Sunday, April 8, 2012

Creating Studio Space

 This post describes how my current studio space came about. I hope by sharing my story, I can give someone reading a good idea for creating their own space.


When I began teaching in my current home, I taught in my very small living room with an upright piano and 2 kitchen chairs. I advertised in the Pennysaver, hung signs around the neighborhood, and had 4 students.

Once I decided to create a space "designated" for a studio, I chose to use an unfinished addition behind our kitchen designed for a pantry, junk, and our washer and dryer. We partitioned the 1/3 of this space off with a wall - moved all the junk to the other side, insulated, drywalled, bought my first ever grand piano, some cheap carpet, and created my first real studio space. I had 8 students. It was a risky venture. Not to mention that when students came in for lessons, they had to walk through my living room and kitchen first....I always had to be sure my dishes were done. ug.

I outgrew this space after 2 years. Holding a recital was just too tight for comfort and I knew I wanted a larger space and a waiting room- I don't like doing dishes.

I had to move the upright out just to fit the chairs for a recital.
And you can see the kitty door- it was the only way kitties
could get to the litter box....not very professional.

The next big decision was to give up the other 2/3 of the space I had now grown accustomed to for my pantry, laundry, storage, and tool workshop, and dumping ground for all our junk and use it instead to create income. The only thing it had been creating was a bigger mess.

One very difficult decision was moving the washer and dryer from what was left of our "backroom", to the kitchen (in our small home, there was nowhere left to put it). But in the end it wasn't so bad after all. Our kitchen comfortably held the stacked system...but the move did require the first of many visits by our plumber & electrician. These are the types of decisions I had to make to get the new studio.

We had the world's largest yard sale, threw away a lot, and re-distributed what was left of our "junk" elsewhere in the house. Once the backroom was cleared out, it was a question of the usual construction.

The next question was just how students would come in, and where they would wait. The only solution was to give up another room of the house --my office. This would be the perfect space for a waiting room and I didn't really need that much office space anymore. My office window became the entrance to the waiting room. The office door became the french doors into the studio. The back corner where the file cabinet is became the powder room.

An old walk-in closet housed my research library when I was working on my doctorate-but I didn't need all that space anymore. I found a picture on the Internet of a closet-office and decided this was a perfect solution!  Now its my private office space.

Left- the photo I found online to design my closet-office.
Right- my office

Thankfully, I have an in-house carpenter and I was willing to help in any way I could. In the end, this saved us a bundle in labor costs. It wasn't easy, and it took an entire summer to finish. Having a deadline was a big help in finishing.

In the end, I have a studio space large enough for student-only events like my Back-to-School party and my Halloween party. When students aren't around, the waiting room space doubles as our family study and when students are around parents and siblings can wait comfortably without entering my personal living space or using my bathroom -- and I don't have to do the dishes!


  1. I love your studio organization. It looks so organized.
    Are those magazine files that you store your music in from Ikea? How well do they hold up?

  2. Hi Rebecca- Yes, they are the magazine files from IKEA! They hold up, but not forever. After pulling them in and out of the shelves for a year, they start to break down a bit. I really needed something like 60 of them and I couldn't afford the really good ones, but for the sake of long term storage I may have to bite the bullet and spend the money. But so far they've been up for a year and I've only had to replace 1 or 2.