Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Progress Report...
...Art Studio Update

Moving into a new space is always a challenge, especially when you are also downsizing.  My previous space was a two bedroom and the second bedroom served as my art studio.  In my new space I am using the dining area for a studio. The primary advantages are its proximity to the sink and the wonderful light.  The primary disadvantage is that there is limited wall space in a 9' x 9' room that opens to the living room and kitchen. 

The components that I kept from my old space are easily moved and can be configured in multiple ways. Anyone who has an artistic or other creative bent knows that the two key elements to a studio are horizontal work surfaces and easy access to supplies.

The north wall of my studio is the only uninterrupted wall in the studio. Fortunately, its relationship to the kitchen allows me to extend the kitchen counter into the studio and have 9 feet of counter space that can be used for art projects (or cooking projects if I am not working on art!).  

The East wall has a window 
taking up wall space.
(c). 2014 Eric E. Paige
The South wall opens to
the living room
(c). 2014 Eric E. Paige
The West wall opens to the kitchen, but the North wall is
uninterrupted. The Plan: extend the kitchen counter into the
studio, along the North wall. (c)2014 Eric. E. Paige

The base cabinets that I have for the studio are inexpensive storage pieces that you can find at most discount and home improvement stores. They are about 4 inches lower than a standard counter, but I found a way to use that to my advantage and gain additional storage space.

I started by placing the base units along the wall.  The open unit is in front of a wall outlet, so I don't have to give up access to electric. The units aren't very deep (about half the depth of a standard base cabinet) so I placed them about 4 or 5 inches from the wall. 

I then used a salvage door from IKEA to tie them all together.  As you will see this door will act like a shelf. Though the run doesn't go the full 9 feet, the end space will be good for tucking away larger items.  

Cabinets laid out, the top is a door from IKEA
(c) 2014 Eric E

For the countertop I used some maple shelves that I got from IKEA's as is department. I had to trim one of the shelves that was too wide, but one of them had a split, so I simple cut off the bad end. As luck would have it, a 1" x 4" board was the perfect size to make up the height difference.  I screwed two of the boards to the wall to act as a cleat, leaving a gap that allowed me to drop some wiring down to the outlet.
I cut three more boards to act as supports, and another to serve as a cleat along the East wall. For added strength, I will eventually connect all the supports with corner braces.

1" x 4" attached to the wall as a cleat. 
Note the gap left for wiring.
(c)2014 Eric E. Paige

These shorter pieces will help support the
countertop. (c)2014 Eric E. Paige

Ready to install the last piece! 
(c)2014 Eric E. Paige

Countertop and floating shelves installed.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

For easy access to supplies I use frequently, I installed 8 'floating' shelves that also came from IKEA.  Shopping the 'As Is' section saves money, but it also means limited selection, so two of the shelves are a different color, but I think it will look fine, and the primary concern is functionality!  

Though these floating shelves don't require brackets, I will install some underneath each shelf for additional support -- art supplies can be heavy, especially jars of paint!  

Serendipitously, the rack of storage bins I blogged about in an earlier post, fits perfectly above the radiator, and another floating shelf that I have will fit nicely above the opening between the studio in living room.

Repurposed rack, in my old studio. (c)2013 Eric E. Paige
Installed in the new space, just waiting for
the bins to get unpacked! 
(c)2014 Eric E. Paige

Because of the proximity of the entrance to the living room, the West wall won't accommodate a very deep shelving unit.  While I am keeping my eye out for something that will fit, I am also toying with the idea of running a series of shelves made from 1" x 4" that will allow me to maximize the space and achieve a built-in look.

Back to work for me, I still have a lot of unpacking and sorting to do. Check back for updates.  The kitchen should be finished this week and the living room is starting to look like a living room!

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