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Building new home, mostly studio, what type of building is best?
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FOURTHTUNZ
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29th March 2006
Old 29th March 2006
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Building new home, mostly studio, what type of building is best?

Hi, I'm in Bangor Maine, I've been recording for 2o years or so, the last 15 as a small studio business and I need to relocate
I have been in the research stage the last 2 months or so, and wow!
My eyes are blurry from reading , so I'll get right to it.

I am looking to build a home with a small loft, the studio being the important thing, in fact the whole downstairs can be studio. I already have the land, I think I'll be 150 feet from my nearest neighbor. I do not have alot to spend.$90K- $125k to start,but if I do it right from the start can I not finish rooms as money allows? I can do grunt work but do not have construction(willing to learn!) or design skills I will leave that to others. I would like a separate control room,drum/performance area a guitar closet,and bathroom, all downstairs. I think this is the minimum I would want to open with. I've been looking at 28*40 post and beam style with a 12*28 loft, with a cathedral ceiling over the rest of the space.
I'll go with whichever demensions work best. I have looked at cape style log homes made from cedar or post and beam, with hemlock 4*4's and 4*6's the style of home is not important to me, so before I start can you give me opinions about:

Is cedar better or worse than other materials?
Is a log home a bad idea? How about the loft for the bedroom and the cathedral ceiling for the drum room?
I was going to put this on a slab, better than a cellar?
Which demensions should I start with?

Thanks for any help!
daniel
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29th March 2006
Old 29th March 2006
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Matt Syson is offline
Hi
Sorry no suggestions about the building but just jealous on a number of points but wishing you all the best with this fantastic project.
Phoning around and visiting other studios may help formulate your ideas but a 'new build' is an enviable position to be in.
Matt S
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29th March 2006
Old 29th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson
Hi
Sorry no suggestions about the building but just jealous on a number of points but wishing you all the best with this fantastic project.
Phoning around and visiting other studios may help formulate your ideas but a 'new build' is an enviable position to be in.
Matt S
Matt, thanks! Good point about visiting other studios, I'm just trying to figure out where to start My budget won't build much of a house, say nothing of building a studio but I will forgo alot of ammenties to get the ground floor right
I haven't seen many studios that start out this way, mostly ones that move into existing buildings and the ones that are purpose built are much larger with mega budgets
Maybe I should post this in low end theory?
Peace
daniel
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29th March 2006
Old 29th March 2006
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Hey Daniel:

As your neighbor down in Northport,(Belfast area) I did the exact thing about 25 years ago. I built my studio with the recording room priority and living space above secondary. I am just now expandinng the living space. C'mon down and check it out sometime-it would be great to meet you. I'm away right now and will return early April. email me- bboege@liminmusic.com or phone 207-338-4252.

Good luck with it!

Bruce Boege
Limin Music
Northport, ME
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29th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB
Hey Daniel:

As your neighbor down in Northport,(Belfast area) I did the exact thing about 25 years ago. I built my studio with the recording room priority and living space above secondary. I am just now expandinng the living space. C'mon down and check it out sometime-it would be great to meet you. I'm away right now and will return early April. email me- bboege@liminmusic.com or phone 207-338-4252.

Good luck with it!

