Small Business

Create Your Own Creative Space – But How?

August 16, 2016

My husband always says I need to work outside of the house with my own studio OR I need to open a big shop. I can’t say he’s wrong. I have several rooms in our home where I store props, my work, have fixed spaces for workshops and of course, my office… But it’s in our home and so I never feel like there is a disconnect from work, ever. I have another office that I use outside of the house where friends work, it’s like a shared space where I pop in whenever I need to but only my laptop stays there… The stuff I need to do the more physical part of my job is all at home.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

Whenever I work on my books (currently, I’m planning my 5th) and shoot for clients, my husband gets stressed because part of the house has days when it turns into a photo studio. Last week, several rooms were used for video work so it was upside down again for a few days. As I’m trying to build my business in new ways, I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I know my fellow creative friends like Sarah, Victoria, Emily, PaulJoy deal with constantly taking their neat creative studios and homes and turn them on their head for shoots and clients… I often wonder how their families deal with it and their colleagues… But more than that, I wonder how to deal with it in my own life — how I can perhaps find some peace within all of this creative, exciting madness!? Well let me rephrase that… I have plenty of peace with it, but with a little boy and a husband, something has to change when your man isn’t enjoying the chaos as much as you do. My toddler stormed into my studio yesterday with a black magic market and immediately grabbed a brand new book and colored all over the cover in mere seconds. It’s impossible to work the same way with a little child around, so I have to get a system in place asap.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

I’ve been looking for a creative space here in Hannover, Germany for nearly 6 years, actively for 4 years. Still nothing. I see a separate work space as the only solution – so if you know of anything in Hannover, Germany that I can transform into a large studio space where I can also invite others in to share the space from the time-to-time, please let me know. Because I would love to create my own Light Lab Space and have had a business plan in my hand for this idea for years. I want it so badly and I have faith that someday I will get it but until this happens, I need to create realistic, workable ways to deal with my work at home.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

By the way, you can see more photos of the space shown in this post here.

So! Do you have tips and ideas on how to manage working from home – I could use some creative suggestions. Specifically, how do you handle prop storage, and management after you no longer need the props… And how do you handle working at home when you have photo shoots and people coming in and out of the house when you also have a husband and toddler at home? How do you manage it all?

(All photography: Sarah Sherman Samuel)


  • Reply Jelena August 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Maybe rent a small apartment near your home, I wanted to do that but could not finance it. It is probably cheaper than the street front studio, but it may work well since you already shoot and do everything needed in your own apartment. Anyway, good luck!

  • Reply Elora August 16, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Same here. My husband and I both work from home, so every other day I just pop to a local coffee shop to get some work done.

  • Reply Janel August 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    You are looking for a space similar to what Jordon Ferney just found for her Oh Happy Day studio in San Francisco. She just blogged about her struggle and search as well. One thing she did is look on Craig’s List, which is how she found their new space. Perhaps you could rather advertise for a space, while still looking? May help expedite or open up a space that’s been shut for years? Good luck!

  • Reply francetaste August 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I wish I could give you advice, but all I can do is say I understand. I work at home, and my husband is there 24/7 since his employer filed for bankruptcy 4 years ago. Our kid is now big, but there definitely were years when I had a little one screaming Maman!!!! while I was interviewing a CEO. I’d love to have an office in town, but then it would be impossible to throw in a load of laundry and all the other little things I get done during the day when I take work breaks.

  • Reply Teale August 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Ah. No small feat! I cannot yet speak to the toddler part. I’m inclined to think that time is the only solution for that one. Hahaha! I live and work out of the same space as well. I chose to visually split the space so I have an entrance to the studio side and one to the residential side. Then I decorated them differently. Home is a traditional cave and the studio is white washed and modern. It works well psychologically and allows me to play with my diverse design interests. I also rented a nearby storage container for tools and materials. It serves as a giant industrial closet. I like the additional apartment idea too! Good luck on your hunt for a solution.

  • Reply Hester August 17, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Finding the perfect studio with good ceiling height and natural light must be a real struggle. Hope you find something soon, recon this post will result in an undiscovered place coming your way, fingers crossed! Have a similar situation here, I shoot all my books and video’s in my house and have allocated the downstairs as my studio. Photo equipment, computer and props are all there and we moved the living room to a large bedroom on the 1st floor. Not only can I leave my work downstairs in the evening but also my boyfriend has somewhere to chill when we are shooting. Maybe something you can try? If you have a good idea what to do with used props please let me know! Then again think the local charity shop is pretty happy with me ;)

  • Reply Miral Mehta August 17, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    These are some really nice ideas… clever use of white makes the decor look so graceful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply nicolenicol August 19, 2016 at 8:28 am

    oh its crazy with toddlers and kids. Sometimes i try to transfer their rooms into a space to photograph or the lounge room into a nursery and the cot will sit there for a few weeks till i get another child free time to complete my pics.. I can relate but on a much tinier scale than you. nicole

  • Reply germariebruwer August 23, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Such a challenge… for any mom doing a creative job from home, there is that blurred line between where work stops and where home begins. I am lucky that I live on a farm so I’ve converted an unused 280sqf shed into my work space, but still it’s not enough! It’s fine for when I’m doing messy painting or DIY’s or something – and the kids pretty much have free reign in there as well – but it’s not suitable for photography. And when I do a shoot inside the house, it’s a total mess. My family handles it quite well – a few weeks ago my 5-year old came back from school only to exclaim: Mommy, you painted the living room again! – but juggling 3 kids and camera equipment isn’t always easy.
    Thanks for the link to Light Lab – so inspiring. Maybe it’s time for me to start looking at that unused stone building behind my house in a new light ;-)
    Germarie x

  • Reply Lavues August 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Nicely organized furniture there, love it.

  • Reply Garden Menace August 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Well I guess it can’t be helped with what you do. My advice would be to strictly separate working hours from resting hours. Like have a schedule. Working at home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at home :) Set the borders of office and home throughout the day. Good luck!

  • Reply MARTA August 29, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    In my new apartment i will have brick wall in my office. :) Fantastic ideas and good luck!

  • Reply Philipp September 1, 2016 at 8:49 am

    You might consider rent-sharing an apartment with other people in the same situation like you. Coworking spaces are becoming more and more popular, but I think it doesn’t always have to be an office environment. A studio can actually be more private and provide the creative space you need.

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