Behind The Scenes / From The Workroom

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

I recently made the difficult decision to close my studio space after struggling to keep the bricks and mortar side of my business going through Covid the last few years. To be honest, it was just unfortunate timing for opening a bricks and mortar space right before Covid hit and lockdowns started happening, and I just couldn’t sustain it anymore. I’m really grateful to be in the position where the Ecommerce side of my business is strong, and my team and I are able to work from home so easily. It’s honestly been a challenging few months for me doing everything i needed to do to shut down a bricks and mortar shop, but I have always loved working from home, and I’m feeling really at peace with the decision now that I’ve finished all the close down tasks. Having said that, I think the hardest thing about closing down the bricks and mortar space was taking down and removing all the things that my Dad and I built together when we were fitting out the studio. When i first signed my lease I was still recovering after a really serious case of double Pneumonia that had me sick for months and finally hospitalised for a week, and those days working slowly with my dad on this space were really precious to me. So as a little goodbye to our Wembley studio space, I thought I’d share a few photos of Dad and I working on putting it together three years ago – with a few cute appearances by the smallest members of my family!

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

Bunny, Buddy & Birdie in the empty studio space after we had installed electrical and a new ceiling.

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad
Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad
Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

My big pegboard wall was a dream I had for years, and my original plan was to drill all those holes myself with a Forstner bit. When my Dad found out he kindly reminded me that he had a CNC machine at work, and had these made to size for me. We then used the offcut pieces of plywood to make the shelves, and the pegs were just dowels from the local hardware store that we cut down. This was my favourite item in the studio, so when we shut down we moved it home, and now 2/3 of it are installed in my home office space the remaining 1/3 is installed on our back patio and holds all the tools for our outdoor kitchen and woodfire pizza oven.

Old shipping crates used as fabric roll display and storage

I was trying to figure out how I wanted to display fabric, and Dad had this idea of using old shipping crates. This was our proto type! He grabbed some dismantled and discarded shipping crates from work and we put them back together more sturdly and sanded them all down carefully. I love that we were able to use something that was destined to be rubbish and found a new use for it. When we closed the studio Buddy had in his words “the best day of his life” as we let him smash them all apart with a hammer. As the wood is untreated pine, my landlord asked for all the dismantled pieces to use in his wood burning stove so nothing went to waste!

Dad putting together our kitchen cabinets | Megan Nielsen studio fit out
Installing our kitchen cabinets | Megan Nielsen studio fit out

One of the divisions of my Dad’s business does cabinet making, so my dad had these kitchen cabinets custom made for our little kitchen area, and then we installed them together! When we closed down the studio space these cabinets which were still in great condition went to one of my team members for a laundry room remodel as unbelievably they were the perfect dimensions. I love that every single thing from the studio space found a new home :)

Dad taught me how to tile, so I had my first experience tiling and grouting a wall, which I must admit as a perfectionist was highly stressful! Hilariously when we moved out of the studio we had to rip all the tiles down, and then i had the joyous task of learning how to plaster and float a wall. When the painter came through he offered to hire me as his plasterer so i think it didn’t look too bad hehe.

Installing storage cupboards | Megan Nielsen Studio fit out

The greatest trick to a tidy workspace is having giant storage cupboards to put everything away in, so Dad installed these big Ikea cupboards that housed my fabric stash, excess stock and shipping supplies. When we moved out of the studio we took these to my parents house and they are now my mom’s new wardrobes!

Installing the pattern wall at the Megan Nielsen Studio

I have always loved pattern walls in sewing stores, so we grabbed some Ikea picture ledges and installed six along the wall to display our patterns. We’ve released so much in the last few years that those shelves were full by the time we moved out.

We also installed three huge shelves and two big open wardrobes as our sample display – i sadly didn’t get any photos of us putting those together, but there are a lot of photos of how it all turned out in this studio tour post.

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

And of course there is my beloved cutting table. I bought it from a local designer friend who had two matching custom made work benches made for herself, but then only had room for one. When we got it into the studio (which involved removing the wheels, and sliding it through the narrow door on it’s side), I realised it would be an amazing storage space for fabric rolls, so Dad helped me build two shelves underneath that we used for storage. We couldn’t figure out what to do with the workbench when we closed the studio. Our home is a small renovated cottage and we really don’t have room for a 3m x 1.7m cutting table. So we just moved it onto our back patio while we figured out a plan – and then the weirdest thing happened, we really liked it there! So now my big workbench is an alfresco workbench haha and sits on our backyard patio and I use it all the time for sewing and other crafts, and we use it for dinner when we have big family gatherings. My husband Chris also works from home and he likes to split his workday between the home office and the workbench outside. One of the best happy accidents ever.

Fitting out the Megan Nielsen Studio with my Dad

So thank you to my wonderful Dad, my constant partner in crime who always says, “Yes lets do it!” to all my crazy ideas. I couldn’t have done this without you, and I’m so grateful that we did it together.

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About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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8 months ago

Thank you for sharing this post! My Dad was also always ready to be my partner in crime and enabled me to carry out so many crazy ideas. Please give your Dad a hug from me

7 months ago

This post was glorious to read. I’m an utterly unhandy person, so it was wonderful to live vicariously through you and your super capable dad. I lust after those pegbaord walls!