The Studio

by Mark on February 19, 2013

I’m finally getting around to cleaning the cobwebs off of this blog.  It has been a crazy year but there is a good reason I haven’t been updating on here.  About this time last year I decided it was time to build myself a studio, and it has taken every bit of spare time I have had.  I had to keep it fairly cheap and in order to do that I had to build it with my own hands.  The problem is that I have no construction experience at all!  I love learning how to do stuff and this project really gave me a chance to geek out.  I read everything I could find, looked at pictures, and started sketching what I wanted to do.

The design is pretty basic and it is pretty much a box with a lid.  I had never used google sketchup before but I taught myself enough to make this little model.  At this point I didn’t have windows and doors but it let me know approximately how much wood I would need.  The overall size is 12′ x 14′, which isn’t huge but plenty big for what I need.

The place I decided to put is where a haystack was for most of my childhood.  Because of that the studio is usually called ‘The Haystack’.  First thing I had to do was clear out all the weeds and what was left over hay.  The worst part is that the haystack had been sat on old tires to keep it from direct contact with the ground.  I ended up digging out over 80 old tires from the ground.  Here is what it looked like before.

The next thing was the foundation.  I decided to do a pier foundation because the studio isn’t that big and the piers don’t use up as much cement as laying a pad would.  One problem I ran into was that because there had been a haystack there for probably 40 years or so the top layer of dirt was compacted so hard I couldn’t get through it.  I tried a post hole digger and every hand tool I could find.  Finally I had to get a friend with a little excavator to dig the holes.  Here are the piers all filed up with concrete.  For somebody who hasn’t done concrete before it was a super stressful 45 minutes.

A few weekends later with the help of my brother and dad we got the studio all framed.  What you can’t see in the picture is I build a subfloor in the joist and insulated it before we put the plywood of the floor down.  By this time I had found some overstock windows and got the doors second hand. 

Over the next little while, again with the help of my dad, we got all the sheathing on.  On another weekend when a couple of my brothers were visiting I conned them into helping me get the doors in.  They were super heavy, but they are going to let in a lot of that northern light!!!

The next thing on the agenda was to get the windows in and the siding on.  I looked at lots of options for siding but decided to go with the corrugated steel.  I got it for scrap price because it had white stains on it.  The stains don’t affect it at all and are a result of it accidentally getting wet right after it was galvanized.  I actuallyquite like the look of it that way.  When they sun hits the studio it sure is bright.  The outside is pretty much all finished.  I still have to put the metal on the underside of the eves, but that will have to wait until spring because the metal is covered by a couple feet of snow at the moment. 

So now it was onto working on the interior.  One place I decided to get a bit of professional help bit was to have an electrician rough wire it and connect it to the power supply.  After that it was onto insulating and then doing the drywall.  I had enough left over metal that I decided to use in on the ceiling, which ended up being a lot easier than hanging drywall.

The floor was next and I decided on doing industrial vinyl tile.  It’s a pretty straight forward process of trowel on the glue to the floor, let it set up, and then put the tile down.  A word of warning is to not make a mistake because once the tiles touch the glue they don’t want to come back up.  Of course I had to make it hard on myself by doing a crazy pattern and running that pattern on an angle.  It made it harder but I’m glad I did it because I really like how it turned out.

Well that pretty much brings me up to where I am now.  All it needs is paint and to finish installing the lights and switches.  It has been really hard to find the time to work on it but I hope to have it all done within a month or so.  I also promise to post up some artwork in the next few days!

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