Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 15, 2009

Around The Room : Office Tour


With a new little one coming soon one of the big things that needed to happen around here was to move my office (you can see photos from that space here and a blog post here) from our spare bedroom into our additional room (basically a den or potentially second family room). This room is down the hall from the main living area and next to our bedroom (right across from the laundry room which is very convenient).

Chris had been inhabiting this space and using it as his office and picked the mustard color for
the walls. Where is Chris' stuff now you may be wondering? In a corner
off the main living room. We moved a small desk, a printer, and his
computer out there so at least he has a bit of room (but not enough). He was very
generous to give up his nicely painted office.


I feel really good in this space. I love sitting next to the window and I love having all my printers within arms reach and nothing is under my desk (my hard drive and my laser printer used to be under my blue table). My Mom helped me get my desk area together and it is definitely working out really well. The small wire shelves are all from Target. The red drawer unit and chair are from Ikea.


I love that the sewing machine has it's own prominent location in this space. It was ok in the shelf unit in the old room, but this is quite a bit better. The framed type above the sewing machine is a limited edition print by Susanne Cerha called Parts of a Character. The poster is the inspiration for a collaborative project called Type is Art. Red chair was found at an antique store. The cloth bulletin board is from shim and sons.


Framed print "Truth" from artist Kelly Rae Roberts. You can check out her online boutique here.

You may be wondering where all the stuff I was storing in the past
has gone? I have spent a lot of time over the past few months going
through all the things I had collected and picking out the things I
really cared about the most and generally paring back to the basics
(obviously I still have way more than the basics). 

Many of the things that were stored out in the open in my last space
are now stored inside the lockers. I may still paint the lockers
someday in the future but for now that good old grey is working just


My workhorse table made the move down the hall. I originally purchased this kitchen island as a changing table before Simon was born – it is just the right height for someone like me who stands up to do most of my creative projects.


I also love this table because it has a couple drawers (adhesives and tools are stored inside) and two shelves below. Baskets and other random containers are used to corral letter stickers, stamping supplies, punches, etc. I try to keep this area to the things I use most often. The two baskets on the floor below the table are for garbage and recycling.


Because there is a lot of wall space in this room (much higher ceilings) I decided to hang my wood mounted stamps in two different wood units. The bucket style ones were picked up at a local antique store and the other is an old type drawer from another antique store (here's another idea of what you can do with these old type drawers using photos). I also decided to hang my paper trimmers and rulers (the trimmers are the desktop and portable rotary trimmers from Fiskars – love them). 


Behind me as I sit at my desk is a chalkboard for to-do's/idea generation (goodwill again) and four small clip boards for projects. The paper wreath is from etsy seller Haru.


This blue table was picked up from Goodwill a few years back and has been a great desk. And I LOVE my wireless keyboard and mouse.


Across from my desk (in the corner near the backdoor) is a large bulletin board for ideas and inspiration. There's not a lot on there right now…adding bits of this and that as I go. The large chipboard heart pieces are coming soon from Technique Tuesday.

One of the questions I am often emailed is about where I find all the A's I have around the office (and around our house). Many of them have been giving to me as gifts over the last few years of teaching + traveling for events and most of the others have been found on ebay or in antique/junk stores.


Under the bulletin board is a wood storage piece I also found at Goodwill. I store larger products in here along with kits and some in-progress projects. Yellow chair and working typewriter are from garage sales.


I found these lockers last summer at the Coburg Antique Fair. Next to the lockers are two sets of paper trays from Display Dynamics that hold my cardstock, patterned papers, page protectors, etc. The far tower is actually in a wood case from Display Dynamics and the near tower are just a bunch of the stackable paper trays all stacked on top of one another. I have had these for quite awhile now and definitely recommend them.

I am working on keeping it pretty simple all around. It is definitely not this clean on an everyday basis as I move from one project to the next, but so far this set-up is working just fine. I am enjoying the more open feel and the higher ceilings.

And where are all the albums? I decided to keep the metal shelf unit (from Costco) in the baby's room and purchased a canvas cover and clear shelf liners for each shelf (that allow the albums to stand up) from The Container Store. It's a good use of the space we have available here and the canvas blends well into her room.


Um yea, planning to iron this soon.


And here's a peek at the inside. Along the top are some of my parents photo albums with the rest of those currently stored in a closet. The albums I use are all 12×12 cloth covered from American Crafts (color is Chestnut). You can read more about my albums (including how I went about organizing them all and a look inside one of them) here.


Another thing that is nice about this space is that there is a bit more room for all of us to be in here together. I can work in that little space on the other side of Simon while he watches something on the laptop and Chris does something on my desktop. Usually I end up cleaning up during these times but sometimes I make stuff.

