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Studio overhaul

The old barn, with the studio on the upper floor. Drop by any time, but remember - first you'll have to get past 'killer'
I grew up working in construction. Learning how to build is an important asset for me. I use it when I put an illustration together, and it really helped when I built my studio space.

When we bought our house I looked at the out building, an old corrugated metal and wood barn, as a potential knock-down. My brother pointed out the concrete foundation and the relative squareness of the structure, still solid. I rented a studio space for a short while and spent the summer planning and framing the studio on the upper floor, converting the space from an old hayloft. That was eleven years ago.

I liked the layout of the building, so I left the exterior intact. The inside, as you can see from this shot, was a different story. I decided to re-frame an inside shell, and put in plenty of insulation.

The roof of the building is a perfect 45 degree pitch, so I was able to get very high ceilings. I also echoed the line in the stairwell and storage areas that are built into the space. I used recycled storm windows that were left by the previous owners to let in lots of light. I was also able to pick up some used glassed doors for next to nothing.

I asked my dad, the pro, to build a winding staircase. It's a real space saver and it's a beautiful stairwell. I must go up and down this thing about 100 times a day.

I've changed things around a few times. This year I did a major overhaul to get rid of some of the detritus that accumulated over time. I put in a nice antique cabinet to hide away some of the odds and ends.

Clean and shiny
I worked with my friend Mark Guildenhaar, a talented furniture designer, to design and build a computer desk over 15 years ago. That desk has followed me around through a couple of moves and I sit at it every day.

The view from the stairwell. The computer desk sits behind the bookcase.
I know this is cheesy, but I painted a compass on floor. When I first moved here, my sense of direction was a bit off-kilter. I've sorted things out since then, but I like to think it keeps me pointed in the right direction.
The view from my chair


I picked up this old government light table for next to nothing at a used office supply store when I moved everything in. It is solid wood and absolutely indestructible.

It's great to have a space away from the house and kids, and the commute is a breeze. Pants must be put on, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
Topical: build