“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.
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!