Tuesday, April 14, 2020

New house/ New studio PART 1

Before all of this crazy, Liz and I had hired a contractor and an electrician and started the process of renovating our garage into our "dream" studio.  

For years....YEARS, we had been waiting to "settle down".  Because all of my academic positions were either non-tenure or tenure track (more so the former than the later) we had been in a holding pattern. We didn't want to buy until we were sure that we would be in a place for more than five years. Anyone that knows us is well aware that we have moved almost every other year for the last ten years. It is getting old. Recently, the chance of settling down evaporated when I lost my job in December 2019....merry fucking xmas. 

After a few hard months of debilitating depression we both decided that life is too short to wait. Also, not to be too doom and gloom but we are past half our life (probably more than half my life at least). So we hit the bricks and went on the hunt for houses. We probably physically went and looked at over 30 houses in a month (that must be a record). It seemed like every weekend we went to around six or seven open houses across the state. 

Knowing that we would be buying a house somewhere eventually, for the last ten years we had been working on our finances. As in, paying off all of our credit cards, being frugal, not buying crazy shit/over extending ourselves. Just overall really working on it. That being said our budget was not large so our options were limited.  

Being picky artists, we had a short list. At the top of that list was NO BIG RENOVATIONS. We just really didn't want to renovate another house (you can probably find some older blog posts somewhere or a flickr album or two of our other renos that we did back in the day). We also didn't want a big house.  What is the point!? We are not having kids.....ever (story for another post).  We wanted a yard big enough to grow some food. We wanted room for a studio. No eves (we are big people and I am so tired of banging my head on things).

So after looking at a number of properties we realized that it was improbable we were ever going to get exactly what we wanted. Some houses needed a full gut job. Some houses didn't have yards. Some houses were in bad neighborhoods. One house, I am pretty sure was a super-fun site. We would put in an offer on something and get way out bid. You get the idea.  Right before we were going to give up we found the perfect little house!  It checked a lot of boxes. The only problem was it didn't have a studio (and eves).  Wha wha whaaaaaaaa. 

So here we are....taking on another renovation project. Again. 

In a nutshell we will be renovating our existing one car garage into our "dream" studio. I put dream in quotes because we probably will never finish it OR run out of money or something. 

Just to point out, the studio we rent now is in a HOT zone. Right across the street was were the first case of Corvid-19 was found in Rhode Island and our studio landlord works at a hospital. Not that either of those things prevent us from going in work its just been hard to justify going. As in: do we really need to be making some art jewelry right now? 

Anyhoo, we decided that we would hire out the work. Mostly because we want to support our local tradesmen, we had already budgeted for the job and honestly we were way way too busy to do it ourselves.  Also we just went through a year long renovation on one of our other properties back home after one of our tenants decided to burn it down.  (No one was hurt. Yes, I had to fly home multiple times to meet with insurance adjusters and contractors. Yes, it was a huge pain in the ass, Yes it cost us a bunch of money, Yes we had to work extra hard to pay the bills that year.) 

So a couple of months ago we met with a couple contractors and discussed a few things and decided that we were going to need some power run out back.  After adding up all the tools and the required electrical load we settled on 100 amps.  Which I think is plenty. 

So here is the plan (subject to change)

- Run the power out to the garage (digging, lots of digging) We have a 200 amp box in the house. I am not sure why the house had that much...probably because it is small and they knew someone was going to add an addition?

- Check the structure/reinforce the structure if needed (its in pretty good shape)

- Frame out the garage door (put in large wide glass door) We debate about a double sliding glass door but I think that would consume too much potential wall space.

- Frame out the interior (including overhead attic style storage)

- Run wiring for the outlets We need to figure out where things are going to go so we can divide up the circuits. 

- Install three exterior windows along one side More light! More light!

- Install gutters The garage and house came with a brand new roof! for some reason they forgot to put the gutters back on the garage. 

- Install heating and AC (mini split and heat pump) The mini spit and heat pump will go in the back.See second CAD drawing. We had to dig out the back of the garage. The previous owners had made a giant yard waste pile right up against the garage. We had some moss starting to grow on the side of the building and some moisture building up so it had to be dug out! MORE DIGGING.

- Install ventilation HVAC plumbing for soldering/welding/laser engraving We don't have a plan for this yet. Maybe in part two?