Now it's back to working on the baby room. I am waiting on an order of photos from and hope to have a room tour for you soon.

I am happy to answer questions about this space if you have them in the comments section today. EDITED: I am going to compile the questions + answers into a post for tomorrow rather than answering in the comments today.


Winners of the yesterday's giveaways were posted last night and can be found here.


  • 1.
    sue said…

    Love your new studio and it’s great that you can all be in there together when you want to be. My craft room is on my list for today to clean up and start a new project! Thanks for the ‘inspiration’.

  • 2.
    Susi from Germany said…

    One can tell that you’re really trying to simplify. Love that. Isn’t it just so very nice to look around and everything looks rather frugal than stuffed? I’m trying to simplify more and more, concerning all aspects of my life. And it just feels SO good! Very clever storing ideas!

  • 3.
    Sharon said…

    Your new space is awesome. What albums are you using? I noticed they are all the same color and size. I really like how they look. Thanks!

  • 4.
    {vicki} said…

    What happened to your red tool box and your spinner? Those were my 2 favorite storage items.
    Love the new room–really organized.

  • 5.

    Ali, thanks so much for sharing, you are so GOOD at that:o) Question… Would you share the dimensions of your space? Right now I have a 10X10 scrap space & a 11X14 office/library. I’d love it all in the same room when we do our renos & would like some kind of size to think about! I am about less instead of more these days… Thanks & Happy day!

  • 6.
    Cindy said…

    LOVE your reclaimed office space – and maybe jealous too. :-)
    Thanks for posting the pictures – it’s good for inspiration to do more with my space.

  • 7.
    Karen Tavares said…

    Thanks for sharing these. I can feel the peaceful Feng Shui. I was wondering why you don’t use a pen and tablet instead of a mouse, or if you have tried the pen and prefer the mouse. I don’t do a lot of detailed drawings but when I do I feel a litte encumbered by the mouse.

  • 8.
    HeatherC said…

    Love your space — wanna come do mine??? :) I need to organize/decorate – I have a space, but right now it is not very inspiring. One thing you do well is you are just the master of repurposing old things. That is really inspiring for us who do not have a lot of money to spend to see how we can best use what we have or give us hints as to where to look for things that will go in our space but not break the bank.
    My favorite thing in your room is your metal yellow chair. My grandma has one just like that (except it is brown) that has been in her kitchen for as long as I can remember. A lot of memories were brought back by seeing that chair!

  • 9.

    What type of albums are the brown albums that you have many of? Love the room. Looks like such an inviting workspace.

  • 10.
    Molly Irwin said…

    Such a happy and productive space, Ali.
    Two things strike me:
    1)I’m always so excited to see your ablums together like that. It motivates me to organize ours. One of my goals for this year: photos out of boxes and into albums.
    2)using your wall space. Thank you! I need to do more of that.
    question: to use your sewing machine … is the foot pedal inside the cupboard? Do you just open it up and pull ’round the chair?
    Love it all!

  • 11.
    Jennifer said…

    I love your new space – love all the red accents – love the wall mounted storage – so many great ideas here!
    Q: You have so many stamps – clear and wood mounted. How do you keep track of what you have? I also love stamps (and am growing quite a collection) but I seem to reach for the same 10 when I scrapbook. I don’t know if is familiarity or laziness or not remembering what I have and not taking the time to search through them all each time. Do you use all the stamps you have, or are they just pretty? Where do you keep your clear stamps – like your line at Technique Tuesday???
    Thanks again for the inspiration!
    JEN :)

  • 12.
    Amy said…

    wow! it looks great! I love love love that you re use and recycle stuff.So awesome! I can’t wait until I can get a little room of my own (Alex took over my scraproom, LOL)

  • 13.
    Julie McD said…

    Love the room! Off topic, does Simon totally love Horton? My kids (ages 10, 7, 4) and I do and I love the message it sends. I was amazed that mine “got” the message so quickly and that all of them adore it. Have fun with the baby’s room!

  • 14.
    Kathleen D said…

    Lovely room Ali! Can you give a little info @ your mac. I have had a powerbook g4 laptop for years now and want to upgrade to a desktop. I was looking at the one you have. Can you give some recommendations about ram/hard drive space etc. I use CS3 and LR2 and LR has been so slowwwww on my laptop. Oh and I use an external harddrive to store my photos, so that plays into the mix. I am moving towards more digital these days so I want something that will continue to evolve with me. Cheers!

  • 15.
    debbi hyden said…

    i love your new room…can you come to my house and help me set up mine?

  • 16.
    debbi hyden said…

    i love your new room…can you come to my house and help me set up mine?

