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studio design help needed
Old 26th July 2003
  #1
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Stick's Avatar
 

studio design help needed

Ok, so I'm in need of your immense experience and creativity. I saw you guys do some cool ideas for a guy's studio space awhile back, but it was a little different than this.

So, I'm thinking of building a pro project studio in my garage. I'm a producer/writer/programmer/mixer. So, for me it's much more about the control room than the tracking space. I will however, need a booth where I'll do mostly vocals, but also acoustic guitars, guitar amps, and in a pinch drums (but obviously I don't want a big tracking room to really do them "right"). It's your basic 20'x20' box, totally unfinished, cement floor, and pretty good ceiling height (Around 10' for most, with an area in diagram's upper left corner where it goes way up... 2 stories worth.

As it's a residential area, and my wife stays at home with my son, isolation is crucial, both to and from the house and to and from the neighbors.

I work in ProTools, and at the moment, all in the box, no console (but of course, as $$ permits, my analog racks will be growing). My rig, with my MIDI controller keyboard and speakers included fits in a box about 9'x12', but that doesn't include space behind me for a couch or anything that'd I'd like. The window to the tracking area can be to my front or off to either side... front is best, then my left, then my right. No soffit speakers now, but wouldn't mind the option down the road. I want a machine closet near the front of the room, but outside the walls, for my 3 CPUs and hard drives, and whatnot that's cooled with the same A/C system as the rooms.

I'd like a small lounge/entry area, so that when you come in the space from the outside you're not walking right into the control room.

So, I'm looking for good ideas and what not to do in regards to room sizes/shapes, isolation issues (floating floor? double walls? ceiling height and slope? windows? natural light? etc.). Oh, and there's that whole money thing... less is better. I think my total budget is going to have to be around $40K.

And one other possibility that I'd love input on... I may be able to build a free standing structure in the back yard to contain the studio. Could I do it for that kind of $$? Would the advantages outweigh the loss of yard space?

On the diagram... the garage door is at the bottom. The door on the left side doesn't exist yet, so it could be moved. The door on the right is to the house, and the box on the right is where the washer and dryer and water heater are. They need to stay, but be closed off from the studio area.

Any thoughts, wisdom, warnings and financial contributions are welcome and much appreciated.

-stick
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 26th July 2003
  #2
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davemc's Avatar
 

A couples of questions do you really need to do drums?
If not then you can cut down on the amount of sound proofing.
I gather you are using it for playback now, is it too loud now from outside.
Are you recording your own stuff?
Do you need a seperate booth at all? or just a couple of gobo's.
If you isolate the computer noise it is probably easier as a singer/songwriter to set the mic up in front of the console.
Then running backwards and forwards.

Its not a big space and cutting chunks out for an ISO booth you might not need.
Old 26th July 2003
  #3
Òhh boy, one more...
check this out Recording Studio Design
This is the BEST resource on the net. And John is very, very knowledgable, friendly and helpful!
Old 27th July 2003
  #4
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Couldn't the laundry room be the machine room as well? That way you can think of the whole garage for your recording and mixing areas. Isolation needs floating everything and MASS.
Old 27th July 2003
  #5
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Thanks for the replies guys...

Dave: well, I'm a crappy singer, so the need for a mic in front only extends to rough demos, and once in a while some BGVs. And yeah, I'm not sure I need to assume I'll need to do drums, and I suppose, once in a while is something that can be worked around. However, I'm pretty sure an iso room is a must, even with the CPU noise controlled, I hate working for a long time (tracking a record) in headphones.

Jeronimo: What a great resource. I should've found that. Thanks much.

Drumsound: That's a good idea, to use the laundry as the machine room... the wife would like the air conditioned laundry room too!

An update: it's looking like if we get the house, the better way to go will be to build a "guest house" that will add value to the property, rather than mess up the gargage. It'll be built to be a studio, so room shapes and stuff are up for grabs, and the isolation from the house is way better than in the garage (which is actually under the master bedroom...). But while we scrape together those pennies, I may have to work out of the 4th bedroom... not so ideal, but should be worth it in the long haul.

