...because home doesn't happen overnight.
03.09.15 / Change is Good

davis-linden warehouse

I’m a creative. I like change. I’m fickle when it comes to small, unimportant things like, say, the pillows on my sofa or the paint color on my bedroom walls. I get restless when there isn’t a project to work on. I’m happiest when I’m planning / doing / reading / making / learning / experiencing something new. I’m unhappiest when things are static.

That’s not to say I’m unappreciative of the things in my life. I am so grateful for all of it. Very much so. But appreciation is not the same as complacency. We can value all the things, people and experiences and still crave change. And that’s where I’ve been for the past few months.

We’ve touched nearly every inch of this house. To the point where it feels like home. We have a few projects left on the to-do list (coming to you later this week) and I will forever tweak little things here and there because it makes me happy. But there’s only so much we can (and want to) do to this house. For the most part, I love it the way it is and I don’t want to change stuff for the sake of change alone. So, I’ve been craving a change of scenery, a blank slate, a space that would give me full creative freedom. Buying a new (old) house is off the table at this point. We don’t want a big scale project consuming our family’s life right now. We’re finally enjoying the fruits of our labor. No more renovation messes! And we’re set to pay off our mortgage at the end of this year which was our goal at the beginning of this downsizing journey.

I don’t even remember how I concocted the idea but a few weeks ago I decided to at least look for a designated workspace outside of the house. It’s never been a dream of mine but it felt like a natural next step. My requirements? Not a ton of space but an open space, good lighting, freedom to change cosmetic finishes at will, kid-friendly and inexpensive.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to find much. The true office spaces had horrible lighting and lacked the flexibility I craved. Small work-live apartments were too big, too expensive. (I did come across a great contender by way of a lil’ old house with original hardwoods and a fireplace zoned as work-live asking for help with renovations in return for lower rent, but when I went to check it out, it had been demolished! My heart sank.)

I discovered a warehouse downtown that rented space to creatives and small businesses and it sounded so appealing. I set up an appointment to check it out and fell in love with a spot on the second floor. It was the perfect size with big windows, inexpensive rent and the freedom to make it my own. However, as soon as the tenant next door heard someone was interested in the space, he snatched it up. (Current tenants get first dibs.) I was so, so bummed. I was shown another, larger space on the third floor of the same warehouse and it just didn’t feel right. It was dark, the roof leaked, and it had a really awkward layout. I was less than thrilled.

Then, THEN!, the maintenance guy gave me a lead on another warehouse in a nicer part of town that rented out space as well. I immediately called and emailed the owner. She asked what I was looking for and I told her.

me: I don’t need a ton of space but I do need an open space. Good natural lighting for photography.

owner: Hmmm…I think I have just the space. It’s not available until next month but you can come take a look at it if you want.

front street warehouse

All three kids and I drove downtown to check it out and the rest is history. It couldn’t be any more perfect. It’s a corner room with big windows on two exterior brick walls that let in the most amazing light from the north and east. The soaring 12′ ceilings make the ~350 square feet feel bigger. The floors are the original hardwoods albeit painted. It’s inexpensive. There’s no deposit. Rent is on a monthly basis with no long-term contract. I can do whatever I want to the space! The only stipulation is that the overhead sprinklers must remain red due to code which is totally fine with me. I kinda like ’em. The kids can come hang out with me which is great. They LOVE the warehouse! The working freight elevator is their favorite feature.

The space is rented out through mid-April by a current tenant who rents space elsewhere in the same building. She’s going to be doing some work to her space and will be using the corner room for storage while she fixes up her place. If all goes as planned, I move in sometime next month. IT’S KILLING ME. I wasn’t sure if I should share the news before I actually moved in or not. But, I am so excited I couldn’t wait! I’m a fairly patient person who likes surprises so that should tell you how excited I am. (!!!)

