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Junkaholique Sheds

It seems like whenever I read a success story some idea was formed in a shed or a garage. Have you noticed that? It’s a riot. From computers to candles, I imagine garages and sheds all over the world with this glow around them and little light bulb moments by the millions happening every second. I was telling my husband just yesterday that I need a shed! And we had a good laugh about that. But it’s so true, when one has a space of their own to go a bit wild in from a creative standpoint, so many cool things can result.

I guess that’s why I love what Artemis Russell and her husband Nao Utsumi have done to be creative at home. Nao is from Japan but has lived in England since he was 18 and his wife, Artemis, is from the Isle of Wight. They live in England and write the lovely blog Junkaholique but that’s not all…  They spend their days collecting and gently restoring vintage things from the UK and France to sell in their online shop (THE BUCKET TREE) but they also make gorgeous jewelry that they also sell online (RUST) — all created in their individual workspace – sheds! Not one but two sheds! Artemis sews and weaves and makes things in her crafty shed and Nao does his work in his cool shed too. I mean, hello – how inspiring is this?

In our home, my husband has his own creative workshop – it’s a room where he has his computer, instruments, photo equipment, collections, books, everything he loves is in “his room”. And then I have “my room”, a large light-filled workspace with a massive table for spreading things out, crafting, hosting girly nights, stuff like that. And then we have our bedroom and other common areas where we mix and share the space. I am a big believer in sheds, garages, attics, basements or spare rooms (even corners of rooms) where a person carves out their own space that their partner doesn’t interfere with – so in my husband’s room I don’t influence any decorating decisions and I certainly let him have his privacy and I never touch his collections – I never walk in without knocking first – it’s his space and I respect it. As a result, he is very creative and happy and in there he composes music, takes photos, writes and then of course does his “day job” as well. It works so nicely.

When we are little children, if we don’t share bedrooms with our siblings, we normally have our own bedroom. That’s where we dream, create, work, explore, imagine. Then we grow up and get married or partnered up and we’re expected to merge everything into one space and it’s hard! We do it because it’s part of being adults we reason, and because the more rooms you have the more expensive it costs to live, but often there is one partner who really wishes that they had their own space and from the homes I’ve worked in on decorating projects, it’s usually the guy who sacrifices so his partner can have her sewing room. This is very generous, and though some guys just don’t care to have their own “zone” I think many wish they did — and I imagine it’s really hard to not have a room to be creative in especially if a person is naturally curious and creative.

Everyone has different needs, of course, but it’s good to see if your partner has those needs for a corner or room to use just for them because it’s assumed, sadly, that, “Most men just don’t care” and I believe some really do – at least most men I’ve met love the idea of having a media/computer room or a place to display their collections, etc. An “escape” from the rest of the family is good sometimes!

In my house, we both need our space. We had to pay more to find a place to live in with enough rooms to accommodate both of our needs for creative workspace, but it’s worth every penny because we both get so much more done than if we didn’t have these rooms to work and dream in. In our rooms we even invite over our friends and often my friends hang out in my room and vice versa, he’ll have the guys over a few times a week and they hang out in his room and watch films, talk, listen to music, etc. which is nice for me because then I have the whole house to myself. I think this comes from how we were raised though, my grandparents always had their own space. My grandmother had her room with her piano and my grandfather had his photography room upstairs. My other grandparents had their own space too, my grandfather converted an area below his barn for his projects and my grandmother had her room for sewing, etc.

I love when couples have their own space to be creative if they require it – and I’m all for using whatever you have to make it work, even if that means building little sheds in your backyard or carving out a spot in the basement or even in a closet like Gregory Han has in LA. It’s really important to do whatever you can to be creative and to make space for that. Creative people who are involved in making, creating, doing work they enjoy – even hobbies after work – are some of the happiest people on earth.

See more photos of Artemis’ shed here.

Photos of Nao’s shed.

Their jewelry shop and their Japanese blog (so cool).

Their vintage wares shop.

Do you and your partner share workspace or do you each have your own nook? How does it work for you? Does your partner ever express a need to have their own space to do things they love? Thoughts?

(images: Artemis Russell)

Posted by decor8 in small business on July 01, 2011

Your comments...

  1. Michael G commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:13pm

    Now I want a shed!!! Beautiful post; thanks for sharing the inspirations.

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  2. Lau de Casalil commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:14pm

    I love these studios… so inspiring/// thanks for sharing
    Lau de Casalil

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  3. Luciane at HomeBunch.com commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:17pm

    I agree with you and this post is very interesting and well written. Good job!

    My husband and I work from home, we have separate offices (or we wouldn’t be married anymore! LOL). I think it’s really important to have your own space, the space that you can create w/out being interrupted. That’s very important for me, personally.

    xo

    Luciane.

