Creating your own beautiful space to relax, read or create master-pieces in.

As we head into further restrictions again, it's more important than ever to create some space for yourself in your home, both mentally and physically, a place where you can relax, distract and make entirely yours, with special treasures and personal touches, here's how.

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Cabin Fever

It's been a long held dream of mine to have a small creative cabin in the garden, especially now my husband works more from home and needs the office in the house. This Summer, we finally made the dream a reality.

It took a while for it to get here thanks to high demand since lock-down, Everyone had been renovating their gardens and craving some solace in a summerhouse, but it eventually arrived 4 weeks ago and since then we have been building and painting like crazy to make this space really special.

Once it was constructed and painted, I've been shopping for the all important, ideal purchases to fill this small but mighty space. It's just 2 m x 2.5m, so we needed to make maximum use of every nook and cranny!

Because it is such a small cabin that had to fit a tiny irregular space behind the back of the garage, creating as much light was key to making it a workable place to write and do art in as well as relax,  listen to podcasts or read my latest copy of Psychologies magazine!

For all these needs, I knew it required a decent desk (obviously), a comfy chair and plenty of storage space. Originally, we were going to build a bespoke bench in the corner, and we might still do that but for now, one we already had will do.

In fact, in order to keep costs low and not waste things, the cabin occupants are a mixture of old and new, and I’ve picked the ‘new’ things purposely to go with these. So, these are the ‘old’ pieces that made the cut:

  1. A beautiful chair gifted from my lovely friend and interiors blogger, Claire from @myhousecandy. This is my absolute favourite colour and a beautiful design that fitted perfectly in the corner.
  2. My old dressing table chair that is white and rattan from Barker and Stonehouse, small and lightweight so I knew it would fit in here
  3. The storage chest in the corner and the navy blanket, both from Dunelm Mill, which will double as a seat too if need be. This stores most of my art materials for needle-felting, painting, and drawing.
  4. Decorative bits and bobs that have moved in from the house that mean something to me, so The Habbit picture I got from Staithes art festival a few years back that I absolutely love from @daub.jg who combines animals to make a new one – this is his hare cross rabbit, hence the habbit and it’s a reminder to me to get into a more routine habit of writing daily!

Empty Hendricks bottles (my favourite gin!) serve as book ends (excellent recycling I say!) and hold together many of my favourite well-being and creative books.

The Mousehole picture from our recent holiday to Cornwall stands proudly on the new shelf along with one of my succulents from @bloomindaleflorist

The aloe vera plant grown from a cutting by my friend, who also brought me this lovely sunflower. The black and white vase, wooden star, seagull picture and the little blue bird are again all things that I had already and loved.

The ‘J’ used to be in my bedroom and my collection of notebooks and the pencil case are from friends, Staithes art festival and a couple of recent purchases and finally the easel, art box (behind the chair) and magazine rack are all ‘old’ too but have been upgraded to the cabin.

And so, on to the exciting new stuff, which has caused me many a sleepless night in decisions!  I’ll list them in order of purchase...

First up was the 'Curious' sign (pictured further down), I ordered before the Cabin even arrived!. I’ve always wanted one of these from @modocreative and so this was the treat-piece of the cabin and I LOVE it! They will create any word for you and have a wide range of colour options and designs and look very cool, even if I do say so myself!

Next was the desk, which had to be the perfect size for the space, practical with some shelves and of course beatuiful. I found the perfect one from Soges Home on Amazon (£70), a bargain I think as it’s really solid, a good size for the space and I liked the two-tone effect and the fact it has shelves too.

Now, I never do the flat-packed putting-together thing, I get too frustrated normally, but I actually managed it along with the help of my 12 yr old son and was quite proud!

Next came the rope mirror (further down) and the candle lantern, both from a local furniture store that has designer furniture at discount prices – Cosy Homes, in Scissett, Huddersfield @cosyhomes20182018  – if you ever need a designer sofa at a great price, I can highly recommend taking a look online.

I then spotted a small little plant stand in TK Max that I knew would fit perfectly in-between the windows and I loved the quirky detailing. Whilst shopping at Sainsburys I spotted a bargain of a clock in the sale, just £10. Things were starting to come together.

The Range was next on my list as I know they do a fabulous ‘range’ of frames and picked up these great black and white dotty /animal print effect styles (see further up) and knew they would go really well in the space in-between the windows too above the snake plant.

Whilst there, I spotted this cute fur footstool that could double up as a seat or table too – everything I looked for seemed to be multi-purpose and practical. I also looked for things that were different textures to soften up the space and bought a fur cushion cover from Dunelm Mill too for the corner, a respite from all the wood.

