If you build it…

Some recent changes at home necessitated converting my prior studio/darkroom into a bedroom. The only “room” left in the house was the garage intended for cars – cars from the 1930s. I have a Toyota Yaris which is fairly compact, and I have only parked in there once (when I was leaving town for an entire month), and that was only possible by folding in the side-view mirrors and holding my breath as I drove in as straight as possible. Thus the garage has been mainly used for storage for overflow items for all the things that didn’t fit in the house – which increased exponentially with my mom’s arrival. We decided to re-purpose it as an art studio/darkroom for us both to use, since we weren’t willing to give up having that kind of creative space under our roof.

This is what the garage looked like before we started. This is after weeks and weeks of my mom playing Chinese puzzle in there and moving totes around, and winnowing out belongings…this is what “progress” looked like before we got down to business. Note the general tumult, as well as the original splintery, dirty walls (slats which allowed both light and dust/significant dirt to pass through).

After a trip to Home Depot to pick up supplies (with pick-up truck support from the lovely Cari), we started putting up drywall on Saturday, and we went to town on it.  Got it all up on the 2 exterior walls!  This involved a fair amount of cutting, since the 8-foot sheets needed to be about 7’3″ to fit the space.  I also laid down a tarp and studio rug in my darkroom area to cover the existing “floor”, which is just an uneven layer of dirt and gravel. Shots of progress follow, as well as one of us so sweaty it looks like we stepped out of the shower. But triumphant! Can’t forget that.

(If you’re thinking – geez, this is a photo of a boring white wall, then we did our job WELL!)

Then on Sunday we tackled the freestanding wall, the biggest structural change to the room.

We built a “fork” of 2X4s.

We stood it up and attached it to the roof joists using shorter pieces of 2X4s.

We covered it in drywall. (All of it, though this shot only shows partial coverage).

We marveled at our accomplishment. We are both skilled interior designers of our own living spaces, but actually building a wall was something else entirely.

We both vowed to take it easy for a few days before continuing on…and (those of you who know either of us will not be remotely surprised by this) we both wound up working in there setting up shop for hours on Monday (mom during the day and me after work) – because that’s just how we are.  Driven/dumb, depending on your perspective and the task at hand.

Here is my (ready-to-be-tested this coming weekend) new darkroom! The space is also likely to be used to build samba costumes when the season is upon us, hence the samba storage totes under the table.

And here is my mom’s painting studio. Not fully set-up yet, but well on the way.

Ecstatic is a mild word for how we both feel when we walk into this (now fairly weather and light-proof) room. Temperature is my only concern, since we’re in triple-digits and the Ilford developer likes to stay around 68 degrees, but I guess I’ll find out soon how big an issue that presents.

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One response to “If you build it…

  1. Ack! No insulation behind the drywall?? 😮

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