“Lets pull this sofa out of here and turn our living room into one big workshop.”

My wife, Lisha, said this to me about two weeks ago, only a few days after Maker Faire Bay Area. I loved this idea. We have this large living area that was dominated by a couch and little else. When I wanted to work on a project, I went off into the garage, or packed the parts up onto a little tray to sit on the couch and work. When the kids wanted to paint, they would drag out the paints and supplies and work on the kitchen table, that is if the table didn’t already have our sewing machine, or some random sculpture, on it. You can get the picture, our house had projects everywhere already.

“We could each have our own complete work bench, all here in the same room. Many houses have themes, ours was already ‘making’, lets just go with it!”

I love the way this woman thinks.

We are fortunate enough to have a house with two living areas. For a while, the kids had dominated one with video games. We had the other, which had a large sofa and a couple aquariums. Lisha and I would relax in here, cuddling with our stinky pugs. Her idea uses this space much better and also encourages more family making and lounging.

We started out by emptying our room. So much room for activities! Our first priority, of course, was to make a quick bed for our poor pets who lost their massive, luxurious sofa. Our living room makerspace had its first project before any tools or work benches even appeared.


Not quite completed but pug approved

Next we pulled in two identical wooden work benches for our kids. We wanted both of our boys to have their own bench, their own storage, and their own basic set of tools. They appreciate this too. There is much less bickering and arguing in this arrangement.

After that, the absolutely huge workbench that will be used by Lisha and myself came in and had to be assembled. We went with an 8-foot-long behemoth with pegboard and a bunch of storage. This is our living room, we were willing to spend a little bit of money on something nice looking and sturdy.

In the time it took me to assemble that behemoth, the kids started using their workbenches. Without prompting they began harvesting parts from our junk pile for an upcoming “Robots vs Aliens party” where we’ll glue, tape, tie, and staple junk together to make robots fighting aliens (or hugging, whatever).


So, as it stands, our living room/makerspace now has 4 full-sized work areas, one for each member of the family. My 3D printer has finally found a permanent home, the sewing machine and vinyl cutter are ready for action as well. The workbenches have been standing for less than two days and we have spent more time together than we typically do on a weekend.

It still needs to be used a bit to see what configuration is really optimal and comfortable. Our garage now needs to be reorganized so that we can use the messy stuff, like the table saw. All in all, I’d have to say that this is easily the best thing I’ve ever done to a house!


A member of a whole tribe that was born during the construction process.

Caleb Kraft

Caleb Kraft

Community Editor for Make:
I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity of the masses! My favorite thing in the world is sharing the hard work of a maker.

I’d always love to hear about what you’re making, so send me an email any time at [email protected]

  • Aristarco Palacios


    Dude, you’re the luckiest man alive. Do never -EVER- let that woman go!!!!!!

    • Caleb Kraft

      I have no plans to do so!

  • Ian Page-Echols

    I think that’s great! I wish more people would put creation in as important a place in their lives as consumption. It says a lot that when you enter most homes, the first thing you see is big comfy chairs and couches and a huge tv, and the building, fixing, and creating are out back in dim impromptu lighting.

    • Caleb Kraft

      Yep, this is the first room you enter when you come into our house. It makes a strong statement. I’m not going to lie though, we still own a TV for watching movies.

  • cknich5

    Reblogged this on NoCo Mini Maker Faire.

  • Roger Theriault

    This makes so much sense. 300 (or so) years ago homes were one room with a fire, pot, grass bed, and goat. We removed functionality for status. And in Florida, my garage is too hot, humid, and plagued with roaming lizards for comfort.

    • Caleb Kraft

      yeah, my garage gets pretty cold. It will be where the messy stuff happens though (like the table saw)

  • Syntotic

    If any more were turning their living room into main room, I would go worried…

  • Beth Dufraine

    Awesome article and arrangement. Our livingroom has become quite the project room as well – we still have our TV and couch in it though. LOL (Wrestling, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Cosplay, Nature, History and Universe/NASA programs etc. – gotta have our fixes every now and then).

    Hubby has his Amateur Radio projects he does every now and again and I have sewing and crafts of all sorts going on as do a couple of the kids. We’re also entertained by two of our 5 boys who now have a section of the basement of their own taken up with their guitars, drum set and other musical necessities – complete with a pool table for family R&R. When friends come over it becomes a concert.

    It definitely has that ‘lived in’ feel and it’s a better atmosphere with everyone so close by instead of closed off.

    I’m going to borrow part of your line Caleb, “Avid wearer of slippers and painfully enthusiastic RE just about everything under the sun.”

  • rossbagley

    What workbenches did you get for the boys? I love the end vise and the storage.

    Oh yeah, and full agreement with Aristarco: amazing woman.