Probably my favorite thing about this entire experience has been discovering the creative / entrepreneurial community right under my nose. How did I not know about it already?! The warehouse is home to a dance studio, photographers, artists, an old barbell gym, small businesses, jewelry makers, interior designers…you name it. I can’t wait to learn more and share with you guys. I’ve never thought of Dayton, Ohio, as a creative hub but maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough.

front street warehouse

What exactly will I be doing in this workspace? Initially, I’m going to put my spin on it. And I’m going to call it my studio because that sounds so uppity and official. STUDIO. Anyway, of course I want to create blog content and flush my brain of all the ideas floating around in there. Ideas that aren’t exactly feasible or practical in my own home. My sewing machine and loom (never used) are coming to the studio with me. I’m going to spread out and make messes and walk away when it’s quitting time. I want the kids to be creative here, too. Mabrey will be with me most days while the boys are at school. I will continue to share home-related DIYs and decorating ideas but I’d like to sprinkle in new things, too.

Eventually, I would love for the studio to become a part of the local community. A place to host craft nights or children’s birthday parties or decorating classes, an artsy field trip destination for kids, a photography studio? Clearly, I don’t have tunnel vision at this point. Maybe the biggest drawback is that it is so flexible. I see it as an ever-changing space and that makes me happy. (Refer back to the first paragraph of this post.)

So that’s what I was up to last week. Soul and studio searching. Change is good.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

95 Comments

09.March.2015

Best of luck on your new journey.

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09.March.2015

Exciting! There’s an art place in the downtown of our suburb that’s really neat. It may give you some ideas: http://www.artsandcreativities.com
It’s a craft studio and there are classes for adults and kids. She’s done well with it so far.

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Amy L.
replied on March 9th, 2015

What a neat place, Kathryn!!!

HT – exciting to see what’s to come.

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replied on March 9th, 2015

That looks like so much fun!

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09.March.2015

Dana, congratulations! There is something so energizing and alive in the way you speak about the space and all the opportunities it presents. I wish you the best of luck in this new endeavor!

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09.March.2015

Awesome space and opportunity. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

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Congratulations! So happy for you. Downtown Columbus has several buildings that rent space to creatives and small businesses, such an amazing concept and one I’ve wanted to check out. Maybe I will just live vicariously through you for a bit! :) Can’t wait to see what’s next.

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09.March.2015

Congratulations! Love the space – I can’t wait to see what you do with it!!

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This is quite literally a big blank slate. I am not patient and don’t like surprises. I am excited for you and cannot wait to see what happens!

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I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes you Dana, so many new windows to open with wonderful vistas to discover. Congratulations on reaching your goal to be mortgage free, it must feel so liberating and exciting to see what comes next for you and your family.

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Yay! Congratulations! I like that (what you did). Good for you and go for it. I love it when people go for their dreams….so inspiring!

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09.March.2015

You so eloquently put into words the feelings I often experience. I simply call it being in a funk. I think I’m going to copy and paste the first two paragraphs of your post so I can “explain” it to my husband better. ha! I’m excited for you and what lies ahead. What an incredible space!!!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

I was a little scared sharing my idea with Steve. In general, I’m more open to change than he is but once I told him how I was feeling (those first two paragraphs!), he was completely supportive and encouraged me to hold out for a space I loved. He’s the best. I do tend to get in a funk if things remain static for too long.

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09.March.2015

I thought with the lack of posts last week something was up

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Not sure where the rest of my comment went! Anyway, I love it and can’t wait to see what you do with it! Congrats!

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09.March.2015

Congratulations Dana! you are going to do great! It is so fun to read your journey. I am the same way too, I just love meaningful change…. looking forward to see what comes next!

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Yay! This is so exciting – I am so happy for you! :)

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09.March.2015

You are so awesome and it is encouraging to see you do what makes your creative soul happy! Congratulations!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Aw, you’re the sweetest. I can’t thank everyone enough for the encouragement. I was a little anxious about announcing this new endeavor because, well, it’s new but I am feeling all the feelings. THANK YOU!

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09.March.2015

So exciting!! I was a little bit worried you might leave us. You and your husband have done a great job on your house but it seemed it was “done”. What’s she going to blog about now? It seems I have my answer. I look forward seeing the projects that come out of this space!