Bruce Boege
Limin Music
Northport, ME
Bruce,thanks so much, a very generous offer!! I'll be in touch, thanks!
daniel
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29th March 2006
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I'd check out John Sayers' forum on studio design and construction. Lots of knowledgeable people who can give you some direction.
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30th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradD
I'd check out John Sayers' forum on studio design and construction. Lots of knowledgeable people who can give you some direction.
Brad, your right it's got alot of info, most of it way over my head right now
I posted over there also, but seems like mostly rebuilds over there so far as I can tell.
I had hoped to find someone that had done this, and find out where they got their plans.
I plan on posting over there once I have more of this scoped out.
I'll also see what Sayers has for plans for this sort of thing. I'd like to hear more about what people think of his designs.
Know of any good but cheap designers
daniel
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30th March 2006
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I know what you mean. I'll be finishing a basement for studio purposes soon, and there is so much information that is very technical. For me, it also doesn't help that I'm not the handiest person. Good luck and I'm sure you'll find some people chiming in here who have done this.
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30th March 2006
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Hi Dan,
Personally, I would stay away from log construction. Too hard to change things later. Post and beam should work nicely for you. The frame of the P&B will support the structure. If you want to add on, you just take a chain saw to the insulated panels and your ready for expansion.
If you build on a slab, just make sure you use conduits to be able to get wires where you need them in the future.
Considering where you live, I would definately go with radient floor heating. It's easy to install and it's the best for tall ceilings.
You will of course, need an air system also. I would recommend an air exchanger to bring in fresh air in all year round.
Give me a call if you want some futher info.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FOURTHTUNZ
Is a log home a bad idea? How about the loft for the bedroom and the cathedral ceiling for the drum room?
I was going to put this on a slab, better than a cellar?
Which demensions should I start with?

Thanks for any help!
daniel
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30th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo
Hi Dan,
Personally, I would stay away from log construction. Too hard to change things later. Post and beam should work nicely for you. The frame of the P&B will support the structure. If you want to add on, you just take a chain saw to the insulated panels and your ready for expansion.
If you build on a slab, just make sure you use conduits to be able to get wires where you need them in the future.
Considering where you live, I would definately go with radient floor heating. It's easy to install and it's the best for tall ceilings.
You will of course, need an air system also. I would recommend an air exchanger to bring in fresh air in all year round.
Give me a call if you want some futher info.
Bongo, I will be giving you a call! For the last couple of weeks I've keeping notes of my favorites studios on gearslutz and yours was one of them
Very nice design, very functional without being too austerethumbsup
Thanks for being willing to share info!
daniel
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30th March 2006
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An igloo...
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31st March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richmondjames
An igloo...
Yeah, but then there's that one month of the year when the igloo would melt, what then, hummn
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31st March 2006
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31st March 2006
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There is a studio in Los Angeles called LA FX that is a home converted to a studio. They hava an API board and it is fantastic. It used to be the old NRG owned by Jay Baumgard. Their phone number is 818-769-5239, I believe Lex is the contact. I don't know their web address.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
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2nd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtstudi@pacbell
There is a studio in Los Angeles called LA FX that is a home converted to a studio. They hava an API board and it is fantastic. It used to be the old NRG owned by Jay Baumgard. Their phone number is 818-769-5239, I believe Lex is the contact. I don't know their web address.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Thanks for the info! I went to their site, looks like a nice setup!
Peace
daniel
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17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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Daniel,

I am by no means an expert on building homes, much less studios. But I recently have been watching a PBS series called "Building Green." The basic setup of the series is the host is building a home (huge - BTW) in California. Each episode covers building design and techniques and he goes out to various suppliers to highlight different products that are 'green' minded.

Anyhow, he's building a frame place, but it's all going up around bails of straw for the walls. It's pretty cool and amazingly affordable and energy efficient. Looks awesome too. You'd never think this is a straw-built house once it's finished. He shows how you can basically build about any structure with straw and because of how you finish the inside and outside it lasts forever!

I'm just thinking that since you're building from scratch, and cost is an issue, this might be something to seriously consider. It could reduce your cost on wood, insulation, etc. Plus you'd likely have a place that is easier to heat and cool, which would save on energy bills in the long run.

Some links you may find helpful.
| StrawBale.com
Straw bale construction | straw bale | straw bale houses | strawbale | straw bale homes
Episode Four: Straw Bales | Building Green TV

Short video with parts of the TV episode.


This might come from left field, but the show was inspiring to me. I've now been dreaming of the opportunity to do what you're doing now, but make it a straw built house with a rockin' studio!

Good luck and keep us updated in whatever you decide!
Baz
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17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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You could also go "rammed earth" like Randy Bachman did for his studio, here on the Gulf Islands, and build something that will also last forever.

