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  • amybillinghurst

Backyard Studio Build

The backyard studio - my all time favourite spot on our property next to my garden. It came out of necessity. Our home is a very small one level bungalow with three small bedrooms and one bathroom. We opened up a wall when we moved in so that the rest of the living space is open concept. Our two bedrooms are used as our primary bedroom and our daughters bedroom, with the third room acting as an office for my husband Brian. When I purchased my commercial sewing machine we knew we would need an extra work space. Not only is the machine HUGE, it's also not very quiet, and in such a small home, it wouldn't have worked with our at home working arrangements.

Cue the studio build!

(Inspiration photo from Pinterest)

I had my inspiration "Pinned" on Pinterest for quite some time and so it just came down to executing it! We purchased both of the windows and door first before anything else. There is a local supplier Vandolder's in Collingwood who has fantastic options for all sorts of exterior finishes. They also have two large trailers full of doors and windows that were ordered for jobs but for one reason or another never used. A perfect budget friendly option for us, as we built the studio around the dimensions of these items. I knew I wanted a large window above my desk so I could look out onto my garden, and loved that we found the large window for the front as well. The glass door finishes off the front and provides extra natural light too.

Once we had the windows and doors we decided on the square footage, and as I knew I wanted a single pitch roof, we needed to determine the difference in height from the front to the back of the studio.

Our friend helped us pour the footings (crucial, as his experience sped up the process exponentially) and we built the insulated floor after that, affixing it the footings.

(It's always fun to look back at the process, and see where we all were at the time. He's our then two year old checking things out.)

(floor built and insulated - a small chicken coop used to live here when we bought the home.)

My dad played a huge role in helping frame the studio, as he had built a number of "out buildings" before. Brian's dad was equally helpful with the actual labour of framing as well! It was an awesome team, and we managed to get it all framed on a weekend in the fall of 2020. Brian and I were up on the roof together attaching the steel - It was quite the team effort. Nothing like free labour to help bring the pain of rising lumber costs down.

Once the framing was finished we affixed the plywood; vapour barrier; board and batten siding; and worked on insulating the inside in addition to getting all of the electrical roughed in.

I spent a good number of days painting the exterior Onyx by Benjamin Moore. My original plan was to go with "Wrought Iron" but it didn't end up looking right against the black of the windows. (see above image)

From there, Brian and I laid the laminate plank flooring which was surprisingly simple once you get the hang of it and attached the trim to the baseboards, windows and doors.

We chose to finished the ceiling in tongue and grove with 4 pot lights to elevate the space. And my good friend gifted me some beautiful "Princeton Long Sconces" in natural brass from Schoolhouse Lighting. We used the Ikea ALEX drawers on either side of my sewing machine desk and cut the Ikea LINNMON table top to fit perfectly on either side for a custom built in look.

It's a wonderful bright spot to work each day!

I planted some hydrangeas in the front, and furnished the inside with some built in drawers and a vintage sideboard I refinished below some display shelves.

It's such a dream to be able to work out here! It's very well insulated and gets toasty warm quickly with just a space heater in the winter.

The pandemic has made backyard workspaces quite popular! I can't say that I'm mad about it. I'll be hosting many open studio days all year, so if you're in the area stay tuned for those dates and come see it for yourself!

If you have any questions about my studio feel free to reach out.

- Amy

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