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09.March.2015

So cool! I live outside of Dayton and work downtown. Can’t wait till you start having events for people to come to, I’d love to check out your new space!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

I will definitely announce events on the blog when I get to that point! Would love to have you.

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replied on March 10th, 2015

Agree! I live just off downtown Dayton and work at home. would love to come to an event if hosted in Dayton!!!

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09.March.2015

This is so fantastic. The excitement for you is bursting! You will do awesome things at your new studio. I just love it, I so wish I could do something like that in my town too. Good luck to you!

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09.March.2015

So exciting! I’m so happy for you! And I can’t wait to see what you do with the space. :)

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09.March.2015

How exciting! I can’t wait to see where this new adventure leads. I love the glimpse of the studio – those windows are amaaaazing! Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

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09.March.2015

Good for you!!! Can’t wait to see what you do with the space. I wish I had your ambition :) Like Crystal (above) said, I was a bit worried you were going to leave us! You are my favorite blogger and I would miss you! Onward and upward :)

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replied on March 9th, 2015

xx

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Congrats, Dana!! I can totally relate to your need to create and transform spaces. I am happiest in life when I have a creative project(s) in the works. Happy for you!!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Great minds think alike ;)

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09.March.2015

Congrats on the house completion, new space & getting so very close to being mortgage free! Wow! That is A LOT especially with a full family life! I love that you see the new space as a place where your children will visit frequently too. You and your Mr. seem to have it figured out: balance is key. Wishing you all the best & looking forward to seeing what you do next. :)

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Spoiler alert: we don’t have anything figured out. But we are pretty good at being open to new opportunities, setting goals and going for them. YOLO!

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09.March.2015

Congratulations! You do realize that once you’re settled and have a semi-routine, you’ll have to write us another “day in the life” post, right?? ;) Love the space, Dana!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

I will! I’m crazy happy that the kids can come with me to the studio. I’ll have crafty things for them to get into while I “work.” They can make all the messes they want!

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09.March.2015

HT Studio! So exciting! I love the idea of craft workshops! Wish I lived closer!

Congrats.

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09.March.2015

This is such a great idea! I love the idea of making it a place that you can host community events and take your creativity even further. I never thought of something like that when I first thought of looking for studio space (still a work in progress), but that would not only make up for some of the financial aspect, it would add an entirely new element.

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09.March.2015

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! This is so so so amazing. I cannot wait to see your spin on this space and see how it grows for you.

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replied on March 9th, 2015

That’s so nice of you to say, Emylee. Day. Made. :)

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09.March.2015

Love this idea! I’ve always wanted to do something like this and have a place where people gather for crafting and hanging out while the kids get creative! Good for you and good luck but pleaee say we won’t stop seeing pics of your home! Such an inspiration!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Not to worry! I will still share the comings and goings of projects / tweaks in our house. And I would love to feature more reader renovations as well to keep the inspiration coming. I’m a home lover at heart.

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09.March.2015

Love your blog. Love your style. So excited to see what this brings to the table! Cheers!

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09.March.2015

congratulations! what an exciting step for you. I can’t wait to see what you do with the space.

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09.March.2015

How fun! I can’t wait to see and hear more about this space. I’m excited for you and slightly jealous :) It sounds amazing!

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09.March.2015

Love the “studio”! How fun! And cheers to guys for paying your house off this year!

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09.March.2015

Congratulations!!

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09.March.2015

Good for you, Dana! Missed you this past week. Glad it is good news.

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replied on March 9th, 2015

I missed this place, too. I was thinking about it the entire time I was away. x

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09.March.2015

That’s awesome! I would love to have a place to make messes that I didn’t have to then live in. I’m so excited for you – the space looks beautiful! :)

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That sounds amazing and I know you are going to do awesome things with it. I can’t wait to see what you come up with :)

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09.March.2015

Happiness fairly sings off this post, Dana. Good for you! You’ll thrive in a building that hums with creativity energy. Can’t wait to read about how things go.

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09.March.2015

Wow, so very cool. This has the chance to be awesome, can’t wait to see what you end up doing, and maybe get some inspiration too!

