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Thread: The Studio: planning, demolition, building

  1. #1
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    The Studio: planning, demolition, building

    I'm an artist, a painter. Since moving into this old house 1 1/2 years ago, I have not had the space I need to really make a mess and explore, to work. I'm not happy about it. With the rent on a studio starting at $350 for a dirty shoe box, the obvious answer is to build a studio.

    First, I needed to figure out what it is I wanted to build - how much space, and how it would fit the property. It needed to be at least 10' x 16' (minimum actual working space), have room for some seating and entertaining, some storage, not overwhelm our small 50' x 100' lot, decent light little to no direct sunlight, and have features that tie it to the house and the neighborhood. Where it goes is obvious - in place of the delapidated old 10' x 30' garage that's been the home to everything from a pot bellied pig to rats and pigeons to armies of spiders.

    I knew what the city would allow and used the above concerns to carve out a basic footprint. On that footprint, with those concerns in mind, I sketched elevations and floorplans repeatedly, adding features and taking them away. I've still got a few questions, but here's what I've arrived at after much revision.

    The basic floor plan. Larger room is vaulted. Dashed lines show beams across open space. The smaller room has a garage door and three windows. It can be used as garage/work space for the motorcycle and bicycles. It will be used by Erin as a small studio space for her bow work (violin bows). The wall dividing the garage from the larger studio room can be opened up to make the space large enough to be a full garage.


    Elevation. View from garden. French doors (out swinging), casement windows. Brackets under barge rafter.


    Elevation. View from street. Two skylights on east face of roof. Garage door.



    Rough drawing showing placement of studio on lot (the blue shape is the studio). Drawing of house shows future shape of house after small addition. Studio is 5 feet from back lot line. This leaves room for simple shed roof for storage of garden tools behind studio.



    Large views of these sketches can be seen here

    more in a bit...

  2. #2
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    I'm resurrecting this dead-end because it fits with the garden thread.

  3. #3
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    It's been a long time since that first post, so here's the update (yes, I posted these on another forum way back when).
    -------


    So you've figured out that you're building a studio. You've figured out that the wretched dank festering decrepit stanky falling down garage with petrified rat droppings and a mine field of fresher moldy cat droppings (some with 1"+ of fuzz) needs to go. What do you do? You have your retired parents come out for a visit and put them to work. Make sure they've had their tetanus shots.

    First, let's see how sturdy this thing really is. Hmmm... if it wasn't for this door bracing it, it might just go right on over.


    Next, before you start pulling the siding off (some of which you want to keep), put some braces in to keep the thing from falling on top of you. Then, borrowing an army of pry bars from the friendly neighbor, get that siding off.


    Oh, and get all that crap you couldn't remember to throw away out of the garage.(notice the cross braces)

  4. #4
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    If you're going to get a dumpster, make sure it's big enough. (my dad having a bit of fun)


    Oh, and you don't really want to work on filling up the dumpster. You've got those piles of rubble in the backyard to add to the mix. So you head off for a long bike ride and your wife off to work. Let your parents start the filling, preferably with the heavy stuff.


    Then you can have fun with the easy stuff, pulling off that precious siding that sells for around $2/foot. Pretty soon, there's nothing left but a skeleton and a roof.


    Before you get any further, clean up some more of the crap. You'll look real tough if you stick out your chest.


    You knew from the start that no one should get up on that roof. The garage was built in two sections, the latter decades after the original with whatever lumber they could find. That roof couldn't hold up a fat pigeon let alone your tubby butt. So you've got a plan. Knock out the long braces, leave the ones perpendicular to the length of the wretched box, and have your great neighbor tie a rope around the tippy top and his truch.


    This solemn moment deserves a ceremony.


    (video link)
    Then give a tug.

    Bam.

  5. #5
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    Slaying a garage is a mighty feat. Celebrate your power.





    Careful now. Roofs can be trecherous (but not as much as a wife).


    That roof is bigger than you thought. (neighbor's house was sold 9 months ago and is going through a much needed remodel)


    Progress is quick, but not quick enough.
    "Young man, get over here and clean up this mess!"

  6. #6
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    Uh-oh. That dumpster will fill up faster than you expect. Better get in there and sort it out.


    Never forget why you were born - to put your parents to work.


    If only to keep them for nit-picking your work. Damn meddling parents.


    Sooner than you expect, the garage is gone and the dumpster is full. Your workers will be so happy, they might try to fly away. Consider a leash or tether of some kind.


    All gone.


    Damn. Now you have to get to work and build that studio.





    p.s. the dumpster load totalled 11,580 lbs. Approximately 83 lbs of that was moldy cat poop.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by knary View Post
    (video link)
    Then give a tug.

    Bam.
    Sweet!

    Youtube it! Loved the Great Neighbor at the end!

  8. #8
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    That was last summer. The real fun came in my dealings with the city.

    What took so long?
    Mostly me. I can be a procrastinator extraordinare and I hate paperwork. Just let me get to work. Here's the quick chronology:
    Summer 06
    Scott meets with friendly knowledgable people down at the city permit office. He asks questions about what can and can not build, and how it must be built. He and his family tear down old garage.