Anybody with a big budget need a producer (or mixer, or programmer, or ProTools editor, or floor sweeper)? HA!

Again, thanks for the help...
stick
Old 28th July 2003
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
If the space is only 20x20 I'd go for the biggest room you can possibly make and have a 5x7 iso booth or maybe a little bit bigger. If you try and make it smaller you'll run into all kinds of problems with standing waves and space. Who wants to work in a 10x10 control room and record drums in a different 10x10 room? Not I.
Old 28th July 2003
  #7
The studio design site is very cool, While I normally discourage it, cross posting here AND there might be the best way to go.

Old 28th July 2003
  #8
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Stick,

The higher the ceiling the better.......... but 20 x 20 is not a good room ratio -

The idea of utilizing the laundry area for rack space is a great one - as long as no one does laundry while you're using the gear........ 60 cycle motor "noise" is a pain.......

The biggest challenge (opportunity) i see is fitting everything you want inside a 20' square footprint.

A small iso booth (with good acoustics) can fit in a footprint of about 5x8....... and a small lounge within maybe an 8 x 10 - (you don't wany to feel like you're in a closet - and even this is quite tiny) Take what's left and make it work.

I checked out that other site- and there really is some great info there - those people are very knowledgable,,,,,,,

They should help bunches........

Rod
Old 28th July 2003
  #9
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Jay: Yeah, that's pretty much the direction I'm heading... small iso is fine. I really don't mind a dry recording space for the stuff I'm doing )in this case "no sound" is much better than "small room sound". And since it's usually me in the CR mixing or doing production on my own, it's all about the control room.

Jules: yeah, that's a great site... I've only read through half of one of the forums, but I've got enough ideas and links to get me well on my way. I see those guys are really big on soffit mounting speakers.... what's the opinion over here? I'm using 1031s, old Monitor Ones and Moniton Twos (the 3-way midfield version).

Thanks,
stick
Old 29th July 2003
  #10
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dbluefield's Avatar
 

Hey Stick,

Good thing you found John Sayers site. Also pick up a copy of Jeff Coopers book "building a recording studio" -- great pictures and concepts explained. I got mine from http://www.elderly.com/
Also Philip Newells book "project studios - a more professional approach" is a great read for common pitfalls and considerations.
I just downloaded Smartdraw yesterday at John Sayers advice - it's great and simple to use. I just posted a picture I drew above under the basement dwellers subject line.

I think you would be smart to build a guest house studio. It will solve all of your isolation issues as well as be convertible to other uses any possible owners. Just do a simple kitchen/galley and bathroom and you will have a kick as place to record and have clients over.

I think you could have the exterior frame roughed in/sided/roofed for about 7K. I built my barn for about that a few years back. You can be your own contractor (if it suits you)-- poor the concrete slab, and then get a single carpenter to raise/build the structure. Additional initial expense will come in the form of getting the main power line to the structure and tying into septic/sewer, as well as water source. I would say that could be done for about 2k for the mains and 2k for the drains. Maybe about 1k for the water source. Interior wiring/plumbing/heat A/C will easily nudge torwards 10k depending on how much you do yourself.

With the building frame done, you then can concentrate on floating your studio within that structure. You should, of course go fo a vaulted ceiling to maximise the volume needed for studio work.

If you make the galley/bathroom with windows (which you should for resale IMO) you can concentrate on true isolation of your control room and tracking room. I would do one nice control room, one equipment closet, and one nice tracking room -- all those things would be convertible to a bedrooms/walk-in closets for any possible next owners -- they could cut in windows if needed. Have the bathroom off a hall before you enter the studio and it would be configurable as a "master suite." You would then only need to go to the expense of "soundproofing" the control room and tracking room. Avoid small booths ala F.Alton, because larger rooms are way more flexible in terms of use and configuration.

