A New Design Wall

Fresh Lemons Quilts studio

Raise your hand if you are completely over winter. I know some of you are in the southern hemisphere and I am officially jealous of your Summer weather right now. We are going through another set of extreme cold days (-35F wind chills, and we aren’t even the coldest!). We can’t really leave the house. The kids and I are so stir crazy! So over the weekend I thought I would take advantage of the cold weather and organize my sewing space.

Fresh Lemons Quilts studio

I’ve wanted to build a large design wall for quite some time. Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson has a great, affordable tutorial. Somehow on Saturday I talked my husband into taking a family trip to the hardware store to get the supplies.

Fresh Lemons Quilts studio

I will admit right from the start maybe I didn’t entirely think through how we were going to get home two 48″ x 96″ sheets of foam insulation board on an extremely windy day – with the backseat full of kids and carseats. I would have gotten a picture of the mayhem – foam strapped to the roof of my car, with a 2″ x 4″ on top to help hold it down, with TONS of duct tape all over, taping it to the car to keep the wind from snapping it in half – but I thought my husband was going to kill me and wouldn’t find the humor in the situation. πŸ™‚

Fresh Lemons Quilts studio

We did make it home, barely. We went all backroads at 25 mph. And I spent the rest of the day rearranging the furniture so the design wall would have the natural light facing it. I love how it turned out. I just need to hang them on the wall somehow. I’m hoping it’s big enough for me to stop using my “design floor”. If you have the space (even for a smaller one), I highly recommend building one! Maybe just on a less windy day.


  1. 2


    I so see you all in the car wih the foam on top. What a picture! So glad that you made it home safely! πŸ™‚
    Love the blocks on your pretty new design wall!

  2. 3

    Janet Deschamps says

    Well I’ll try to not hit the done button before I’m done! My design wall is just like yours except not missing the corner! He found the studs and just put two screws in top and bottom. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have it instead of the wobbly flannel sheet I had hanging previously! Makes my sewing room look so much more professional! And I love having a couple of unfinished projects on the corners as motivation to keep working on finishing up some quilts so I can work on those! Enjoy! Your room looks so neat and so cozy!

  3. 4


    I just hung a length of quilt wadding (bought while on sale) from a curtain rail – much easier to bring home in the car in any weather. Sadly, this would not work too well with your room’s sloping ceiling.
    I too am glad you made it home safely,

  4. 5


    Don’t be jealous at South Hemisphere, my friend… it’s raining like crazy since last night!

    That workshop of yours is gorgeous! I already watched the design wall tutorial and am quite convinced about making one for me πŸ™‚


  5. 6


    Try the 3M command strips to attach it. The ones that look like velcro will hold it nicely and not leave any marks on the wall if you decide you need to move it.

  6. 8

    Marg says

    Again don’t be too jealous of the Southern Hemisphere here today it was 42 degrees (about 107 degrees in your language) a little too hot for sewing especially with no air conditioner.

  7. 10

    Patricia H says

    I’ve been gently pleading with my husband to turn our guest room into a studio for me and my quilting stuff, but to no avail. Maybe when he sees a large design board in the corner of our living room, he’ll give in…

    • 12


      I would just go for it! An encouraging quilter friend told me at the Ann Arbor art fair that I should just use an underutilized space I had for a studio, even if only for a year or two. This was the encouragement I needed. More than five years later, the studio space has been a blessing over and over again! (I started with an empty heated garage space and “borrowed” from around the house – property disposition at U of M, sawhorses & old doors, and Ikea have also proven useful!)

      PS It does double as a guest space (futon-style)

  8. 13


    What Marg said but 43.5(110ish). Right now I’d love some snow. To cool down and put out the bush fires. If only I had room for a design wall.

  9. 14


    Oh, I can just imagine how much fun that trip home was. I recently put up a design wall, too. I purchased a flannel backed table cloth from the dollar store and thumb tacked it to the wall. You will soon be wondering how you went without one for so long!

  10. 16

    Janet says

    Love your room Faith it’s so organised my sewing room is my dream space but it’s a disaster at the moment. I think that as mothers let alone quilters we all flirt with crazy now and then but find its worth it when it’s over. Looks great congratulations!

  11. 17


    Your sewing room is such a lovely space. I love that you have your computer desk in there too! I always have the internet going while I sew (to check tutorials, Facebook, YouTube..). May have to add a computer area to my sewing room πŸ™‚ I do love that you’ve chopped the corner off your design wall. That’s the kind of thing I’d forget to do until I was ready to hang it up πŸ™‚

  12. 19

    Susie says

    I had the same problem with getting the board home. I had Lowe’s cut it in half and still could not get the pieces in my car. Fortunately my handyman was close by to deliver them for me.

    I have to use a guest room for my quilting but solved the space problem by putting a Murphy bed in it. It works great!

  13. 20

    Julie Naatz says

    I have a sewing studio. Love calling it that, but no design wall. I’m ok with that for now, I have a design “floor”, but, am totally loving your neutral walls and the size of the computer you have in there! Everything is beautiful – so inspirational!

  14. 23

    Mary says

    Hi Faith,
    My husband just helped me construct one as well last weekend. Same challenge in the car…LOL.

    We planned to hang it with tape but I was a bit nervous about if it would work so I hadn’t taken the step of putting it up. Thanks Teri for your feedback on the tape!