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  4. ali harding commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:20pm

    I totally wish we could do this right now! :) my husband is an outdoorsman and a sportsman and we’ve and whittler, we’ve talked about creating some kind of den for him and just haven’t yet. I am a knitter and would love a place to organize yarns and needles etc.

    Sigh…someday. :)

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  5. Karyn commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:30pm

    I love this post! Even though I live alone (so technically it’s all my space), I’ve never carved out a specific area of my apartment just for being creative. And perhaps, that’s the reason I’ve also been struggling to focus on creative endeavors. I try to journal, create, and dream on the same couch and at the same table that I watch TV and pay the bills. I think that it’s time that I change that! Thank you Holly for the ah ha moment! (also for the introduction to this couple and their work….very inspiring!)

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  6. Chedva commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:32pm

    I’m so glad you brought this up! In our old house(which was a rental) I used to work in the living/dining area. It wasn’t awful but I truly felt I needed my own room. Now that we’ve moved to our own apartment, my office (or work room, as my son calls it) is my favorite space at home. My husband spends most of the day driving around for work and says he doesn’t feel the need for a workspace at home.

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  7. Izabella commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:38pm

    What a wonderful post! I could not agree more. I think everyone needs their own space to work and let their creative moments loose! I have my own working space decorated with all of the things, photos, objects that I love and need to be inspired. It is such a wonderful escape from the rest of the apartment and gives me freedom to really be in my own thoughts while I work. My grandfather had 2 entire barns of machinery and “toys” that he liked to take apart and fix while my grandmother had a little sewing room. I’ve always dreamed of renovating an entire barn to work in … but one of these lovely sheds would work too! The different in their styles, even in those little spaces, is great.

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  8. sami commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:43pm

    great post. i absolutely love artemis and nao and have been quite obsessed with their lifestyle since reading about their gorgeous wedding.. everything they do is magic. my fiance and i share a teeny apartment. i do all of my blogging and crafting in the kitchen and he does his fantasy baseball playing and video gaming in the living room. it works :)

    xo
    sami

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  9. Ana Aguilar-Corneya commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:54pm

    What a lovely story, it is so important so that we have the room and mental space to be able to work. I am in design and hubby in knowledge management and by each having a separate rooms we are able to function and work.
    Love their sheds, so sweet and am going to check their website.

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  10. Jana @ the Summer House commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 3:56pm

    I completely agree…I think that’s where I lost some of me…when we filled up the extra rooms with 2 small babies. and at some point event he garage was made into a common area. I think I will work towards having our own spaces again. Thanks for the light bulb moment.
    xo Jana

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  11. Emily commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 4:09pm

    I love this post, Holly! My grandparents made a living as leather crafters. Their shop was a shed-like building right beside their home. As a child, I had to most fun stepping out their front door, taking about 30 steps to the shop, and being transported into a whole new creative space with a story of its own. Still today, as a maker of handmade goods, the concept energizes me. Have you read A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan? It’s a great read about his quest to realize a room (small, wooden hut, to be exact) of his own. As he calls it, and as I see it also, it’s a “shelter for daydreams.”

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  12. Connie @ Daydream In Color commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 4:24pm

    Wow. This is so inspiring! I’ve always dreamed of having a shed! WHen I was a little kid, I remember having a toy shed. I’d sneak away in to the backyard & spend all day playing with my stuff. I’d gone back years later & it was just this tiny little room in the back that seemed huge to a kid, but all I remember was how much fun I had in it. Now, I wish I had a creative shed!

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  13. Liz @ TheSnarkyBeagle commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 4:26pm

    I love this. When I was a kid I was constantly taking over various garden sheds, closets and under-the-stairs-nooks to be my “office.” I’d draw and write poetry and be generally silly. Thanks for reminding me how much I loved that! Now I live in a tiny one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend… I wish I had more space (or an under-the-stairs nook) to draw and sew.

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  14. Denver commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 4:29pm

    An inspiring article! I do agree that we need to have our own little corner of the room as our own creative workspace. Collecting vintage things keep us reminded of our younger years.

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  15. Becky D@KingsDownRoad commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 4:37pm

    How cute are those sheds!! I need one! :) I’m afraid if I had a shed it would be full of spiders.

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  16. Ege Denne commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 5:03pm

    So good to see it doesn`t have to be big space… One good thing with it as that you can close the door when you don`t want to see it, or keep it safe from kids.

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  17. Andrea Dozier commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 5:06pm

    This is such a good point! I have been slowing making my own space reflect only me. It is refreshing & valuable to my photography! Once you dedicate a space (in my case a corner) to yourself, all of the sudden you are happy & inspired to work. It releases creativity in a new way!