  • 17.
    Kim said…

    Very nice craft room! Love the use of space and the use of the containers/storage that you have! Great room Ali! :)

  • 18.
    noell said…

    This is so nice and I love that you can all work in here together! What’s funny is that our new rooms are almost the exact same color scheme. Mine is yellow (more buttery than mustard, though) with bold red and black accents. I also have a small amount of green accents and want to add a little more.

  • 19.
    Caryl Hope said…

    I love your “workhorse table”! I hope it’s ok if I can get the dimensions? :-) Thanks!

  • 20.
    Shelly Jaquet said…

    Thanks for sharing… looks like a fun room full of fun finds for storage :)

  • 21.
    Alice Golden said…

    Love your space – and all your creative storage ideas – that is part of the fun, isn’t it? organizing what you have… I see that someone already asked my question – I was wondering if you have any good ideas for storing clear stamps…I have my TT ones in binders, but now am collecting so many other sets, it would be nice to have a way of cataloging and organizing them all together. Thanks for being such a great source of inspiration!

  • 22.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Love your new space!! What a great man to give up all the room – but nice that you can all share it also!! That just make it that much better.
    Have a great day.

  • 23.
    Samara said…

    Thanks for the tour, Ali! Your space is amazing — so put together. It’s also quaint and comfortable, warm and cozy. It seems to be a place where you feel good, which will no doubt lend itself to you being productive.

  • 24.
    Cynthia said…

    What an AWEsome new space you have now! Such a great hubby to give up his office for you – you’ve done great things w/ it! Looking forward to seeing pics of your baby room (and of course…your new baby! :) )

  • 25.
    Kim K said…

    WOW>>>Was that ever fun!!! I am STILL trying to organize my new craft room (it’s 6 months old and I haven’t gotten to the point where I can really work in it). You’ve given me LOTS of great ideas. I’m going to start planning (again) today! Thank you for the comprehensive tour!

  • 26.
    Amy said…

    I love how you pull things together from different places rather than just buying everything to match. I did the matching route, and although I love my room, I do wish it had a bit more personality. I’ll have to work on that. And I love the red accents with the yellow walls! Really looks great! I’m going to be on the lookout for some of those stamp bins, those are just perfect!

  • 27.
    Michelle said…

    Love your new space. Looks cozy and inviting. Inspires me to clean up my own act! Thanks for sharing.

  • 28.
    Tracy Lou said…

    Wow, you’ve got a great spot. I wish our garage sales and Goodwills had as much great stuff as yours do. (Then again, I wish I had a room devoted to scrapbooking too, but that’s a different story.) TFS!

  • 29.
    Caryl Hope said…

    Where’s the red toolbox? I love that… it has such character. :-)

  • 30.
    Bob Cadloff said…

    Your workspace has inspired me! It’s just fabulous, and I’m so glad you found the time to share it.

  • 31.
    poopsicle said…

    Hi Ali,
    Like both your old and new space. I guess I’m kinda of jealous. You see we are moving to a new house in 3 months. I could either have the basement with no sunlight and do what ever I want OR take the living room with lots of natural light but leave the walls untouch :-( .
    Q. How do you store your clear stamps?
    Q. What do you keep or store in those lockers (like them alot)?
    Q.If you use Tombrow markers do you store them upright or lying down?
    Thanks, Ali for sharing your space and
    p.s Thought you might like to know the colour red means love to everyone but in chinese it means good luck.

  • 32.
    Linn said…

    What a coincidence that I just posted about MY newly organized studio last night! Like you, I’m embracing Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits idea: clear it out and keep what you love (or in the case of scrapbooking, what you just HAVE to have) and get rid of the rest. I am loving this approach to organizing and life. Thank you for sharing is such detail.

  • 33.
    Lola said…

    Your room is great! I love how you have everything positioned just perfectly, especially your desk in front of the window. I was wandering, what does the saying, “mon petit chateau”, on the front of your desk mean? That looks really cool! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • 34.
    Joy said…

    I’ve watched your office go through a couple of incarnations through the moves and things the last couple of years and what really strikes me (all scrapping goodies aside) is that you’ve got good, solid, classic pieces that can get reincarnated over and over again.
    I am currently stuck to one large IKEA trestle desk and a small storage stack, (for scrapbooking) but as you have said, it really makes you consider what you truly love. I think the ability to make my desk go up and down (from sitting to standing height) is key for me. As my business is growing, the chance of me getting a ‘real’ office is becoming more of a possibility, and I want to remember that classic lines and versatility is the key.
    That, and your office is very “green”. LOVE THAT! But alas, my goodwill trips are never quite that lucky!