    September 06
    Wrapping up the initial drawings of studio based on that conversation with the city, Scott posts them on internet so that friends can admire and ridicule them. "What is up with that left edge?" echoes through the world wide web.

    October 06
    Scott takes them down to the city for initial review. Told they look great. Fill out these forms, bring back copies and so on. It will take six to eight weeks, possibly less, to get approval.

    November 06
    After some other things get in the way, finally take a stack of copies and forms down to the city. Told, "This looks GREAT! I love this building! It'll be gorgeous, a perfect addition to the neighborhood! But, no, you can't build this. I don't know who told you that, but they were wrong." A sound of a small explosion reverberates around Portland when Scott's head detonates. A thorough conversation with some city people with a clue reveals that it can't be classified as a garage and needs to meet seismic requirements.

    Winter 06
    Scott puts head in sand and ignores studio. A nervous tick says hello whenever someone asks about it.

    February 07
    With brand new drawings, tentatively Scott heads down to the city and is told, "Yes. You can build this. But you'll need to apply for a setback variance since this isn't a garage. Why isn't a garage? Because not all of it is for vehicle storage."

    March 07
    Scott takes a stack of drawings and paperwork down to the city. Told, "You could, if you wanted to, turn this in as is, but I recommend these changes to your narrative." The friendly woman hands Scott a sample of an application. Scott wonders why they didn't give him this sample six months ago. He contemplates another detonation involving shrapnel and gallons of spilled blood that isn't his own. The next day he returns to the city with rewritten paperwork and hands over $595 dollars for the setback variance. Scott is told that it isn't six to eight weeks as first told, it's eight to ten weeks.

    A couple days later...laughter and another explosion is heard.

  9. #9
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    the saga continues...
    [indent]March continues (note change in point of view - I'm not a great writer)
    When paperwork was dropped off to the city, it was suggested that adding a few photos to the application might be helpful. When I brought them in the person I spoke with pulled out my application. She looked over the drawings, complemented me on the design and asked, "Why are you applying for a setback adjustment for a garage?" (a garage under 24' can be built within the setback without requiring a variance)

    I confidently replied, "Because it doesn't qualify as a garage due to its shape. Or so I was told by this office several times over the past months."

    Squinting quizzically, she answered, "Hmm...that doesn't make much sense" and pulled a binder off the shelf, flipped to a page, and showed me their definition of a garage.


    She took the application back to one of her bosses. He confirmed her conclusion. Not only would it qualify as a garage if I shorten it back to 24 feet, but I can build it right on the property line - another thing someone else got wrong. She apologized profusely for the erroneous information I'd received and made several notations in our file noting this more accurate information to spare us from some future mix ups.



    The decision was made. I didn't need to apply for a setback. I just needed to crank out the more specific building plans. I lost a big chunk of time to this nonsense, but there's nothing I can do about it now.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessler View Post
    Sweet!

    Youtube it! Loved the Great Neighbor at the end!


    I think I will.

  11. #11
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    A little over three weeks ago a most bizaarre, a most remarkable, a most unexpected and $854.90 thing happened. I have my permits.


    The noodle god works in mysterious ways.

    It was a few hundred more than expected, but this is what you get when you build habitable space, not just a garage. It meets all the requirements to be used as a guest cottage - including the extra permit cost. At this point, I didn't much care, but having it built as such makes it markedly more valuable in terms of the larger property. Make sense?


    I was in the permit office for literally hours pouring over the construction details with several of their minions making sure they were as needed. I was there so long, when I got back to my GS, a $24 parking ticket was waiting for me. Like I care. What's another $24 into the city's coffers.

  12. #12
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    I've got the building permits, the rest is easy, right? sorry, no. You're now entering the contractor vortex where time and space and appointments mean nothing. My concrete guy, with an ok excuse, blew me off and then put on his invisibility cloak. FINALLY last saturday we had a talk, going over what he needs done when.

    Only a few things... tear up the old slab, dig some trenches, put down some gravel, get it all nicely tamped down... and take a nap and make sure the BMW MOA server is happy. whew. I'm beat.

  13. #13
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    Yesterday, the fun began anew.
    His name was Mike. He's missing a body part or two from some bad construction accidents. He came with a big tool weighing more than 9,000 lbs.

    predator


    prey


    Big teeth and strong muscles make for quick work










    Someone ate well.



    While someone was digging, I had a chance to chat with a neighbor's uncle that we don't see often enough.
    Meet Moses, a sweet man from Nigeria with a high pitched sing song voice, a light laughter, and an almost indecipherable version of English.


    This weekend, we dig.

  14. #14
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    I'll post some more current drawings soon. I'm more than a little excited. Rumor has it that some hammer wielding friends want to come make this place happen very quickly.

  15. #15
    REBECCAV
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    Wow - awesome report. Maybe you should send Mike and the bad-ass concrete-eater to the city offices next time you get any crap. Congrats on your new studio and progress.

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