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  18. Angelia commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:03pm

    This is so right for me now. I recently had to close my retail/design studio and am working out of my house. We were just taking about a new shed/storage type building. These are so inspirational.

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  19. Stacie commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:07pm

    This is integral to our relationship! I have my own room and a portion of our garage as my creative space…and he has his own room too! Who says we have to give up our space when we merge our lives? Love this post!!!

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  20. Janet commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:16pm

    haha, styled “sheds”.

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  21. Susy commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:27pm

    Like it a lot!

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  22. Megan D commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:30pm

    I adore Artemis’ website – along with this one, it is one I regularly visit for doses of beauty! I’m so glad you featured her shed, it is so sweet and such a good reminder of how important it is to carve out space and time for our creative selves. (PS Love your blog Holly! And your book is in our local bookstore out in Pasadena. When I saw it I was so happy for you!)

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  23. Lisa commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:52pm

    Love these sheds so much! I’m afraid mine would never look that neat, tho — when I’m in the creative zone I make a HUGE mega mess! ha ha ha!

    My husband and I are so lucky, we each have our own spaces to be creative AND we have a shared office too. Although, I must confess that my creative mess sometimes spills over onto his desk in our shared space, ha! It’s gotten to the point where he just laughs about it now. I try to keep it clean, I swear! ha ha ha!

    Hugs to you Holly, and here’s to a creative weekend and creative husbands! :)

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  24. patricia commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:05pm

    Great post! I think we all need our own space, although this is not always possible. I have work from home many years, with my two daughters around, and it s really hard… also in a relationship to have space is the key, I always said that a good relationship is that where you can be with the other like being alone, kind of being alone together ;)

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  25. Maria @ Scandifoodie commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:21pm

    Isn’t that just so cool! It is my dream to have a shed where I can work on my props!

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  26. riye commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:31pm

    Great post Holly but now ~I~ want a shed. :-)

    My bf and I live in the same building but keep separate apartments. We both work a 9-5 job and he also does freelance design work and I’m a sculptor. Having our own spaces to work in really helps when the deadlines are rolling in and one person is going crazy (usually me) because she’s convinced nothing will get done in time. I know some people think its a weird arrangement but it works great for us. :-)

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  27. Christina Diaz commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 8:42pm

    Love their spaces. I am officially obsessed. We have a shed in the backyard which is currently holding garden tools but I have always dreamed of emptying it and coverting it to a studio. Now, two sheds…that might just be the way!

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  28. mae chevrette commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 9:30pm

    I love this post! You totally nailed the idea that while people can love living together, shared space is not always the most productive or creativity fostering situation.

    After college my boyfriend and I moved into the upstairs of his parents’ house to save money, and while we had a lot of space, our “living room” was also my painting studio, packing/shipping area, office area and art supply storage. Not only did I feel bad that he was surrounded by my art mess, but I was also definitely distracted and less creative any time there was anything else going on in the room. It was frustrating for both of us. We moved to our own place around the same time I decided to quit my office job to pursue painting full time, and the decision to find an apartment with a dedicated studio space has made so much of a difference! I now have a small but beautiful studio all to myself where the set up, decor and privacy allows me to be at my most creative– this in turn makes us both happy.

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  29. Silvia Byrne commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 9:33pm

    Hi Holly, there is so much truth in the need for us to have our own spaces, no matter how small, especially when trying to be creative. I think even if the spaces have to sometimes be shared, we can still put our own mark on them – in our rental my husband has a room which we use as TV room but it also has his desk as he often works in the evenings, and really it feels like HIS space in the way it is decorated – all dark leather and white and blue with a big world map on the wall, simple and masculine … I share the kids playroom with them for my painting and computer table but the whole room feels like an extension of my space because it’s colourful and messy and has loads of artwork and inspirational stuff around … so even if spaces have to be shared, I think it’s possible to make them feel like we have our own corners in them. Thanks for the inspiring posts always and Happy 4th July. x

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  30. Kim B. commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 9:49pm

    You’re so right Holly. We can’t afford separate rooms, but we are paying extra for our apartment just to have one extra bedroom in which we can hopefully each have our own workspace. After our last apartment (200 square feet for the two of us and our cat for 2.5 years). I just needed to be able to carve out SOMEthing just for me in this home, even if it’s only a workspace – a desk in a cozy corner or something. The space will be shared with my husband for his workspace too, and lord knows he has horrible decorating taste, so I’m just going to have to turn my back and pretend I have my “own” pretty little inspiring space.

    We’re not there yet in terms of getting furnishings and decorating, but I have hopes.

