This year has gone by in a blur. The beginning of the year I moved 2 rooms within the studio: the teaching workspace and my personal studio. This involved patching and painting walls, designing the layout of each new space, purchasing and painting furniture, moving existing furniture, sewing shades for six windows, and more! Come late Spring, an additional room became available, so I decided to make it into a little boutique. (For years, I’ve been in need of a place to show and sell my creations. I had considered renting additional space in other locations; I’ve offered my goods at local galleries / giftshops; and attended local art fairs – which I hate doing.) So, I went to work imagining the ambience I wanted to portray in the little hidden gem I would create. My goal was to have it ready for the first of November, for Christmas sales.
I wanted the space to reflect the charm of the 120-year-old building. The goal was to mix old with new. Old building architecture and furnishings with new (modern) items for sale (artwork, giftware, refurbished finds). The first thing I did was deal with the horrible walls in there. One, in particular, had layers of paint splattered on it. It was impossible to sand down, so I decided to work with it. I ended up adding more texture to it, to create a “wallpaper” effect. It looks amazing now. (I’m pretty proud of myself!) Next, I found some crown molding (cheap on FB Marketplace) to add around the door frames. This transformed the space from ordinary to something special. The window took up one wall, but the outside view was lacking, and the bars on the window were pretty awful to look at, so I decided to hide them with some ornate drapery, which I sewed myself! I built a cornice to heighten the window, and now it looks very regal.
All the while, I was collecting furniture for the room. I searched for antique / vintage furniture of the Queen Anne era. (I love the elegance of this style. It is so unlike the modern furniture I have at home.) I refinished each piece so they would match in colour, but also to modernize them. The room was beginning to take shape. I found a fireplace mantel, which I mounted above the electric baseboard heater (seeing as I couldn’t put furniture in front of it). The room itself was a design nightmare. It was small and square, and every wall but one had either a door or a window, so not much wall space to line furniture or hang pictures or shelves. The floor was another problem. It was scuffed and spattered with paint, and would take a lot of time and elbow grease to clean. An area rug was the best solution. Within a few months I had single-handedly transformed a small and insignificant room into a lovely and whimsical space. But now I had another “problem”. I had very little wares to offer. I was afraid to underwhelm anyone who would venture up the stairs to my little boutique. (This wouldn’t inspire them to return!) Seeing as it was just about time for Christmas shopping, I knew I would set up a Christmas tree. I would offer cards, original artwork, and the few items I had previously created. But I knew I didn’t have nearly enough things to fill the room, so I got to work making Christmas tree ornaments at home, in the evenings, after teaching, after working so hard finishing the boutique. (I blame Pinterest!) I photographed and promoted my creations on social media platforms while scrambling to come up with an original name for the boutique. Everything – and I mean everything – I came up with was already taken. (My creativity was working on overdrive by this point.)
I finally came up with a name that would offer some glimpse of what the boutique was about. And so I designed and built a sign for the entrance, and also for the front door downstairs. The boutique was ready for its debut. This is the little snippet I posted, a walk-through of my new boutique: Imaginings & Wonderthings, a giftshop offering original artwork, handmade jewelry, and vintage finds. My passion project.