|Home and Studio|
Last year when my beautiful partner Ellen and I were shopping for a house, one of the items on our wish list was a building or place that I could use as a studio. Over the years, I've painted in stairwells, corners of bedrooms and kitchens, and I wanted a place to call my own. We found a home in East Pittston, Maine that is perfect for us, and it has an out-building that was ideal for my studio. It is a fairly good size building, 27 feet long and 12 feet wide. The drawback was that it had a ceiling barely six feet high, sheathed in ugly, water and mold stained fiber board. Three naked light bulbs hung down, awaiting full contact with my forehead at any time. The building is at least seventy years old, and was used as a carpenter shop before me, and before that, I'm thinking it was probably a chicken coop. Here is how it looked:
I still moved in and set up shop and actually painted in there for about nine months when Ellen said it was finally time to fix it up. She is the handyman of the house, and was chomping at the bit to get cracking on the demolition. I was always a little more reluctant, knowing my complete lack of ability with tools.
We knew that above that nasty ceiling was at least five more feet of space that would make a nice cathedral ceiling. But first it had to go.
Now, doesn't that look like fun? The space above was loaded with wasp nests and the insulation was ancient fiberglass that itched on contact and was filled with mice droppings and assorted bug carcasses. We chose the beginning of September to start this project, figuring that the worst of the summer heat was behind us. Except that the worst heat wave of the summer kicked in just about then with temperatures reaching ninety degrees daily for a week. The temperature in the studio reached to near one-hundred degrees!
After the ceiling and some unnecessary beams were all down we started in on the reconstruction. We reinsulated all the walls and ceiling, then sheathed the inside in pine boards. I sawed, hammered and in general tried to stay away from any career-ending mutilations while Ellen did all the rewiring.
Here I am swinging a hammer and wearing a really cool tool belt! I did learn a few things about construction during all this. Some do-it-yourself maxims, as it were.
- Measure twice, cut once. Then wonder how the hell that measurement was so wrong.
- Having the right tools for the job does not guarantee doing the job right.
- The thrill of the job being done is greater than the satisfaction of a job well done.
- If my carpentry skills were like my paintings, I'd be an abstract-expressionist.