    Also…I wrapped mine in flannel. Hope I didn’t make a mistake by not using batting. It’s in my guest room and the walls are light yellow so an ivory flannel is barely noticeable against the wall. Your timing was great on this post….thx!!! Mary

  15. 25


    Your sewing room looks great. We are working one too. Hard to have a wall for working on large quilts – Queens and Kings especially.

    I love how your organized your space. BTW – it is bitter cold in Ossining, NY, and we have not had a winter like this since 1994. We lived in Canada for several months through a winter and it was -40 F below, which still didn’t feel as bone chilling as this winter. Stay warm.

  16. 26


    Oh yes, a design wall is SO useful it’s almost an essential! It’s cold and miserable here in the UK (although not as cold as the US!) I’ve been working on a scrappy stippy quilt this morning and my copy of Vintage Quilt Revival arrived today, so I will curl up under a quilt later and have a read πŸ™‚

  17. 27


    Thanks for the chuckle this morning … I read your story aloud to my husband. Guess I should be thankful to be thankful to live on the Gulf Coast, despite a winter storm warning!

  18. 28


    Love your new design wall Faith. Your sewing space looks wonderful. Now, what a day to choose to go buy the foam πŸ™‚ My husband would be on the verge of killing me too. I’m glad it all worked out at the end.

  19. 30

    Shawn says

    Loved seeing your design wall and laughed at your story. That sounds just like something I would do. I need to get going and make a design wall for me but with this wintery Michigan weather think I will wait until it warms up and the winds die down a bit. Thanks for sharing.

  20. 31


    Oh, I love love love your sewing space! It’s so bright and clean! I didn’t have much of a design wall before we moved into our temporary digs, but having nothing here makes me appreciate them so much more. So I’m totally going to do one like this once we find a house. I wish we had seen the pic of your car!

  21. 32

    Marianne says

    Haha! I love the story! Your sewing place looks great, it reminds me of the one I had when we lived in Memphis, right over the garage, 15 X 23 feet. I am now cramped in a 12 X 12 in Florida. Forces me to be neat, at least!

  22. 33

    Shawn says

    I have a question for you…did you wrap each board separately or did you put them together and then cover with batting. I can’t really tell from the photo.

    • 34


      Hi Shawn! I debated that a bit, but in the end I decided to wrap them separately. I thought it would be more flexible, if I wanted to move one around. Also, if we ever move, it will be easier to get out of the house.

  23. 35


    Oh geez. I totally remember bringing our piece of homisote home for the design wall. We had put one of those cargo straps around it and through the windows of the car. But it was still trying to fly off. I was practically hanging from the strap in the car trying to keep it tied down.

    Hope you love it. (Loved mine, but it’s still in the boy’s room. πŸ˜‰ )

  24. 36

    Cara Wills says

    We are hopefully moving soon and I may get room to set my sewing machine up on its own table and not the family desk. If so, I am definitely making this design board. Your nice, organized and personal space has me drooling! I also love the quilt in progress on the far left of your design wall!

  25. 37

    Sharon Lagace says

    I had one in my former sewing space. I need to get one stat! I attached luan to my foam board, used eyelets and hooks to attach to the wall.

  26. 38


    Hi Faith! I built my design wall last February when I remodeled my office into a studio/office. I used a technique I learned in art school for building stretcher frames for paintings, which allowed me to hang it on the wall like a giant painting without damaging the wall too much. Best thing I ever put in the studio

  27. 40


    Envisioning y’all strapping it to the roof gave me a good laugh lol. Making one of these is on the top of my to-do list when we move to a bigger house in June. There’s just no room in the tiny corner of the dining room that my sewing space currently occupies.

  28. 42


    What a great story. You certainly made me giggle when you described tying it to the car and getting it home. A design wall is definitely on my to do list for my sewing room. Thanks for sharing.
    Sew HapoyNess

  29. 43


    Bless those husbands who support their wives crazy quilt ideas. You room looks fab. And I agree with you I have had enough of the winter too. Here is to spring coming soon

  30. 44

    Leigh Ann says

    I laughed and laughed – this is so inside my marriage! I read it to my husband and he was able to see the humor. Of course, if it had been us, he would have not found it funny at all. Looks great!

  31. 46

    Marianne says

    This is a wonderful sewing/quilting room! How fortunate you have those large windows! This is a perfect studio for you!

  32. 47

    Susan says

    That’s funnee. When I started a new job, years and years and years ago, there was a special gentleman at work. I heard stories that he had been a really sharp guy. Apparently, guys at work had taken turns sitting with him at the hospital, talking and reading to him when he had an accident. The accident happened when he bought a screen door, put it on top of the car and was driving home and trying to hold it on top of the car and then … The company always found a job for him. He could talk and normally and unfortunately his wife had divorced him after the accident. Many people came very impatient with him as you had to repeat and repeat things to him. He could do very menial tasks. I’m glad you made it home safely. Your sewing space is amazing. My second husband died and I got a small pension from him so I treated myself to a new sewing cabinet this year. My old one was over 35 years old and my old machine wouldn’t even fit in it any longer – some prongs were broken. My new machine wouldn’t stay in it either. So, I feel like a princess with it. It is huge. Now, I need to work on my FMQ. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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