At first I played around with making soap in my kitchen. Then I played around some more. And then more. Before long I had nudged aside my husband’s tools and boxes of holiday decoration and set up a make-shift studio in the garage. Then I took up more of the garage. Then we moved and I tried setting up in the garage again but it was too small. So I stored my soaping materials in the garage, brought them to the kitchen to make soap as quickly as I could before we needed the kitchen for say, food preparation. So after making a soap I cleaned up and brought everything back to the garage. Oh, and I had a few bookshelves for curing soap in my study. I went to all this trouble because I had fallen in love with making soap. Big time.
And then my husband wanted more room in the garage for his projects so we built a new addition to our house. It was, of course, a soap studio! A room that is useful now and destined to increase the value of our home.
From the time we decided to go forward with the studio to the time I moved in was a sometimes bumpy road with iterations of the architect’s plan, hassles with Pacific Gas & Electric over moving the gas meter, and a snag over getting custom windows installed. All in all, it could have been more difficult. We were blessed with a fantastic contractor, a not-too-rainy winter, a willingness and ability to do all the painting, sink installation, furniture assembly, and wall base tasks ourselves. Thanks to Amazon Prime, Home Depot, and Etsy, I was able to furnish the studio to suit my needs and sense of aesthetics.
I moved into the studio in mid-April. It was wonderful to see my stuff all laid out and easy to find instead of stuffed into boxes. I’m having fun coming up with color and fragrance blends and working on several projects at once. The downside is that I accumulated multiples of some items because I couldn’t find them in the various boxes. How many jars of Brambleberry Ultramarine Violet Oxide Pigment does one soap maker need?!
On April 29 I had a “Soapen” house party. I gave tours of the studio, explained soap making to people who seemed interested, set up a make-and-take floral bath soak station, set out essential oil combinations to sniff, provided jars of bubbles to fit the theme, and entertained my guests by throwing three dozen bath bombs into a tub for a “big fizz” that overflowed down the driveway to the street! I also sold over $200 of “impudent soaps for adventurous folks” and other So and Soap products.
Already I am much more productive, and I’m loving having the time and environment to thoughtfully make my products.
The Old Garage Studio
June 2013 – These are the first soaps I made in the kitchen and garage of my previous home.
Lavender Lemon, Lemon Poppyseed, Chocolate
The New Studio
See more photos of the new studio here.
May 2018 – Cabrillo Vase and Strata are the first soaps I made in my new studio.