Studio Project – The Beginning

Chris Lane / Business, Improvements!, Updates / / 2 Comments / Like this

I have begun a new pretty ambitious project. I am retrofitting an old wooden granary into my working studio. I am not entirely sure, but I believe it was built in the 1970s, but possibly earlier. The only reason I think 70s is because of a grain ticket from that era that is on an interior wall, though that really only says that is when it was once used to hold grain.

Here is the front, North and west side:

The studio in the beginning © Chris Lane Photo

Here is the back, South and East side along with two of my four dogs:

The back of the studio in the beginning © Chris Lane Photo

The size of the shell is 28 feet by 20 feet and 16 feet high to the peak, so it will be a pretty good size studio. Granaries typically are broken into four rooms inside with a wide hallway down the center, as you can see in the pictures it has the doors on each side. The previous owner had already mostly taken out one section of walls on the east side, so as you can see in the illustration below I will leave it as three rooms.

The studio floorplan © Chris Lane Photo

Right now the building doesn’t have electricity, so I will have to trench a wire from the pole for that. But first, as you will see in the pictures below I need to do some cleaning out. We currently have used the building for semi-decent storage, as it is dry, though not super clean. The main reason I am making this into a blog post is for one, I think people might be interested in where I will be working in the future and the progress to get there, but also to keep me on track. If I am reporting progress to my readers I have more gumption to keep at it. Be forewarned though, it may go fairly slow as I have to keep it in budget and I am also doing a lot of serious remodeling to my house at the same time. As I make progress, I will keep posting pictures and explanations of where I am and where I am headed. (So click the links in the left sidebar to get updates now so you get those progress reports!)

After I get it cleaned out, I am going to take out the remaining wall pieces and counter space on the east section. These first two pictures are pointing into what would be the largest room.

The studio to SE corner © Chris Lane Photo

The studio to NE corner © Chris Lane Photo

On the west side are the two rooms. I’m not entirely sure what I will be using them for. Hopefully one day I will get plumbing into the building and have a bathroom on site, instead of having to go to the house. But in the meantime, they will probably be storage or maybe a library or gallery! I know at least one room will be insulated further so I only have to heat one room with an electric space heater when I am not using the studio in the winter. Since the winters here in northern Minnesota get down to -40*F or even colder, this will greatly decrease my heating bill. When I am using the studio, as you saw in the floorplan, I will have a woodstove on the east wall. These pictures look to those two rooms and the following pictures are looking down into them from above. They may be a little disorienting.

The studio to entrance and room 1 © Chris Lane Photo

The studio to room 2 © Chris Lane Photo

The studio room 1 from above © Chris Lane Photo

The studio room 2 from above © Chris Lane Photo

You may have also been keen enough to see in the floorplan that I have stairs to a loft. So above the two rooms I will be putting in a floor that can help with storage, heating of the heavier insulated room, and whatever else I deem useful. In this first picture it looks toward where the loft will be, and the second picture is looking down into the large room from the loft area.

The studio to the loft © Chris Lane Photo

The studio down from the loft © Chris Lane Photo

So, obviously if this is going to be a studio, I am going to want some windows. In the floorplan you can see where all the windows will be, but I also made this sketch of the front and side. The most windows will be on the north side, which gives the most even colored light, which is pivotal for painting. I was thinking of this idea to have three 24″ windows in the large room and two in the small room, with the door slightly off center, but my wife thinks I should go with symmetry and have two windows to each side with the door dead center. What do you think?

The studio elevation drawing © Chris Lane Photo

In the drawing (and the first pictures) you can see there are some hills on the sides of the building. I think this is to strengthen the walls when the rooms are filled with grain, but I’m not entirely sure. Right now there is supposed to be wildflowers growing on them, though I’m not sure how well that is working out. It’s still early, so we’ll see.

I plan on keeping the ceiling all the way up to the rafters/roof, so I will have loads of headspace. I think I will have to put new flooring over the old flooring as it is covered in grease and oil. I’m not sure why, but it’s a shame cause the original floorboards are pretty nice. Lots of ideas right now, not sure if they will all happen or not, as it’s pretty early.

So I think that is about it. Have any ideas for me? Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them, especially this early in the project. I’ll let you know when I get some new stuff done, so stay tuned!

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