How crude can it be and still work?

The day was warmer, and Melanie was over, so John and Melanie and I finally put the front door in on the art studio cottage.

Watch video below to see how amazingly it works!



Making a Cottage Art Studio : Part 6 – Old Ladies Mixing Concrete

Me mixing concrete in a tub

As Cheryl and I continue working along this southern wall, taking out paneling and putting in windows and French doors (I know, the North side is better for lighting an art studio, but we have a South side to use so we’re using it), we are finding that almost everywhere along the base of these walls, the pressure treated wood is rotten.  Not only is the wood rotten in this particular spot, there is no concrete below the rotten wood either!

We are removing the rotten wood, bit by bit, and “pouring” concrete in the empty spaces that should have had concrete from the beginning.  Cheryl and I have to take this job in small bites because we are mixing the concrete by hand, and that is a tough job, especially for old ladies like us.

The little space you see prepped for concrete will hold just the amount I have mixed in this photo, which is about half a bag.  Maybe one day I will rent a little concrete mixer if I have a large area to fill.

Cheryl and I have limited energy but we don’t let that stop us from accomplishing our goals.  We work for only very short periods of time, like an hour at a time, which is why this project will likely take us forever.  Not only that, but we are both pretty sure we have that attention deficit hyperactive disorder thing.  This may be obvious to those reading my blogs.  I tend to jump from one project to another, one subject to another, then back again.  That is how we work best though.  Our brains go fizz, fizz, fizz, then we have to lay down and rest!

Making a Cottage Art Studio : Part 5 – Saggy No More!

This earlier photo, with your’s truly pulling off siding, shows the left side of the building ridge line sagging noticeably.  This side  was built earlier using 2×6 lumber.  The right half of the building was built years later, using prefabricated 2×4 rafters which used triangles for strength.

My big, strong, grown up son, Matthew, has become my hired labor since he is out of college for the summer.  It is soooo handy to have him helping me for a few hours each day when he is available.  I was intending to let the sag stay in the roof, and just strengthen the rafters against more sagging, but I got a big pouty lip from my sister Cheryl, the masters in architecture student!  That was just not OK, she informed me!  Blasphemy!  Lol! So, Matthew and I tackled the raising of the sag with car jacks, which is working very well.

The two car jacks poised on the 4×8 beam, jacking up the ridge line 2×6 piece of lumber.

Matthew looked like a Tai Chi practitioner as he moved slowly and carefully, setting the jacks and boards (above) in place.

After the de-sagging!

Tomorrow we will finish stabilizing everything, including adding the necessary triangles to the rafters for stability.

Making a Cottage Art Studio : Part 4 Weathered Cedar So Pretty!

  1.  More and more amazing supplies are coming our way for the shed conversion to art cottage. Yesterday, we picked up cedar fence boards that had been torn down. They had such character, including BB shot embedded in the silvered wood and green mossy patina growing on the other side.

Making A Cottage Art Studio: Part 3 – A Perfectly Imperfect Guest Cottage

My sister finished her term at school and has come to stay with me for the summer. This little bit of heaven, the partially finished corner of my cottage art studio, is perfect for her bohemian spirit. She loves to feel the breeze at night and watch the stars as she goes to sleep.

Making a Cottage Art Studio : Part 2 – A Zen Attitude

When Melanie left I felt sad, partly because I would miss her and partly because I wanted us to keep working on the art studio!!!  We put one of the 8 paned windows in before she left, and I put the other one in the next day with the help of my sister, niece, and daughter.

Today I decided to make needed repairs on the structure surrounding the area intended for the French doors and also create a space to install the doors.  I was so happy that I had the strength and energy to work on this section without Melanie helping me.  My son Ryan helped when I needed an extra hand, and so did my niece and her son.  It doesn’t look like much yet but I can see the finished product in my mind, and this cottage art studio is going to be beautiful!

Seeing and helping parents work on projects like this is so good for kids, too.  One nice thing about homeschooling is the kids are home to see and help with whatever project we are doing.  Melanie says watching and helping me work on projects while growing up gave her the confidence to tackle similar projects in her own home.  Seeing her work on this cottage with me the other day was sure proof of that, she was the boss lady and I was the helper!

Knowing how easily I tire, my daughters Melanie and Melissa talked to me about going forward with this construction in a “Zen” way.  Work when I have the energy, rest when I need to, and enjoy each step of the process.  It’s all about the journey.

Making a Cottage Art Studio : Part 1 Getting Started 


My daughter Melanie and her daughter at the cottage coastruction site.

When my husband and I bought this house, from Melanie and her husband, it came with a workshop. I decided I wanted to turn it into a an art studio so my sister Cheryl and I begin brainstorming ideas.  Of course it would need lots of windows for natural lighting.

Melanie was here yesterday, and today, and energetically suggested we start working on the renovations.  Melanie and I took out some walls and are installing huge windows for the natural light an art studio needs.

Besides an art studio, this cottage will also house a guest room and stables for a couple horses!  Updates coming as we progress.