Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Phase Underway at Last: The Studio

one of the french doors, with one of
my paintings completed in the
to-be-studio space leaning against it
Starting a business this year definitely set us back a bit in terms of finishing our renovations this year ( for info on our business see ).  Last year this time (late December !)  Ian got the laundry, second bathroom and a small dust-free workspace done (where he can work on watchmaking, in a cleaner environment than sharing with heavy tools in his shed).

I am looking forward to having studio space, so I can paint more often.  Once the weather got nicer, I have painted occasionally in this area, as the light is good, and filtered, but still true.  There are not many bad shadows near the stone retaining wall side.  I am hopeful this will make for good painting space.  It is also very peaceful to work in.

old light fitting
at the back door
Meantime, good progress has happened on the periphery of what will be the studio.  A gorgeous antique light fitting was installed outside the back door, so I did not have to return home in the dark and trip (which did happen once before the light was installed !).  A vintage light fitting was updated and wired safely and looks very smart in its new place.

Ian did up a colour bond clad wall that will be our inside studio wall out of scrap left over colour bond sheeting.  Because it was not all the same colour, he painted it with hammer-finish paint in a gunmetal colour to unify it.  We were happy to use scrap that otherwise would have been discarded.

french doors hung,
but still in their as-we-got-them
yellow paintwork
But the work on enclosing our patio space to create a studio has waited until opportunity came around.  Which finally started a couple months ago.  First the french doors got put up.  Making it actually look like it may someday become a room !  The colour of the door frames was as they were when we bought them from a salvage yard.  So they also got a paint job some weeks later, and are finished in a glossy paint in 'Monument' (a dark charcoal) to match the metal beams in the structure.

Then on one of our November Monday's off we went into the city to order windows to fit the space.   This is the most expensive last single expense of the project.  It came in a bit higher than we originally hoped, but not more than our 20% margin for over-run estimates.  So it was OK, plus we have saved on a few other things here and there.  I was quite happy to get more window light than I had expected might be the case, plus we had them all made with fitted flyscreens, which means  we will have outstanding ventilation in the space whenever we want it.  So a good outcome.  The finish for the window frames is black, which will blend well with the very dark Monument colour (darkest charcoal).

A month later, the windows arrived and are now starting to be installed, one by one.  One is in now and the next three are queued up for their turns.

Before installing the windows, Ian has redone all the grouting/sealing between the stone pavers in the patio area, because he did not like how it cured.  It took him a week and half to methodically remove the old materials, and then put in fresh better mixes which have cured well.  Then he sealed each.  This will give us a tidier finish for the studio floor. Also one that can be cleaned nicely.

 This last snapshot shows framing structure,  the first window in, and also the painted up French door on the left (looking from outside in).  This wall will be the one facing the shed, and the area on the outside is covered by the patio overhang.

 It's looking so exciting to see the progress, step by step.  Can't wait for it to be done !  Finally I have allowed a bit of indulgence of thought about how to finish the space off once construction and enclosing is finished !  I have old vintage factory style lights to put in there.  We need a few power points along the wall adjacent to the laundry.  We know this area is very weatherproof and dry inside (even without enclosure, it early gets wet, and once the windows to the west are in it won't at all).  So, I want to move the big bookcases out from the dining area to that wall adjacent to laundry.  So we will have reference materials for art and creating activities and also a bit of that nice library feel to this space.  We have two cane frame lounging chairs for the space too, and will work out something for a table near them.  Last but not least, the top of the stone retaining wall will be a seat with views to the garden, and I have saved for this area some large vintage carpet pillows.  The cats love them and will enjoy them while they watch the garden.  The BBQ will move under the eaves outside the studio, and also the round teak table, plus the chairs I still must finish painting (one of 4 is done !).  

Oh yes, I also must get rid of a lot of final boxes of things from our move, some have been boxed up for a long time.  It will soon be time to sort, manage properly or get rid of the clutter of old things I have been holding onto.  So a bit to do ! But a task I actually look forward to, to start 2014 with a bit of clearing !

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