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  31. Keely commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:45pm

    I love what you said about couples needing space. My husband and I are being swallowed up in our tiny one bedroom apartment with two kids, two cats, a dog and my “creative projects” all over the kitchen table. We dream of having our own spaces someday…

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  32. yasemin commented
    July 1st, 2011 at 11:24pm

    I screamed Dalahäst! : )
    Then I fell in love with the bags.

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  33. Nat @ Dear Little House commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 4:59am

    Do we have our own work spaces? Not yet, but we’re working on it! I can’t wait.

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  34. Melissa Jaine commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 7:38am

    Love it! Growing up my dad was always in his shed. Fixing something, planning something, dreaming up something – and having a smoke of course. I believe there is an Australian book called “Men and their sheds”, and there was a tv documentary about it too!!
    mj.
    x

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  35. jennifer commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 4:12pm

    My partner and I live together and we each have our own space. He has a recording/music studio in our basement (which he has painted orange!) and I have a painting studio set up in a spare bedroom in our house. We have been together for 16 years and partial credit must go to the fact that we encourage each other to spend time being creative, alone. ;0)

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  36. gabricci commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 4:41pm

    Okay, so when can I move in!

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  37. Jennifer@brooklyntwig commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 10:25pm

    My German grandparents always had separate creative spaces – my grandmother for sewing and my grandfather for writing. In the Summer they used adjacent sheds for the private time, including occasional afternoon naps. It made so much sense to me, and so my husband and I have incorporated separate ‘office/workspaces’ in our home. I think it’s a wonderful practice — and the examples you show are so beautiful and inspiring as well!

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  38. Jennifer@brooklyntwig commented
    July 2nd, 2011 at 10:26pm

    My German grandparents always had separate creative spaces – my grandmother for sewing and my grandfather for writing. In the Summer they used adjacent sheds for the private time, including occasional afternoon naps. It made so much sense to me, and so my husband and I have incorporated separate ‘office/workspaces’ in our home. I think it’s a wonderful practice — and the examples you show are lovely and inspiring.

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  39. Ea commented
    July 4th, 2011 at 4:59am

    oh how i would love to have my very own shed/workspace! right now i just work anywhere in the house where there’s natural light and relative peace and quiet. their sheds are very cozy and inspiring. :)

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  40. Susannah commented
    July 4th, 2011 at 10:55am

    We each have our own space and it is invaluable. To make it work for us instead of having their own rooms, our 2 little ones share a bedroom, (and they have a little play room off their bedroom which they love), and then I have a room all to myself….it is my studio/office, and I cherish it. After working on the kitchen table for so long, to now be in a house with a room I can decorate as I wish, and spread out all of my photos and projects, and be able to shut the door and work (not to mention leave projects have finished where little hands can’t get to them), is heaven. My husband has all of his music gear out in the sleepout, and he often heads out there to play and write. We are both happier people as we get our creative time, and it means we are a happier couple, and happier parents. Everyone needs space to dream…..I absolutely agree with this blog post Holly!
    ~Susannah

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  41. Decor Girl commented
    July 5th, 2011 at 3:41am

    Neat post, thanks for sharing. Everyone does need their own special spot for creativity. Does he really keep it this clean?

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  42. Margarita Lorenzo commented
    July 5th, 2011 at 11:34pm

    OMG if u see the state of my shed…if I make it look this good where do i keep all the garden tools, bikes etc…I might need a second shed…

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  43. Marta commented
    July 6th, 2011 at 12:05pm

    Yes, we do share workspace. It’s been ok so far, but if we could we would have one space for each other to mess around. He already offer me a notebook so I can navigate the internet sitting in my living room and he could have the computer just for him :)
    The room we share has to be music place (he plays guitar) and craft room (where I crochet, knit and sew) so you can imagine that we have to be very creative with the space since it’s not a big one.
    Luckily we have a litlle attic that we use for storage and keep things we use less.
    I live in an apartment but I love the idea of a shed!

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  44. Seventeendoors commented
    July 6th, 2011 at 12:51pm

    How beautiful your sheds are, I am sure you both find a lot of inspiration there. Thanks for sharing, and nice blog, that I just found! I´ll be back.
    Ulrika

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  45. Bill Philby commented
    July 7th, 2011 at 3:46am

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile. You have some interesting ideas and not as mainstream as the others. This article on the Junkaholic Sheds was a great twist for us guys into design.

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  46. Marcela commented
    July 16th, 2011 at 3:03am

    I love this post!!!!!!!!!

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  47. Rose Merritt commented
    June 28th, 2012 at 1:57pm

    Both sheds look some comfortable and have possible opened up a market for shed interior design!
    Rose Merritt´s last blog post ..Dunster House expands with two extra packing lines!

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