The studio construction inside the building can be done ala Carte as time/budget permits. They great thing about new construction is the time you don't have to spend retrofitting to an existing structure. And if you really come up with a kick ass plan it will benefit you in more ways than budget. Renovating is often more costly than building.

Best,

Mack
Old 30th July 2003
  #11
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Stick's Avatar
 

Mack:
Thanks for the great response... you're definately good confirmation of what I was thinking. I'm sure the "guest house" approach is a better one, so now it's just to find (and afford) a house and lot big enough here in LA. I'm actually thinking that unless the money suddenly comes flowing in (hey, ya never know!), I'll probably go the simple route, and leave out any plumbing stuff... that seems like a lot of extra expense. And my usual clients/players are more like friends, so having them run in the house to "rest" is ok. But then again, perhaps it's worth it to "do it right the first time" and make it as "pro" as I can manage.

I wish I could do a lot of it myself, but again, unless the money flows I won't have the luxury of the time to do it (not to mention the "learn to do it part", as I've got no experience building so big) because I'll have to continue generating mortgage payments. (I do own a circular saw! But that's about it.) And, I rather pay an expert to get it done right...

Yeah, John's site is great. I'm learning a lot about his approach. I'm liking the soffit mounting thing, but not sure how to deal with multiple monitors (mid fields, near fields x2). Of course, if I get my main monitors sounding that good, maybe I don't need more than one. Oh, but a nice pair of Ausbergers in the wall would be so cool (again the money thing.... ACK!).

Anyway, at the moment plans to move are on hold... just found out... kid #2 in the oven! Woo hoo!

Peace,
stick
Old 30th July 2003
  #12
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dbluefield's Avatar
 

Congrats on the expected arrival. I've got two little ones here. Nice to have some tikes’ around

As for the soffit mounting -- I wouldn't bother. The real issue is a generally workable acoustical space and the monitors you can trust. Michael Wagner's room sounds great in his small "guesthouse" outside Nashville (I was lucky enough to attend the gearslutz BBQ a few weeks back). His entire building might be just the kind of prototype to consider. Partly, I think it's the Adams monitors he's using. He's got 5 of them in a music surround configuration and the room sounds awesome! And given his credits I think that you could say that good work can be done without the expense and time in making doghouses.

As for the construction, I'd definitely do a bathroom/small kitchen. You don't have to do the work yourself, and may be able manage the sub-contracting yourself.

Permitting will be easier for a "guest house" -- I wouldn't tell anyone of your "studio plans" unless they are really cool neighbors. Even then-- better to build a soundproof "home office" and keep your work to yourself.

People automatically assume you have to permit everything - not true - depends on local codes; in my location any homeowner can do their own building without permitting, but upon resale they might have a problem or two upon inspection and re-sale. The real goal is to build well and safely, which unfortunately the inspectors don't always seem to be helpful in that regard.

Most permits are simply tax-notification devices. If you can legally do without permits and build well --avoid them, but that said you are residing in a very heavily legislated part of the country--so you will probably have to pull permits -- and they will be all over your “guest house” like flies on dog-doo.

So all things considered I would hire a superb general contractor to get the thing raised and roughed out, with all plumbing/electrical roughs complete --and then -- stop, re-assess, and finalize the interior construction on your own timeline. If you take it in stages, it might not be so daunting. But studios are daunting, and that’s half the fun.

Having a separate livable quest house definitely does add value to property, in most cases -- especially in LA where space is at a premium -- not to mention you can rent it out.

Best,

Mack
Old 30th July 2003
  #13
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that just because you rough out for a kitchen and bath doesn't mean you have to finish them, at first. My feeling is that if you are going to build from the ground up, why not have roughs for future bathroom kitchen needs?

Focuss on the studio part first and you can get around to the kitchen/bath at some later date. After you get sick of "your buddies" running into the house, and leaving beer bottles everywhere, you might get motivated to work on the kitchen/bath....he he. Electrical issues will be some of the first things to tackle on the studio side -- like clean power and grounding.


