Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building a New Studio

When our studio lease was up for renewal this past April, Dinah and I decided not to renew. Instead, we both arranged to have studios built on our own properties. Although we really liked our former Kennesaw location and our wonderful landlord, after much discussion we decided  it made more economic sense to build studios of our own. In doing so we'd be able to eliminate an hour of commuting time each day, save a bundle on gasoline, and enjoy the convenience of being able to start each day's projects within minutes of waking up!

Work on Dinah's new studio began a couple of weeks before mine. Construction on my studio began April 12 and now, 2 1/2 months later, it's almost ready to move into. Just steps from my kitchen door, it's a dream come true. (I'm still pinching myself.) Both Dinah and I selected Backyard Construction to build the basic structures. On mine, my husband and I hired out the exterior painting, sheetrock work and electrical work. He and I are doing the interior painting, flooring and trimwork ourselves. We're old hands at home renovating so we've been able to save quite a bit on labor costs this way.

April 12 - A gorgeous day to start building a new studio!
Just to the right is a garden shed that Backyard Construction built for us last year.
The exterior shell upon completion. Yet to be done when this picture was taken: interior finishing, exterior painting, adding shutters and foundation skirting and replacing the temporary stairs with an entry deck.

I gave lots of thought to the design before we began. Ultimately I decided on a 12x20 foot single level building with four large windows and a 15-pane entry door. One window faces east, two face south and one faces west. Built on a slope, it has a pier foundation and sits adjacent to a small garden shed.

A large stand of trees is immediately behind the studio on the north side. The tree cover is just too dense during the summer to afford much light so I opted to forego placing windows on that side. Instead, the entire north wall will serve as a gallery wall. My work area will be set up on the opposite (south) wall. A reading area with bookcases and big comfy armchair will occupy the west wall. On the east end will be storage units and a cleanup station. Now, as we finish up the very last of the interior work, it's only a matter of a few days before I can move my furniture in!

Decisions, decisions......

Building a studio is a challenging project. There were countless decisions to make even on a design as straightforward and simple as this one. Heating, cooling, flooring and lighting choices were the biggest, but even the smallest (the style of the lockset, the type and style of trim) had to be thoughtfully researched and considered. In subsequent blogs I'll cover some of these issues so that anyone building or considering building a studio can share in what I've learned. And I'll be posting many more pictures, too.