22 October 2012

At long last: completing the shop

On or about April/May 2010 shortly before or after the birth of Aven, the birth of our new shop began. When we bought this house (or when we shopped for a new house) we were always looking for either a shop space or a large enough yard to accommodate a shop for Abe's woodworking and business.  Our old house had a tiny shop and we knew we needed new space.  The shop at the Ellis St. house had promising potential.  It was two stories and much larger with better access to the parking area and the alley for unloading/loading tools, supplies and finished work.  We soon realized that the project would entail much much more work than we had anticipated.  

Not only was the shop leaning over into the alley (mostly due to the fact that there were three large doors, one on the yard side, one on the alley and a roll up garage door that opened to the parking area), but there were other multiple cut outs in the woodworking siding that would be nearly impossible to patch or find matching woodwork for.  The ceiling would need to be raised to accommodate easier use of plywood and long sticks in the shop space and there was no existing electrical of any kind.  So, we (and when I say "we" I mean Abe, Kevin, Rob and other friends and relatives who pitched in- including occasionally me when I wasn't nursing a baby, watching her or working) set to work on restoring/renovating this space.

pre-work April 2010

April 2010 (see Hay loft above)- now a window

notice the angle of the shop, the lean and the cut out spaces and graffiti

wonderful old sliding door that was massively heavy

Abe & Kevin set to work by building a stem wall on the parking area and cutting out the framing and siding on the bottom to build the base of this wall

next began framing in the other walls where the sliding doors were since there was no framing at all

then came winter and we had managed to sheet the entire building and Abe installed windows 

(these were before the above) these pictures were taken right before Christmas 2010- framing the yard side of the wall & installing windows

from inside the shop, new windows (from the ReStore) and rolls of insulation yet to be installed

the new ceiling raised to about 10 feet with all new flooring for the "loft"

all dried in for the winter, papered and windows installed

still trying to figure out the alley side door/entrance (we wanted to have an easy access for materials and for moving furniture and cabinets in and out)

inside fully insulated, electrical installed, lighting (I helped on that), dry-walled, painted and moved in!

The shop gets some siding & trim

alley side doors installed and trim installed around the shop

fully sided (fall 2011), outside light can be turned on

siding on all 4 sides (shingles above to match the house)

September 2012, painted on all sides and gutters and small back deck on yard side

view from the alley

changed the lighting on the parking side and skipped the paint on the eves in favor of raw shingles, fully painted, gutters and finished on the outside!


It is a victory.  It sort of feels like it has been a project for more than 2 1/2 years but it is also a real accomplishment considering where we came from.  I am especially proud of the careful attention to detail that Abe put into helping the shop match our house and feel like it has always been here.  Although we didn't end up doing all the work ourselves (time, money, difficulty of doing a large project like this with having a child and working full time) I can proudly say that our hands were a part of every aspect of this shop and especially when it came to the vision.  Thanks to all those who volunteered their time to help on various projects with us and thanks to those who gave us a great deal on their work to help us accomplish this awesome project.

Now, I just have to submit all of this to American Bungalow and get it published :)

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