  • 35.
    Susan said…

    Gorgeous space!! If you ever want to give up your “day job” you should go into room design. Your photos came at the perfect time for me. This weekend we are planning to paint my new studio and we are having a difficult time finding the right paint colour. We’ve tried many!! I’ve actually been looking for a mustard colour because our house is very open and I like the colours to flow together. Would you mind telling me the exact paint colour you use? Thanks so much!! Good luck with finishing the baby’s room.

  • 36.
    LindiG said…

    Wow Ali!! Your office is beautiful!! Wish I had that much space to move around and be creative!! Just rearranged my workstation also – was getting a little cluttered and it’s always a great time to find things you’ve forgotten about! Thanks for sharing! Hope the baby’s room turns out just as lovely.

  • 37.
    Mefi Alapat said…

    love your space.
    how do you organize your pictures on your mac? i recently got a mac and am learning iphoto.

  • 38.
    Lan Amphone said…

    I love your room, it just stamps out your personality all over it. So cool that you found most of your unique items from goodwill and antique stores. I’ve never gone to those places but have recently been hunting for some good finds. Can’t wait to see pics of the nursery!

  • 39.
    Alis in Wnderlnd said…

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I am just finishing up our new office/my scrapbook room and I love everything you have hung on the walls.
    We had a bonus room in our house that wasn’t being used well. We thought it’d be a great playroom, but it has the best light in the entire house and lofted ceilings.
    We added a gigantic walk-in closet space, added a door to the room so now it is a Jack-n-Jill room combined with our guest room.
    We just refinanced and the appraiser is coming today. So excited we have gone from a 4 bedroom to a 5 bedroom house without needing to add-on.
    I love it so much, I plan to send in pictures to CK magazine. It’s my dream room; now, if I could just find the time to do more scrapbooking! :)

  • 40.
    Sarah Mullanix said…

    TFS, I am smack in the middle of redecorated and reorganizing my scraproom right now. I have been mixing and matching furniture (and painting it too) to better fit my needs. I’ve also picked up many small cabinets and shelved from antique stores and garage sales to hold all of my stamps, paints, etc. I LOVE your clipboards on the wall (definitely will be doing that)!
    Such a great inexpensive way to keep track of projects and assignments! Thanks so much for sharing the pictures and all the great ideas.

  • 41.
    mandy said…

    Why cover the albums up? Dust? Just Curious.

  • 42.
    melissa said…

    Love your room and organization. I have such a hard time committing to hanging things on room. this goes for my whole house not just craft room.

  • 43.
    Mary L. said…

    What I really want to know is how you do it all??? Do you never sleep?? I don’t work and yet it seems I never get anything accomplished. I started your Christmas album…managed to assemble it but never completed ONE page! And you’ve completed that album and then some! You’ve moved your office and organized a baby’s room on top of it. I need to organize my home but the “staying on top of things” takes priority. We travel a lot as a family…but so do you! I can’t figure it out!!
    By the time I get home from taking the kids to school/working out and finish my shower it’s 11AM then I check emails/pay bills/return calls, etc and it’s noon! That leaves me two hours until I get the boys and then MY day is over as it’s after school activities, homework, dinner, laundry and an hour or two with hubby before bed!!
    Seriously! Is two hours a day enough time to do ANYTHING?? HOW DO YOU DO IT?? Really, I’d love some input! I feel so inadequate!!

  • 44.
    Julie Howard said…

    Love the new space, Ali!

  • 45.
    Jeanette B said…

    Just like everyone else, I love how you’ve made this room work for you as well as Chris and Simon. I did have an “aha moment” when I saw those trimmers hanging on the wall!!! I have those very same trimmers and am always looking for a safe place to store them when I’m not using them. Did you use a cup hook, a nail or what? I thoroughly enjoyed “touring” your newly designed space, thanks!

  • 46.

    It looks so inviting and warm. Great job!

  • 47.
    Trudy said…

    Love it! The most impressive thing is how everything works so well together but blends and fits together. This may be a general design question.
    How can you take such different elements spanning from different time periods, textures, and sizes and fit them together? Is it where you place them or choosing a set number of colors in the room or picking items that blend from the start? You obviously choose things you love which have good function but how do you get them to work together?

  • 48.
    kaitlin said…

    Looks great Ali!
    I love how you incorporate old and new things…and how everything is very practical. It speaks to me well- I don’t like to over-think my storage to much because it makes it too complicated in the long run.
    Thanks for the tour!

  • 49.
    Trudy said…

    Love it! The most impressive thing is how everything works so well together but blends and fits together. This may be a general design question.
    How can you take such different elements spanning from different time periods, textures, and sizes and fit them together? Is it where you place them or choosing a set number of colors in the room or picking items that blend from the start? You obviously choose things you love which have good function but how do you get them to work together?

  • 50.
    Kimberly Gibson said…

    love the mix of old, new, and found items that decorate the room.

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