Whilst I’m currently taking a health-related break from making art commercially, I’ve been creative in another way with an exciting project – designing a new art studio space, which my talented, handy-with-a-saw husband has been patiently building for me in our garden.

My old studio was tucked into the eves of our home. A cramped, compact space it had served me well for many years – however it wasn’t without it’s shortcomings… The room had almost no natural light (which often meant for errors in tone and colour in paintings), I often ran out of storage, and there was almost no horizontal wall space to hang work on. It wasn’t ideal.

As my children have grown, I’ve become increasingly aware that family harmony would only be maintained by each of them having their own personal space. Unfortunately this required pushing the old studio into use as a bedroom for my youngest.

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What initially seemed a huge headache – masses of canvases and other materials piled up with no space to store them and, importantly, nowhere to paint! – turned into an opportunity to create a new space which was purpose built for my needs.

After a little measuring, some back of envelope calculations (and a little research into various regulations and laws), we decided we could squeeze a new studio building into our front garden.

Nicki MacRae Art - Pinterest Ideas for New Art Studio
Nicki MacRae Art – Pinterest Ideas for New Art Studio

I knew my new studio needed to be full of natural light, have plenty of easy storage and be the perfect ‘blank canvas’ space to work in (white and bright). I wanted it to be adaptable to any new technique or material I might want to work with (within reason). Good ventilation, to deal with spray paint fumes and dust, was essential, and I needed to carefully consider humidity and maintaining a reasonable temperature. I wanted large expanses of wall space to pin up source material, sketches and part-finished work for consideration and curation. The effects of my health conditions also place some design constraints – nothing could be too heavy to move, or placed so high or low that I had to strain, crane to bend to reach, and there must be no trip or bump hazards.

Originally I imagined some wooden shed or cabin-type building, but an off the peg shed or summerhouse was going to require a lot of modification and insulation to make it practical. I had priced up log cabins in the past and knew they would be prohibitively expensive (and hard to manoeuvre the component parts into our limited access space).

Excitingly, I could also see there was possibility to design a building which is aesthetically interesting and exactly customised for my requirements.

New Studio Sketch Up Design
Playing with designs in Google SketchUp…

I’ll post something in detail about the design, inspiration and construction in future, but for now I thought I’d share some ‘in progress’ photo’s of the building to date…

We’re still a few weeks off completion. The exterior is almost complete, and the interior is being fitted out with electrics and plasterboard… Then there will be an awful lots of painting!

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New art studio progress update: ? Been struggling the last week with the sheer volume of rain coming down – so much water! ? and wind! Poor @macrae_ian has been sluicing out water several times a day. He’s had to put a temporary tarpaulin roof up, as we’re stuck waiting for materials to turn up. The roof panels should be here in the next couple of days ?. The whole interior will be lighter when complete as the roof is semi- transparent and everything will be painted white. You can get an idea now of the size of the windows – which are in manufacture currently – and view ?

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