4 of my 12 sewing machines in here. The others are now in the guest room. I do all most of my sewing in this room, only when I am using my mid arm machine am I sewing in the other room. This sewing studio addition was the best gift I was ever given and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for this special space I can call my own.

  19. #19
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    I only dream about possibilities.

    I have two ongoing dreams. The first is to gut and renovate my basement. It is about 800 sqf and has a bathroom and laundry room. Currently it is divided up into 4 rooms plus the bathroom. Each room has a different type of wood paneling. If wishes were fishes, I would remove all the paneling, insulate, replace the windows (they are old single pane), upgrade the electrical and lighting.

    I would combine the two rooms on the North end of the basement, there is a load bearing wall, so some engineering would be needed. I would add a wall of built in cabinets to the interior wall. This would give me room for my books and fabric. The long arm would stay in current location.

    The sew larger sewing room and laundry would be painted a very pale buttery yellow, the other room currently is the family room and it will be redecorated with a wine theme. The closet (only one currently in the basement) is large, but under stairs. It will be insulated and given climate control and become my wine cellar. I will have this space outfitted with a wine cooler, comfortable seating and a table for wine tastings.

    Now I know that should be more than enough, but since I am going with the premise that I would have unlimited funds here is the second dream. Completely unattainable at this time.

    In the next 10 years, build a new home where the cottage is. I have pretty much decided on the house plan. It is open concept, with two bedrooms on the main floor and a large loft/bunk room above. Big decks to take in the view. Where you ask is the sewing room? I would have a free standing studio on the hill behind. It would be about 20x30 (have to meet local bylaws of max 600 sqf. There would be a small bathroom with a shower, kitchenette and a large closet on the back side, the front would be a wide open space with lots of windows (I will risk fabric fading, I love lots of light). My long arm and supplies will be towards one end and the other will have my sewing machines. There will be interior seating for hand work, a huge cutting table on castors and an ironing station. A covered deck will run the length of the studio and will have more seating, hanging baskets and climbing vines.

    Things I want in both spaces, comfortable flooring. I do not like carpets, so a floor with give is important. Lots of light, natural if possible, otherwise light from a variety of sources, except fluorescent. I know many love it, but I get migraines from the flicker. Windows, the bigger the better. I realize this limits wall space, for upright storage, but I need light, and if I build at the cottage, I will have a wonderful view. Pale, but not white walls. My current sewing space is a very pale buttery yellow and I love it. It is warm, does not distort fabric colours and reminds me of sunshine. Loads of outlets and lots of breakers. The current cottage only has 30 amp service and the original outlets do not have grounds.

    Flexible furniture, preferably on castors. Room for art. I have an eclectic taste in art and I need room to display beautiful things.

    Lastly, I need room for another person in my space. I would love to have room for a friend to join me.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  20. #20
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    My hubby offered to build on but I wanted my own space that I could just walk off and leave and nobody would bother. We ended up putting up a building in the backyard, all my own. It's 16X24 and I love it. I spend lots of time there and have friends come and sew with me.

  21. #21
    Junior Member Bobbinalong's Avatar
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    As a Brit, living in a standard 'semi', I can only drool. I guess I am luckier than most to have the use of the spare double bedroom, but haven't had the courage to jettison the bed yet!!

    Having extended the ground floor here, I agree with the mantra of 'plan, plan and keep planning'. I can remember getting out of bed in the middle of the night with a new thought in my head and a tape measure in my hand.
    Singer Featherweight 221, Janome MC 4800, Janome Horizon 8900QCP Special Edition

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