BTO Studio

I'd even suggest you call John Vrtacic of Vrtacic Design. John had a hand in designing this studio, as well as many of the great studios here on the coast and even smaller project studios. His credits are fairly impressive. One thing about John, is he can work with almost any budget within reason. He's a very accommodating, helpful guy,even if just for some consultation.

Best of Luck. Should be fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirthought View Post
Daniel,

I am by no means an expert on building homes, much less studios. But I recently have been watching a PBS series called "Building Green." The basic setup of the series is the host is building a home (huge - BTW) in California. Each episode covers building design and techniques and he goes out to various suppliers to highlight different products that are 'green' minded.

Anyhow, he's building a frame place, but it's all going up around bails of straw for the walls. It's pretty cool and amazingly affordable and energy efficient. Looks awesome too. You'd never think this is a straw-built house once it's finished. He shows how you can basically build about any structure with straw and because of how you finish the inside and outside it lasts forever!

I'm just thinking that since you're building from scratch, and cost is an issue, this might be something to seriously consider. It could reduce your cost on wood, insulation, etc. Plus you'd likely have a place that is easier to heat and cool, which would save on energy bills in the long run.

Some links you may find helpful.
| StrawBale.com
Straw bale construction | straw bale | straw bale houses | strawbale | straw bale homes
Episode Four: Straw Bales | Building Green TV

Short video with parts of the TV episode.


This might come from left field, but the show was inspiring to me. I've now been dreaming of the opportunity to do what you're doing now, but make it a straw built house with a rockin' studio!

Good luck and keep us updated in whatever you decide!
#18
27th February 2008
Old 27th February 2008
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+1 strawbale.... especially if cost is a factor... but ESPECIALLY for a studio..

those wide bales make great insulation/isolation... i wish i had gone strawbale with my recent studio build (half way through my friend mentioned it, and i replied "that woulda been sweet, what the hell was i thinking!" too late for me )...

although with a loft style building it is mostly roof anyway (A-frame?)...

another good idea especially up north might be ICF walls (insulated concrete forms) .. they have many systems that are lego-ish (building blocks) - that even a semi-competent person could assemble .... also another good choice for insulation/isolation

gl
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27th February 2008
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AS soon as I saw the title I thought Strawbale! If I ever build from scratch that's my plan!
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#20
27th February 2008
Old 27th February 2008
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You can build something nice for 125K; just contract the project yourself. Contractors generally charge $90-$120 per square foot for basic buildouts. You can save yourself up to 40% by contracting the job yourself.

If you can keep it simple, you can build the place for around $60/sqft. That will give you over 2000 sqft of home. If you don't need a garage, leave it out. That gives you more room for the studio on the first floor.

Definitely go for a wood-framed home. The supplies are cheaper, and contractors generally have more experience in this area. This means that the work will be cheaper. Rules of thumb:
  1. Get at least 3 bids from sub-contractors on all phases of the project (Foundations, framers, plumbers, electrical, roofers, drywall, & HVAC).
  2. Buy the materials for building yourself.
  3. Never pay anyone until they finish the job
  4. Make sure that no trash gets buried on your property
  5. Make the contractor gives you good compaction on your subgrade
  6. Schedule a meeting between all of sub-contractors pre-construction. This will help them schedule around eachother.

If you do these things and stick to a simple plan, the house can be done in a few months. Get a couple of friends together and set up your own gear. Treat them to some cokes and a bucket of chicken afterwards

It's definitley possible. JUST DO IT.
#21
28th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djbrough View Post
Definitely go for a wood-framed home. The supplies are cheaper, and contractors generally have more experience in this area. This means that the work will be cheaper.
although i agree with everything else in the post, i do not agree with that... you can get bales for $2/ea - especially in quantity.. all yo do is stack, compress(maybe) and stucco, in and out... if you compare that to a standard framing.. the total cost is much cheaper, its already insulated, and it has a good mass.

gl
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28th February 2008
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Little pig, little pig, let me in...

what about long term sustainability? Decomposition, insects, what if it gets wet?

