We’ve got something really, really exciting going on over here! For years – since right after we moved into our house almost 14 years ago – we have been planning to build a studio in our yard somewhere. Originally, we were looking for a house that already had a studio or outbuilding, but that just wasn’t meant to be. So when we finally bought this house, the yard was basically a 1/4 acre blank canvas, and we were confident that we could find a little space in one of the back corners to build – some day.
Fast forward 10 years, and we finally got around to starting the project, only to discover that due to zoning, the only place we could really fit the structure we wanted was on the side yard next to the house, in a funky, curved strip of land between a super wide deck covered with grapes and a fence (that also served as a grape vine trellis.) We had eyed up that space when we moved in, but over the years it had served as a nice spot for dinners under the vines, and a auxiliary area for building and yard projects, a chicken run, and a weed garden (okay, mostly joking about that last one, but in recent years I had given up on weeding it, and realized that I could just “harvest” the weeds for the chickens.) At first, it felt too destructive to totally change it.
But then, the benefits started to stack up. We could landscape that side of the yard properly, we wouldn’t have to weed it (to the chicken’s dismay), the grapes had started to attract nearly year-round unwelcome critters, and we could go a little larger with the studio, adding in a kitchen and bathroom so it could also serve as a guest house, as well as a little extra living space for us when we needed it. So, the planning began. That was 4 years ago.
After lots of research, delays and false starts, our build team finally broke ground last March, and it has been slowly becoming ever since. I am not a person who loves drastic change, and especially not in a place that I love – I thought this would be really hard for me. But to my surprise, after the initial shock of change, I have loved every step of it – the wide open concrete slab, the pretty framing with the sunlight streaming through, the cozy plywood box with the cutouts for windows, and the current stage: concrete floor, sparkling white walls and wood beams, skylights, little else. It feels like a proper studio to me now, probably more than it will once the floors are laid and the kitchen put in. I love this rough, unfinished space, but I know that living where we do, in an area where space is limited and expensive, it makes more sense for this to be a finished flex space and not exclusively art studio. I trust that it will be just what it needs to be.
We’re in the home stretch now, and if everything goes according to plan, it should be finished sometime this fall. I am beyond excited to move into the space, and especially excited for the increased productivity it will allow. When we started this project, we didn’t realize that the following three years would see my husband Dave and me working 24 inches apart every day for years, while I tried to be creative and he fielded zoom calls all day. This space will be a blessing! I envision this being a place where I can host local open houses and classes, as well as manage my fabric and art business. I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but in the meantime, here’s a view of the past 5 months here.