Backyard Studios

Get Ideas for a Model-of-Perfection Artist's Studio

Every now and then my wife and I talk about what we’d do if we had the money to construct our dream house. What things do we include past the normal spaces for eating, sleeping and such? I am always partial to a library, however, my wife would love a pottery studio. Well a library is relatively easy — plenty of wall space and very little natural light — but an artist’s studio is a bit more demanding, bringing in considerations of surface and light but also ventilation, outside access and so forth. This ideabook looks at a few artist’s studios to find out what should be considered when building one into your property, make it for design, painting or some other medium.

Clayton&Little Architects

Let’s say that the artist is a painter. Ideally a painter’s studio could be removed from the rest of a house, so that paint does not get on couches, and brushes are not washed at precisely the same sink where folks cook or brush their own teeth. This studio takes that to the extreme by being a 500-square-foot structure separate from the first Victorian residence. The way the studio opens into the lawn is a great feature we’ll talk more later.

Traditionally, northern light (in the Northern Hemisphere) was desirable for artist’s studios, since the light could be diffuse instead of direct. In a feeling this mimics the states in galleries and museums, where a few indirect natural light may enter the distance, accompanied by a few artificial lighting. Website constraints mean that studios can’t always take full advantage of north light, therefore maximizing any available light is perfect, such as in the case of the studio with windows and skylights.

Dumican Mosey Architects

After the positioning of openings is varied to maximize the daylighting, shades can be used to block direct light when it is not desirable. Such is the case for this attic studio.

Pine Street Carpenters & Your Kitchen Studio

A fairly common way of producing a artist’s studio is converting a garage. Here, the present garage door opening permits easy access to the exterior. Other adjustments might include including skylights (I like the way they exposed the beams), HVAC and drywall on the interior. This studio makes it crystal clear that storage is an important concern.

Dave Adams Photography

Based upon the art one generates, the height of the space is important. Notice in this case the way the walls on the left is greater than the outside wall on the right, thanks to it being closer to the summit of the roof. This means that some fairly tall canvases can be installed to benefit from the extra room. Note also the skylights, the track lighting and the terrace access.

Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect

Similar to the previous example, but a tiny bit more intimate, is this studio with skylights, track lighting and sliding-door access to outside.

Canyon Construction

I would wager this generously sized studio faces north. Not only does this glass wall bring in plenty of light, but it frames a stunning view. I understand what I would paint!

RDM Architecture

I would also wager that those windows bring about some north light, though a bit western facing, given the sunset creating its way in. This little studio also contains some pendant lighting and a ceiling fan.

RDM Architecture

From the exterior, we can see the artist’s studio’s wing on the right. A little chimney exhaust is visible on the outside wall, maybe to get a kiln or another heating supply. If the former, it points to an important thought for a pottery studio: how to put in a kiln. Given the sort of fuel and also the temperatures necessary to fire plaster to rock-hard durability, an artist might have some issues installing a kiln in your home, based on the local authority. My wife trekked into the suburbs to use a raku kiln since it was close to impossible to own one in town.

RDM Architecture

On the opposite side of the same studio is an outdoor area with a few covered material storage in particular, long planks of wood. If you are seriously interested in an artist’s studio, then it’s good to think outside the box, if you will, and consider adjacent spaces as well.

To me, the perfect artist’s studio has immediate access to an outdoor room which would also be utilized for creating art. In good weather, this outdoor space could act as a place to paint, throw pottery, what have you; a link to nature and the elements is important in creating art. The retractable doors of the garage/shed make this building ideal for working indoors and out.

Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, PLLC

This last example shows an outdoor space can also be designed to a house to be used even in inclement weather. This studio can be expanded to the covered space near it just by opening the garage door, which also has glass to get natural light.

Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, PLLC

The view from the outdoor space then becomes just like a photograph frame, providing the artist plenty of inspiration.

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