There's stacks of bales for temporary partitions, but for permanent walls, I'd be careful.

I'd be looking at maintaining a livable space that minimizes the "impact" of a studio in a home. My personal mental meanderings would have a bedroom suite / control room upstairs, with a window down into the main living area. The main living area would be a larger acoustical space. I'd build a cellar that would contain a machine room and the more fanciful concept would have a drum room with a a ceiling that is both treated, but with panes of glass that somehow allows site lines to band mates / performers in the main space and to the control room... that sounds cool to me. A couple of smaller closets downstairs to hold some amps, either remote amps only, or enough space to cram a performer in there too, again paned glass to the upstairs living room if it is possible without destroying sonics.
#23
29th February 2008
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strawbale has a great sustainability factor...

if i remember correctly the oldest American straw bale is somewhere on the maine (at least new england) coast = 150+ years old...!!

water and insects is a problem for any house.. have you ever seen a wood framed house get wet!!

if youre real worried about it and need sound proofing.. ICF is the way to go (concrete)... if you dont need soundproofing (150' is a good distance).. then go standard framed (western platform framing - technically)....

i think with all the glass youre talking about its going to up your costs considerably..

if I were you id consider this setup..
1. seperate mix upstairs sounds ok (although you will be looking down upon the minions)
2. vox box
3. amp closets
4 use the large room as a drum room (live room) .. everyone can play in there but only mic the drums... that large vaulted ceiling room would probably make a great sounding drum room... then you can clean it all out, push the couches out from the wall and have a nice living room... if you think youll ever sell the house in the future, you might want to consider resellability (at least a lil bit)

my 2 c (im prob up to 6c by now)

gl


sirthought had some good links to strawbale info .. here a quicklink to the strawbaleFAQ's : ยป Frequently Asked Questions | StrawBale.com
#24
1st March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOURTHTUNZ View Post
Is cedar better or worse than other materials?
Is a log home a bad idea? How about the loft for the bedroom and the cathedral ceiling for the drum room?
I was going to put this on a slab, better than a cellar?
Which demensions should I start with?
as the owner of a log home / studio i would definitely be careful of leakage into the neighborhood. cathedral ceiling means big, lively drum sound that will bounce and want to escape- especially if you have excess glass in the front "prow".

my website HAD a bunch of pictures until my host was hacked last week- there are a few up at:

MySpace.com - Dragonfly Recording Studio - HAYMARKET, Virginia - Rock / Pop / Indie - www.myspace.com/dragonflystudios

let me know if you have any questions. everyone loves the vibe!

-scott
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#25
15th March 2008
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If you actually research the straw route, you will see that concerns over decomposition, insects, moisture just aren't that big. The walls, when finished properly, don't ever break down.

I've seen some fancy architecture with nice windows and framed wall-seats... all with a straw bale foundation. And while the experience contractors have with this method may not be the same as with other methods, you find that most of it is really straight forward. Set the foundation, stack the bales, wrap with a type of chicken wire, route your electric, plaster or stucco. The inside walls can be stick-built construction for the studio application.

I've also dreamt of getting some land and building most of the house/studio underground with long sky lights and having the living quarters just be a single story above ground. Really save on the heating/cooling and sound isolation.
#26
27th May 2008
Old 27th May 2008
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If you are still following this thread....

Look into Ecoblock ECO-Block Energy Efficient ICF

I've done a couple of them...You build the forms from Styrofoam blocks that have plastic beams running through them. You assemble them like Legos. Rebar is fastened inside of them and then the walls are filled with concrete.

The forms remain in place as outer and inner insulation (you don't waste materials) and the plastic running through them can be used as wall studs for attachment of Drywall.
Electrical is run through channels that are dug out of the styrofoam.

The walls can be poured quite thick as needed. Construction is EASY and the insulation value is very high.

jmp
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