Thursday, 10 December 2015

Tale of a studio

For several years my 'studio' has been in our bedroom, fortunately we have a large room and, since I do not use a wheel, my playing with clay does not make a lot of mess. However this is not an ideal situation as I am carrying unfired work downstairs and out into the garage for firing, then taking over the kitchen for glazing.

In January we took down our dilapidated greenhouse which had hardly been used for a few years; I have been too busy with ceramics and Ken with work for us to be doing all the gardening which had required the warmth of the greenhouse. This gave us the space for a garden studio so we started to price up a self assembly insulated garden room. On discovering the exorbitant cost of these, Ken worked out the cost of building a studio from scratch and came up with a figure for a fully equipped (power, sink, heating, lighting, flooring, etc) insulated studio that was under half the cost of just the studio kit. Ken has always been good with DIY in the house but never attempted such a major project, undeterred and with no scale drawings, just an outline of the floorspace which I felt I needed, he set to work over the Easter holidays creating the 'pads' which his structure would sit on.

26th April
The black pipe sticking up goes into the large soakaway for the waste from the future sink.

One of the great things about this project was the lack of time pressure that Ken was under to complete, none of your 'Grand Designs must be in by Christmas', allowing Ken to work as and when he felt like it and the weather permitted. However, it was not long before there was a fully insulated base and the framework for the walls starting to emerge, helped by having the half term holiday at the end of May.

28th May
29th May

Next came the roof and the start of the exterior cladding.

6th June
And it wasn't long before the two double glazed windows were in place.

Ever since we moved into this house, 22 years ago, we have been saying that the concrete patio behind the house needs replacing. Anticipating the saving from Ken's self build of the studio, we finally commissioned a complete re-build of the patio, a major undertaking as about 50 square meters of concrete needed to be removed and ground level lowered by several cm. Work on the patio started early July.

Old patio removed and new retaining wall started

Retaining wall complete with new curved path access into garden
New patio complete 16th July

With work on the patio completed and the summer holidays it was time to continue making progress with the studio.

12th August
The custom made french doors are fitted. Ken may not have made a plan for the studio, but he had researched planning regulations, to avoid planning permission for the studio the maximum height was limited, this meant that standard height doors would not fit.

16th August, completing the exterior cladding
Whilst Ken was busy with all the construction, I was the extra pair of hands when needed and the painter and decorator.

23rd August

30th August

Having nearly completed the exterior of the studio, the walls were filled with wool insulation and OSB used for the internal walls.

1st September
With internal walls completed, I set to work with paintbrush and white emulsion, painting OSB is a hard job! Then came the fun work, moving in!

15th September

23rd September, enjoying working in my cosy studio

I was so keen to get in to the studio that I didn't wait for the sink to be fitted, but it wasn't too long before Ken got this in along with a triple filter trap on the waste to remove clay and glaze sediment.

31st October, sink fitted
Close up of the trap

To celebrate the completion of the studio and show-off Ken's hard work I held my first 'Open Studio' on 5th December. Studio and my work were admired by all our visitors. Now looking forward to more Open Studios and possibly some workshops for friends and their families?

A massive thank you to Ken.

Definitely not a 'Grand Designs' build as it came in under budget and was finished by Christmas!

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