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Yes! This is awesome – so happy for you! The space looks like it will be an incredible place to be creative in, and the light is so good!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

The light is what sold me. I walked in and said out loud “this is perfect.” If you’re ever in Ohio, please come make with me!

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09.March.2015

Ohmygoodness. When I read the title I was just sure you were breaking up with us. So glad that’s not the case. This new venture is going to be great! I can’t wait to ride along.

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09.March.2015

This is so fun! I dream of the day I can have my own little studio to craft and hold events at.

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09.March.2015

This is so great! I’m just a tiny bit jealous? But more excited to see how you evolve – both this space and as a creative. Big congrats!

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09.March.2015

Yay! You’re back! So excited about this new adventure for you! What a great space. Can’t wait to see what you do in there!!

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09.March.2015

Congratulations! What a fun idea and beautiful space!

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09.March.2015

What an exciting new adventure! So happy for you!!

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09.March.2015

I don’t usually comment here but I am an avid follower. I love your blog and am inspired always. Wishing you the best of luck. I’m sure you will have great success. Sounds like so much fun :)

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replied on March 9th, 2015

Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa!

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09.March.2015

That’s fantastic news! I have to admit I was relieved when you said you weren’t moving. That seems to be the way it goes with a lot of home bloggers, and to me it seems like the serial moving leads to burnout. I think what you’re doing is more viable long-term and will be much more interesting to watch develop! I’m so excited for you and for all the new things we’ll be seeing from you!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

As much as we love fixing up houses, we just aren’t ready to tackle another one right now. Ever since we finished the main bathroom, we *mostly* have our weekends back which has been so nice. We get to spend more time all together as a family (instead of one of us DIYing and one of us parenting) and the kids have noticed.

I, too, am so excited to have a completely different environment to work in! It’s an old warehouse so nothing has to be perfect or permanent. And the thought of it being in a constant state of flux makes my change-lovin’ heart pitter-patter.

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09.March.2015

Whew! The way this post started I thought you might be pulling a “Young House Love” on us! ;) Sooo excited about this new adventure for you! It’s going to be awesome! Makes me wish I lived in Ohio so I could come to one of your future craft nights! (Never thought I’d ever hear myself say ‘wished I lived in Ohio’ Ha!) Congrats!

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replied on March 9th, 2015

I never thought I’d still be living in Ohio ;)

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09.March.2015

I love your space, I think you lucked out by losing out on the first place, the studio you are getting is so light and bright and I think it will be more inspiring. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

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09.March.2015

So exciting! What a beautiful space, and that’s quite the arrangement- month to month and free-reign! Looking forward to seeing what you’re up to in that space.

Two questions- how long of a commute is it for you? How regularly do you envision yourself going there?

I love that you’ve made downsizing look so good! It looks like your quality of life is great without all the excess. Congratulations on paying down your mortgage so quickly! We’ve been paying an extra $200 each month toward our principal for the past couple years. Surprisingly, it’s cut a number of years off the end of our loan and will save us a size able chunk in the long run. I wish more people knew what a difference even $50 extra each month can make over the life of the loan.

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replied on March 10th, 2015

It’s about 20 minutes from my front door to the warehouse. Every week will be different, according to our family’s / the kids’ schedule(s). Ideally, I see myself going to the studio with Mabrey Mon-Fri from early morning until mid-afternoon when I have to be home to get Everett off the bus. I foresee random late nights by myself, too, depending on what I have going on. I need to check, but I think I will have 24 / 7 access so I can come and go as I please. Eventually, on weekends or weekday evenings, I’d love to host creative events. I don’t know if this is how things will actually play out – especially when the older kids are out of school in the summer. We’ll see!

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09.March.2015

I’m so happy for you Dana! With every new space; the house, the apartment and the under dog, we’ve had the opportunity to watch your style evolve into something different. I simply cannot wait to see what creative space you are going to create next. Congratulations :)

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replied on March 10th, 2015

Evolve or die, right?!

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09.March.2015

Haha, I totally thought the same thing about you pulling a “YHL”!

This is a really interesting turn- can’t wait to see where it takes you!

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