As some of you may know, I moved into a new studio (pictured, left) at the beginning of this year. And by new, I mean new to me, because the building has been in place since around the turn of the last century. The subterranean room is charming, with rock walls and hefty beams supporting ancient open joists. Despite the basement location, the feeling is warm and welcoming. However, like all older buildings and basement spaces, it has its share of problems: in this case, noise from upstairs and dust from the open rafters. None of it seemed too awful at first, but over time these issues have become increasingly disruptive. A while ago I reached the conclusion I would have to find something else.
A few months ago, "something else" was found in the form of another turn of the century building. This one, rather than having spaces for rent, was for sale. My family decided to collectively purchase the building with part to be used as my studio, part to be used for a shop for my husband and my dad, and two newer wings to be rented out as studio space. The only immediate problem I could see was that once again, my space would have no windows.
All was going swimmingly. A few months and just a few more city inspections to get through, and we could close and move in. Eight of nine departments checked off their approval. We waited. And waited. And then... Enter the Transportation Department. The west wing of the building, they said---the wing we would be renting out, the wing built prior to 1958---was built on the city right-of-way. In the street, actually. Not that anyone could tell, since what passed for a street in this instance is an expanse of small lakes and large potholes occasionally punctuated with street-level dirt and gravel. Nonetheless, the upshot was this: the wing would have to come off.
The bad news, as if I need spell it out, was that this would be a giant expensive pain in the ass. There is some good news, though. The renovation would mostly be covered by the difference in price for the newly-smaller building (not good news for the sellers, who have my deepest sympathy) And, since the formerly-exterior-then-interior wall of my studio would again be an exterior wall, at long last, I would have my windows!
Over the next few months I will document the transformation of the studio back to some semblance of its charming 1911 self, including some cool demolition video! Read more for "before" photos of the new studio...
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