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Ha Ha, Murphy’s Law, I beat you this time! by Lorena Bowser

Ha Ha, Murphy’s Law, I beat you this time!
by Lorena Bowser

That fellow Murphy has been a trouble-maker for years, but if I remember right, he wasn’t always so.  Anyone who would think up a space-saving bed that pulls down out of a closet is next to genius.  Unfortunately, the Murphy bed is rarely to be seen any more.  But the inspiration remains:  Meet the Murphy Studio – an artist’s studio in a closet!

When I moved to the “big city” three years ago, my “Screaming Pennies” could only afford a studio apartment. I’ve been in constant re-arranging mode ever since, wracking my brain for ways to make my studio pretty, spacious, and practical. The three don’t come together easily in one tiny room.  Something had to go.  In my case, what “went” were the bedroom and a place for making art (what some fortunate artists call their studio).

When I give out my business cards with Fine Art Studio 111 clearly printed in bold, I’m really not fibbing: I DO have a studio. I live in it. Fine Art is no more than a name. Making art became so challenging that I had all but given it up!  An artist needs room. We need as much space to work in as there is extent to our hoard of art materials and our creative ideas.  Any artist knows that creativity knows no limits!

This was my challenge: Do I make my one room into a bedroom like all my studio apartment neighbors; an art studio, where I can live a cluttered, bohemian life; or a home within a room?  Tradition won: I made mine a living room. I sadly resigned myself to no longer making art, and I solved the bedroom problem by purchasing some mats that I take out of my smallest closet at night, and sleeping on the floor. But I kept eyeing that big double closet in the center, wondering how I could remove the much needed shelves and accommodate a Murphy bed in their place.

For three years I visualized that future Murphy bed from the comfort of my pad (the one I sleep on) before turning the light off each night. My last thought was always “…but I need those shelves for my art supplies! – the ones I’ll use if I ever move to a bigger place.” Well if you think of shelves, art supplies and Murphy beds long enough I suppose you’re bound to make the connection sooner or later. The other day, the words “Murphy Studio” flashed into my mind like a stroke of lightning. Eureka! A few calculations, a trip to Home Depot, and my life was about to change dramatically.  Why didn’t I think of it before!  My pocketbook hardly felt a dent, and I have concluded that if “necessity is the mother of invention,” simplicity must be the Father.  Now all I have to do is open the closet, pull down my work table and within seconds I’m ready to make art – supplies at my fingertips and creativity set free!  When I’m done, I just fold the table up and close the closet, artwork and materials in place.

I’ll bet you can figure out this simple construction for a “closet near you,” but in case you’re interested, here are the steps….

  1. Measure shelf for board width,
  2. Calculate board length for available space when it is lowered. (My board measures 36” x 48”).
  3. Determine leg height. Measure generously. You can “saw off” but not “add on.”
  4. Purchase board, 1”x2” wood for legs (or your own preferred size), small hinges for legs, and a butterfly hinge for connecting the board to the shelf.  Home Depot will cut everything to size.
  5. Disconnect the phone, turn off the computer and don’t open the door for anyone: This is your hour – don’t let anything ruin the fun!  Most of you can stop at Step 5: for you ladies who had to rip out the stitches after sewing pieces together out of sequence on that first sewing project (I know!), here is Step 6:
  6. a. The legs go on first. b. Then the cross bar, to stabilize the legs. c. Next, mark and drill the holes on the board edge and d. attach the butterfly hinge. e. Position the board on its shelf, with legs standing, and finish by f. attaching the butterfly hinge to the shelf. g. add a handle and it’s done.
  7. Stand back and look at your new studio. Just look at it. Isn’t it grand!

Now let’s make art!
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