Time for some plants! I knew I wanted some big plants in there to bring the outside in and give a fresh modern feel as well as help oxygenate the cabin in Winter. I did check out which ones would survive out here though as my mum was convinced I would kill them all! I asked at Dobbie’s garden centre (Shelley Huddersfield) and got some great advice so picked this one up (left) and the other from B&Q.

Whilst at B&Q, the next job was a rug and doormat, again looking for maximum opportunity to keep it bright and also add texture, the rug was a bargain at £30 and I love this doormat too.

Then onto Ikea for the final purchases of the shelf which I love because it brings all the different coloured woods together and breaks up the white wall, perfect to display my books.

I also picked up this trolley which I’d had my eye on and I knew would work well to have by my side when doing art pieces and can double up as storage and a little side-table next to the chair – I envisage it being a little tea-station too in the future.

Now being a flat-pack expert(cough), I attempted to put this together too and I honestly think the desk was easier! But anyway, after lots of huffing and puffing trying to get the tiniest of screws in, I eventually got there. I'm really happy with the result, the white metal mesh, two-toning with the wood looks fab! 

The final bits from Ikea were these; a grey felt storage solution for a blanket and slippers in the winter that works well with the storage box in the corner, another plant and two-tone plant pot in grey and gold (see the theme here?), the desk tidy to hold all my notebooks and pens etc and finally a phone holder as cheap as chips at £2.25!

The cabin was filling up nicely and almost done, but there was one thing missing, doorstops so the doors don’t fly open (it’s very windy up here!). I picked up these gorgeous mustard pompom ones from Next and this beautiful blue patterned glass candle that smells of the sea, called sea-salt, to remind me of that lovely trip to Cornwall we took this Summer.

So, this is how I put it all together, step by step and honestly it is the most calming, creative space I thought I could only have dreamed of and now it’s here and real and I feel incredibly lucky to have it.

Oh I almost forgot a very important part! In terms of paint, I picked Sentosa from the Sandolin range and the white too (used to paint beach-huts so I knew it would be tough for the weather up here!) which is a really rich blue-green, turquoise-teal colour, that contrasts lovely with the white and of course fits in with the colour scheme inside.

Inside I used the same white but then kept the frames and beams and floor the natural colour, just treating them with Osmo wood protection oil to break up all the white.

The only things left to add are a beautiful second-hand cardholder a friend is giving me aThe idea it to display all my art cards on.

I also need to get some electricity wired in here, before it gets too cold for a little heater  and a desk lamp and some lights I‘m selecting from @cableandcotton -  where you can pick and choose the colours – this is becoming a bit addictive, there’s so many options to choose from.

And finally, I’m going to order a window film from the lovely @hannahnunn to go on the side window as it currently looks onto the garage wall, so it needs prettying up!

And that’s it, so I hope this gives you some inspiration to make a creative space in your home. I realise I’m very lucky in having this outdoor space but even if it’s just a corner in your hallway or part of another room, there are ways and means to make it special, to make it ‘your’ place, with your own personal touches and clever ways to add in practical solutions to make sure that the space works for you in what you want to do.

I’d love to see your creative spaces too, so please do share with me via Instagram. Now, the key thing is to stop staring around the place in awe and get creating in here! 

Until next time,

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

For more ways to bring creativity into your life, check out my website for a whole host inspiring Blog posts, interviews and resources:

Or find me on Instagram @thecuriouscreativeclub or Facebook, The Curious Creative Club

Juliet Thomas, The Curious Creative Club

Creative Blogger, Maker and Accountability Coach, Mrs

Following a 20+ years corporate career working in PR and Marketing, I left to pursue my life-long dream of writing a novel. However, I soon came to realise that I didn't want to focus on just one thing. I'm a huge advocate for all things creative and so I set up a website and weekly Blog to combine my passions of writing, art and photography, to encourage people to live a more enriched life fulled with passion and purpose. I deliver local writing workshops, am the founder of a local accountability group - WOW Wednesdays, produce artwork I sell locally and recently created 10 Instagram Live sessions for @psychologiesmagazine called, 'Gain Creative Confidence' which you can find on their TV channel and Instagram. My Blog focuses on all aspects of creativity, the psychology behind why it is so good for you as well as many practical tips and prompts to get going. My next adventure is to combine this knowledge into a none-fiction book, which will be part-memoir too, explaining how creativity has supported me through challenging times. The website also has a free resource page, The Curious Cave, which allows readers to learn more and further their creative journey through my recommendations of books, magazines, podcasts and other inspiring social media accounts, all to support you on what I know can be an incredible personal journey.