Is this room fake?

I have a friend who is an artist. I like having artists as friends or artistic friends because sometimes I get art as swag. But it’s not all paintings and pottery, unfortunately. As I hang out with them I see their houses, and then I start to feel inferior. Here’s an example.

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Does this room look fake to you? Like it was staged for an episode of Friends, perhaps, where nobody could possibly live in such a cute apartment on the salary of a waitress or assistant chef? Yes, that’s what I think, too. There’s just no possible way this is a real room in a real house.

And yet it is! This particular friend is an artist, and this is her studio. Now I’ve seen a lot of studios and craft rooms over the years, and they’re usually not that special. Maybe the spare room has a sewing machine in it, and all the scrap-booking supplies are somewhere, and there are piles of tools. That’s cool. I like those rooms — because they’re comfy, full of character and energy, and they don’t need to be fancy. The one room you shouldn’t have to decorate is your craft room, right?

But my friend went and raised the bar. I have spent some time trying to figure out why this room is so freakishly appealing to me, and I have some theories. First, it is all one color. The floor and walls are creatively paint splattered. I love a little organized mess. It looks like a design. My friend hung drop cloths on the windows. They look so good I’m thinking drop cloths should be a regular curtain material (paint splattered, of course). So that’s a wonderful backdrop for the rest of the stuff going on here, like the walls and the work tables. I really get stuck studying the walls and worktables when I visit.

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My friend has collections that are well displayed. She found the shelving pieces in the basement of her house (salvage), and displays all manner of objects she picks up on the streets, in her grandpa’s barn and around the house (her house is over 100 years old, so it’s like an archaeological dig). Check out these nails — old Victorian nails. The wire was found in the house or yard or on the street. It looks like art, doesn’t it? And how about the hammer? Could it be more picturesque? I suspect this room is part of the artist’s creative process. I’ve heard about the creative process, and it always sounds very mysterious to me. I have never experienced it myself, but I would like to. I just hear the others brag.

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I’m thinking of making myself a craft room. I do no crafts and have no abilities, but I would love to buy little clear jars (I’ve got mason jars! Could use those!) and fill them with nuts and bolts and embroidery floss. And ribbon. I have present ribbon all over the house. That would be pretty if I piled it up. I could pretend to be a crafty person if it meant having a room like this. Then I could just sit in it my craft room and read a book. And breathe. And summon the creative process.

Portlander Nancy Ranchel is a self-described accountant, design fan, serial re-modeler, compulsive re-user, and blog writer.