Zoe standing in her new studio with her arms stretched wide. Photo taken on move in day before any furniture is in

New Studio!

I’m moving to a new studio tomorrow! Keep reading to find out why I’m left wondering yet again why I didn’t take up jewellery!

Why are you moving?

I’ve been rather forced into the move but I am grateful to have been given a much needed shove! I currently work from a little studio in the garden of our rental property. It’s by no means perfect but it’s been incredibly convenient and with no extra cost to the business.

We have thankfully now found a house to buy (which we’re also hopefully exchanging on this week) but there’s no workshop space. Whilst I may in the future decide to build something I needed a short term fix so I could continue carving. The business is thriving at the moment so I don’t have an option to take 6 months off, nor do I want to!!

I’m also really excited to see how it feels to have a workspace away from home. With a three-year old running round, it’s not always easy to get settled at home, even on days when I’, not responsible for childcare. I’m also starting to feel it’s a bit unprofessional being at home. It’s so personal when clients come round and I’d love to have a space which was just the business.

What new studio space are you looking for?

The house we’re buying is in the same village where we’re renting so I started looking at options locally. The first couple of spaces really weren’t for me. I found it really disheartening, but it did help me understand what I was looking for. I didn’t want an office, and a barn wasn’t right either. Something with character, a bit of space and ideally some people around. Being near people would be a big perk as I’ve found working from home very isolating.

It was important to have a space which could get a bit (or let’s be honest a lot!) dusty and not have to worry about it. A space which reflected the nature of the business would be ideal, natural, historic and British.

Zoë's previous workshop or summer house in her garden at home

Zoë’s current workshop, at her home

Where are you moving?

Whilst visiting our local I was chatting with the landlord who made a winning suggestion. My new workshop is at Houghton Lodge.

It’s a beautiful grade ll* listed building which is part of the historic houses scheme. The garden is open to the public April to October and has a lovely tearoom. They’re also a wedding venue and have bed and breakfast too.

Just near to the house are some lovely outbuildings. One is used as a garage, a different one has just been renovated and will be let as a shop, there a fantasist Wheelwright in another and the old Brew room was vacant.

Wisteria growing up a stone building with a blue sky
Wisteria growing up a stone building with a blue sky

The lovely outbuildings at Houghton Lodge 

What’s the Brew Room like?

The second I walked in I got the right feeling about the space. At the time it was being used as a general storeroom and the ceiling had been pulled down in places to allow for maintenance on the beams. Even with all that it still felt right! Having never looked for a workspace before I somehow hadn’t realised that you need the same fuzzy feeling you get when house buying.

The ceiling is supported by a massive tree trunk, the floor is old bricks that undulate pleasingly. The window and door are in keeping with the style of the main house and so pretty. There’s also an old bread oven and open fireplace which will hopeully keep me warm in the winter.

Zoë's new studio full of items before it had been cleared and renovated

The Brew Room before it was cleared

Nesting – studio style!

I found the space two months ago but had to wait for some work to be carried out. The staircase has been boxed in and the ceiling repaired. The new walls have been plastered and everything given a fresh coat of white paint. A tap has been put in and the fireplace lovingly restored.

Ever since I found the Brew Room I’ve mentally been moving my work furniture in! I’ve got a great new workbench from Arbor Garden Solutions which was very kindly gifted to me. I’m looking for some nice old wooden stools as well and some sort of natural matting for the floor.

Tomorrow is the move in day and wow I’m excited!!!

Zoë sideboard in her old workshop waiting to be moved

Unpacking the sideboard ready to move it 

The move

Well today is the day! With our son happily in Pre-school my husband and I start the task of moving everything. It’s always at this point we both wish that I had become a jeweller or even a wood carver, something much lighter and less dusty anyway!

We’ve also borrowed our neighbour’s truck which I have to say is a far bigger help than I realised!

First thing to move is the furniture. My current workshop isn’t large, so I don’t have many big items, but everything is packed in and uses every single inch of space available!

Having moved 4 times in the last three years most of my tools are in boxes so I don’t have to pack and unpack them all the time. I also really hate spiders which can be a challenge in dusty old workshops! Lidded boxes stop me worrying about what might be hiding at the bottom of a tool bag!

Zoë's old workshop looking very dusty with stone leaning against the walls

The old worshop is certainly going to need a clean!

Trip number one!

With a laden down truck, we’re off on the 5 minute drive to the new studio. I haven’t seen it since the renovations have been completed, I’m excited to see them and hoping everything is finished.

I really can’t hide my excitement! It’s far better than I had imagined and looks so smart with a fresh coat of white paint. They’ve even gone to the trouble of painting the beams and the RSJ black which makes everything look so much crisper!

Zoe standing in her new studio with her arms stretched wide. Photo taken on move in day before any furniture is in

My New Studio!

The table and sideboard fit in so neatly, like they were always destined for this space. It’s amazing to have so much room, it’s about three times bigger than any workspace I’ve ever had before. Gone are the days of packing everything in and falling over bits of stone neatly stacked up everywhere!

Phil starts getting creative with where he unpacks things, finding hooks much higher than I can reach to ‘artistically’ hang my dungarees! I feel it might be time for a bacon butty to keep the workforce happy and focused!

There’s a lovely café on site called the Honesty Tearooms. A bacon butty and a coffee later and we’re set to go for load number 2.

Zoë's Husband Phil hanging her dungarees over the fireplace

My husband Phil ‘helping’ in the new studio

How is the move making you feel?

There are lots of reasons why this move is exciting, I think the best part is how it’s making me feel about my business.

For me, it’s a big step up that my business can afford to reliably pay a monthly rent, that certainly feels like an achievement. For the first time I have chosen the space I want to work in. So, for me this move is about my business feeling more adult and less like it’s in its infancy!

 I’m excited about the new space I’m also feeling a little sad about leaving my previous workshop at home. It’s been such a good (but small) space, light and warm and I’ve had some real career highlights whilst being there.

 It’s lovely to quietly spend a little time settling into the new studio, its amazing how having all my furniture and tools in has made it feel more like my work home, I’m sure it’s a good move!

Zoe and Husband Philip with a Bottle of fizz celebrating

A little moving in celebration!

Zoë's new work bench in place

The new Workbench under the beautiful window in my new studio

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