Sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving last year my husband asked me what I thought about the idea of turning our loft into a crafting space for me. At the time it was home to a pool table that was being used as everything from a storage table to an ironing board. It was most definitely getting much use as a pool room. My original reaction to his idea was lukewarm. He was already overwhelmed by the house projects we had undertaken and this was not going to be an easy task. Selling a pool table is virtually impossible. By the time you pay someone to disassemble it and re-felt it you can almost by a brand new one. Then there would be the hundreds of hours of work building out the room. I did not want to sign him up for that. But he was persistent. He started drawing out plans and little by little I became excited about the idea of having all of my creativity centered in one space that I had helped to design. Quickly after posting the ad on Craig’s List the table was sold and the blank canvas was ready to be transformed. 

We spent hours hashing out what the room would look like. The back wall would be lined with custom built in shelves. In the center of the room would be a giant custom built bench with shelves, drawers and a full butcher block countertop. Lighting was going to be tricky because a lofted ceiling made running electricity in the ceiling impossible without cutting into drywall. By late November, he had texted me a picture of him standing in front of 1000 pounds of wood that would become The Oodlearium. He wanted so badly to have it all done in time for Christmas, but it was just not a realistic goal.

By late January the shelves were installed. Then the work on the actual room started… fixing issues with the walls, painting the skylights, installing the track lighting and prepping for the table to be built. By early spring I was in the space with a temporary table set up in the middle of the room. The shelves were filled with all my art supplies and even though it was far from complete, I was loving having a place to create.

Summer in Illinois is anything but pleasant. Early June arrived and so did the heat. It was just too hot and humid to work in the garage cutting all the wood for the bench. His energy shifted to other projects while we waited for the weather to break. After months and months of anticipation, the room was finally ready to be unveiled. 

This past Saturday I left for my run and when I returned the table had been assembled and installed. I stood in the room that took almost 350 hours to complete. Tears gushing down my face, I just kept saying thank you over and over again. It has been about two weeks and I have spent so much time in their creating– pour painting, drawing, doing yoga and just thinking. It is everything I dreamt of and more. 

Now if only this pandemic would take its cue to exit stage left so that I can start having friends over to enjoy the space with me. For now, I am looking at doing some virtual classes and events. Stay tuned for details!

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