From Shed to Studio

Friday, 6th January 2006, page 2 of 2

our house in 1983
Our 1930s semi-detached house in 1983 - I'm currently sitting at my computer in what was empty space, 5 feet above that garage door.

Plans for the extension

Not so elegant from the rear but I appreciate the 4ft square Velux rooflight, overlooking Coxley Valley.
The makeshift conservatory, built by the previous neighbour, went when we built the extension.

extension planBy the way, that shed next door, seen behind the feeder in the picture on the previous page, used to be our lean-to garage (above, left). When we decided to build an extension, our neighbour Jim, then just out of school, agreed to dismantle it and he and his friends lugged the concrete beams down his garden and reassembled it as a more spacious accomodation for his workshop, which I remember housed a lathe and welding equipment. I always wanted to draw the interior but never got around to it.

Jim has now moved to a farm and rebuilt a stable as a farmhouse, so his experience reassembling our old garage must have been good practice.

Our extension includes the garage and kitchen on the lower floor and my studio running the length of them above.

My studio today

I would have liked the whole roof space in the studio to be exposed so that I could have had a larger, higher, Velux rooflight near the apex at the front (as in my drawing above, centre; the one I've ended up with is only a foot square) and a real timber tongued-and-grooved floor. In fact the apex space got claimed by filler tanks and a hot water tank took up a corner in a big stud-walled floor to ceiling airing cupboard which I've since rebuilt in pine as a cupboard not much bigger than a fridge, giving me room for my oversize printer (which I crouched next to, to take the stitched-together panorama, above).

studioI've ended up with a typical semi-detached 1980s kind of space with a chipboard floor - ugh (now covered in Ikea laminate, which is practical).

I wonder what kind of work I might have produced if I'd had an airier, more funky studio? Still, it's dry and warm and one up on the lean-to garage we had when we came here. And the view over the valley is an inspiration, giving me light, a changing view through the seasons and a subject when I don't get the chance to get out. Next Page

Richard Bell,