I tried to e-mail this to you off-list, but your e-mail address bounced.
So, here it is.
I built (designed and had built) an artist studio that is 720 sq ft. (36
X20") for around $30,000. (Five years ago.) It is an insulated, wired and
semi-plumbed permanent building. (no toilet, but the plumbing is there for
it.) It was 'permitted' as an unconditioned space, but it is fully
insulated, has a wood stove, water, sink, and has passed code. It is built
on a cement slab with a vapor barrier - just like a house would be built.
The studio looks like a cottage. In the winter, I can warm it up with one
of those delongi heaters if I don't want to build a fire in the wood stove.
Things I did that I like:
The long front of the studio has double French doors and opens onto a
covered 8' wide patio -with electrical outlets on each side of the French
doors. There are flood lights on the patio for evening work. The covered
patio extends my work space very nicely and is great for working on really
messy stuff. The double French doors allow me to move very large items, art
or equipment in and out.
The walls are 10' high - very nice for a feeling of light and for
There are 4'x6' double pane windows on the long side and a 4'x8' window on
the front. There are electrical outlets and water on three exterior sides.
I have three 4' long skylights in the ceiling. The interior space has wall
plugs with four outlets every 6' feet along the wall. I wired the studio
for stereo sound, phone service and 220 amp service for an air conditioner
or to run 220 amp equipment. The overhead lighting is industrial lamp
fixtures. The lights are on separate banks of switches. There is wiring for
a ceiling fan and an exhaust fan in the roof peak. There are ventilation
turbines on the roof.
I had the walls painted white with eggshell finish paint. This cleans up
easily and is more durable.
I created a small area near the front door for a sitting area. It centers
on the wood stove which is in a corner. I bought a zero-clearance wood
stove so I wouldn't lose valuable floor space.
Things I wish I had done differently:
The place needs much more lighting! I also wish I had installed electrical
cables that come down from the ceiling so that I don't have to run extension
cords from the wall sockets.
I should have 'finished' the cement floor with either cement paint or stain.
I've since seen some lovely finishes that look like stone.
I wish I had designed the ceiling to be open beam to the rafters. Instead
it is like a conventional flat ceiling in a house.
Given the hot summers in Sacramento, I wish I had gone with much more
expensive, gas filled double pane windows. While I have great light with my
window placement, I also have a lot of heat coming in.
Now that my art work has evolved to large metal sculpture, I wish I had
installed a roll-up cargo door in one wall towards the back.
In answer to your more specific questions. Plumbing? YES!!! Consider a hot
water heater or one of those instant hot water heaters. If you think about
it, you really want all the comforts of home in your studio so that you
aren't constantly running back to the house to get a drink, heat up
something, wash out something, use the phone, etc. Also, plan for the
future! You never know if your art might move into an entirely different
direction that requires or involves more mess. I have moved from being a
paper-maker to mixed media sculptor to metal sculptor.
When I first built my studio, I literally waited and worked in it for a year
before I put up a single shelf! I didn't want to put a single wrong nail in
those beautiful clean perfect walls. That now seems obsessive, but I
realized that the space was so beautiful, that I didn't want to do really
messy work in it. Now, as a metal welder/sculptor, all my work is messy.
So, I've had to rearrange my attitudes about my studio.
There is probably lots more I could say about the studio. Hope this helps.
Could you send me the URL of the writer's retreat where you saw the
translucent fiberglass roof? I'm looking for some material to roof an entry
way in my house.
From: Betty Bowen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, June 07, 2003 8:45 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: need Studio building advice
I'm building a studio and workshop in my garden. I'm looking at doing
around 20 x 20, since I have not only all my art stuff, but also an entire
framing shop with two 42 x 42 tables among other things. I want it to be
nice and permanent and (ok I admit it, I want it to be cute! - no looking
like a machine shop) I have good people to do the work, but I want to
reeeeaaallly know what I want before I start.
The big questions - have any of you done this? what do you wish you had
put in? What do you regret? Should I put in plumbing???? I wasn't, but now
am leaning that direction, simple, just a toilet and work sink.
OH, and I found a high-end "writer's retreat" plan online that had - get
this - a transluscent fiberglass roof. I WANT that. The whole roof being
transluscent? awesome awesome light. Anybody familiar with that product?