Even before the makeover, the Walsh Makerspace was already a pretty amazing place.
Located in the 7,200-acre Walsh neighborhood outside Fort Worth, Texas, Walsh Makerspace offers residents of all ages a hands-on, high-tech community space to explore hobbies, crafts and new interests. It’s stocked with things like a 3D printer, robotics lab, laser cutter, woodworking tools, T-Shirt press, sewing machines and kid-friendly features like invention kits and a giant LEGO wall. Plus, there are classes and programs designed to foster learning, entrepreneurship and new businesses. Membership is free to all the residents and available to anyone who else who wants to use it for a small fee. But while there was plenty of room for creativity, something was still missing. That’s when professional organizer Debbie Horton of The Organized Nest, got her hands on it.
“When I first looked at the space, I was impressed with all it had to offer. It had all this room for all these different types of hobbies and crafts, but organizationally, it was a completely blank canvas. I knew we could make it even more user-friendly if the spaces were defined and separated. But I liked the open feel and didn’t want to visually break up the space,” said Debbie. At Horton’s suggestion, the Wash team built three clear acrylic walls, instantly creating four distinct spaces–an office, a graphics lab, a design lab and a kid’s corner-without compromising the space’s open floor plan. She also installed acrylic shelves (cut onsite) across the windows in the 3D design lab so residents’ creations could be seen from outside the building.
Next, she tackled the Makerspace supplies and work stations. A big fan of The Container Store, Horton worked with the Business Solutions team to create storage solutions for every area using Elfa Custom Shelving and Elfa Drawer Units, Art Bins, Clear Bins and hundreds of labels. “The power of labels is something that you just can’t underestimate. Even if you are using clear containers, I always recommend labeling. It makes it so easy for people to quickly find what they are looking for, and put things back when they are finished,” says Horton.
Elfa File Carts under the desk areas store supplies and make for quick cleanups, while two long stainless steel tables offer space to work on projects. Community Engagement Manager Trish Rodriguez, says, “The organization that Debbie set up is so easy to use and maintain. She made it simple for people to find the supplies they need, so they can spend their time creating instead of looking for tools or paint.”
In the Kid’s Corner, Elfa Drawer Units topped with a LEGO board act as both a building station and storage unit with LEGOS sorted by type and size in each drawer below. Blocks and other building toys were sorted into clear storage bins. And of course, they were labeled.
Recognizing the storage potential of the walls around the sink and refreshment station, Debbie installed Platinum Elfa Ventilated Shelves. The open shelves are easy to adjust and plenty strong enough to handle paint cans and other supplies. Another Elfa Drawer Unit was used to store hand soap, cleaners and cups for mixing paints.
Behind the scenes, Horton also worked her magic on the stock room. She used a combination of Metro Commercial Shelving and labeled Clear Bins in a variety of sizes to make it easy to store everything from trash bags and paper plates to T-shirts. The top shelves of the sturdy shelving units even hold the computer server, microwave and other electronics.
The end result? A creative space with plenty of room for supplies and imagination. Resident Jason Penning says, “I love the Makerspace. I was a wood worker in the past, but I would only build things for a specific purpose – due to the hassle of getting out all my tools, building the project, and then having to clean it all up. With the Makerspace, everything is right there. I have expanded my creativity to working on things I enjoy, and I get to use tools that I would not have had access to without a space like this.”
Community Engagement Manager Trish Rodriguez, says, “Debbie and her team were able to make our workshop warm and inviting – it’s a place you want to share with your family and friends. You can feel the excitement when parents come in with their kids to work on a project or learn how to do something new. They are so proud of what they build here, and they are proud of the space itself.”