More for the "ideal art studio" list

Note: An advance apology goes out those not interested in my posts on designing a home studio. I am itching to get back to painting in a greater capacity, but this studio stuff is a bit all-consuming and it's where I am at the moment, so here goes! There are a few other things that I've not included on my first ideal studio list because they are pertain a little more to personal preference than to "art studio", per se. But they're still pretty important, so I'll throw them in for grins.  I will preface by saying that my best method of decision making comes about by stating what is as close to ideal as I can conjure up, and to then go about slicing and dicing based on budgetary constraints and other issues. 

And to that end, our local zoning office has already been kind enough to get the slice/dice process going for us. We have learned that instead of a larger, squarish format at the back of the lot (which would have happily blocked our view of the alley) we are now dealing with a long/narrow structure on the side of our lot. The issue isn't so much the lot coverage as the setback requirements for our particular lot.

After allowing myself a brief round of ranting and raging, I went back to the drawing board. Right now it looks like a max of 16x24' working space, to serve the previously mentioned office and studio functions.  This is single story, but with cathedral ceiling and 9' walls. We're also looking at a 4' portico off of one end that can accommodate a loft area for additional storage. All subject to change, of course, if zoning comes up with a different answer once we submit our final drawings with the application.

But che sera sera. I'll deal with that ranting, raging, and nail-biting if it happens. For now, here are some additional items for the wish list:

  1. Lasting and low maintenance:  If we can build this thing, it's going to have to last me a good, long time. One never knows what the future holds, but I'm pretty tired of moving. This will be my third studio move in 5 years.
  2.  Aesthetically appealing: Aside from my "outdoor studio", I've had past studios in leaky office buildings, sheds, and even closets and kitchen tables, so for the record, I'm not THAT prissy. But since this project is, in large part, as a result of my artistic efforts,  I want it to be a nice creative retreat. Since we will do the finishing work, this is something that will have to happen over time; but ultimately I'd like a certain level of finish. I'd also like to find ways to integrate this structure as much as possible with the rest of the property, through landscaping, garden elements, etc. 
  3. Less will be more: Whether we build or not, I'll be downsizing. If you've read any of my blog posts about easels and art materials you've probably guessed that this is something I really need to do any way.  While I'll be lightening my load, fitting everything in is still going to be a challenge. So I want the space to have a feeling of airiness and openness.
  4.  Energy efficient/ eco-friendly: The big caveat here is that I have to be realistic about price, but I want to do what I can (and what I can afford) toward that end.  I do realize the "green"/energy conservation trade-off-- any upfront pricing often pays for itself over time in energy savings. But while we won't automatically go for the cheapest options, we do have to consider the initial outlay. And unfortunately many of the green building options, as great as they seem to be, may not fit in with my budget. 

In the beginning I checked into a ton of pre-fab/ready-made/kits/plans considered to be eco-friendly options, but all of the ones I found were either the wrong size/shape for our lot, or out of our price range (or both) and we're still talking about just products that were just the "bones" or "shell". So, we finally decided that for my needs we'd best see if we could build a semi-customized garage.

But what  I CAN do is pick the best materials that I can afford that have proven to conserve energy costs and production, and also hopefully to minimize the environmental impact as much as possible. So for a while I'll probably be reading more building material catalogs than art supply catalogs! I'm looking at roofing and siding options that will somehow meet at least a cross-section of the above requirements, plus other building materials (insulation options, windows with low-e glass, the solar tubes, etc.) It is a lot to cover and a lot to learn! And of course I might be jumping ahead just a wee bit. Here I am designing flower beds, and we haven't yet gotten the building permit ;-)