Old 30th July 2003
  #14
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Stick's Avatar
 

Mack:
Again, good advice... thanks.

The whole permit/code issues here in LA are still somewhat foggy to me. But I think you're right, the way to go is to get the structure permitted as a guest house, but not explain the studio use. But, because I'll be running my business from there, the LA city needs to know for business tax purposes... but I'm told that the two divisions don't really care what the other is doing, just so they each get their money. So much to know to pull this all off.

And yeah, you're right, it is daunting, but I can already feel how gratifying it will be to power up and mix something in my own "real" room.

Thanks again,
stick
Old 30th July 2003
  #15
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Stick
I see those guys are really big on soffit mounting speakers.... what's the opinion over here? I'm using 1031s, old Monitor Ones and Moniton Twos (the 3-way midfield version).
Don't even bother. Those speakers aren't designed to be soffit mounted. The added expense and hassles aren't even close to being worth it. Maybe if you had something huge, like a pair of Urei 809's or 811's. The 809's I had only sounded "right" in soffits. When I moved out of that space and had them free standing they lost a good chunk of the low end. I ended up selling them and getting the Wackie 824's.
Old 30th July 2003
  #16
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Stick's Avatar
 

Yeah, that's sorta what I thought, but those guys over there are soffiting (is that a word?) everything, claiming it works wonders. Maybe because many of the rooms they're talking about are really small... I don't know. That's one of those things that I wish I could try out with my speakers before I commit to the expense and hassle of designing the room with soffits in mind. Or, if there are great advantages to having a pair of speakers that really work well soffit mounted... I could get some new ones. I don't like the Alesis pairs at all, but each is useful for a different range. If one set could do it all... that would be the deal. And, maybe in a well designed and build room, any of these would sound good. Questions....
Old 30th July 2003
  #17
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Stick,

One thing to keep in mind is that once you soffit - you create a lot of re-work if down the road you decide to change direction and go with a larger monitor.

It's not too very bad to install a smaller one - although i always thought it looked sort of funky when finished - but opening it up is another issue altogether.

The biggest question in my mind - if i were considering this - would be -

What are the chances that what i have now is what i want in the future?.

It would not be a whole lot more work down the road to add soffit mounted monitors (if you built a soffit that is) than it would be to change them out with larger ones.

I don't see what the big rush is...................

Just one man's point of view..........

Rod
Old 31st July 2003
  #18
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Neddy Seagoon's Avatar
 

Re: Permits, I just finished building a home/studio in a LA/Orange County and I can tell you you need the right permits to change a roll of toilet paper here. It can be quite frustrating. Also do NOT mention guesthouse. Most residential areas are zoned single family only. There are many other restrictions you have to be wary of also. I could not built my control room with no windows ("but inspector it's just a really big closet!") despite the fact it has concrete walls, floor and ceiling built within a conventional wood frame house, which raised no questions at all. The regulations seem to be pretty arbitrary and are enforced by er... hard to phrase tactfully...by somewhat indifferent government employees. Do not look for any help in that direction.

Overall I would look for a place already built that can be can be converted with the least amount of effort.

Re: Soffit mounted mains. With recent improvements in mid and nearfields, big mains are now more than ever just a tool to impress clients. If you must have them cut the hole, cover it with grill cloth with a Westlake logo, throw in some Mackies with a sub and most clients will never know the difference.

Is my cynicism starting to show?
Old 31st July 2003
  #19
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Stick's Avatar
 

So Neddy, did you actually call yours a "recording studio"? My impressions have been that running a professional studio (albeit my personal one) was a tough sell to the permit/zoning/tax people here in LA. But I've also heard that the city really likes people who work from home... less traffic on the roads. (On a newbie side note, where does one actually go, or call to figure out what permits I'll need to pull such a thing off, whether converting the garage or building a new building?) So, you're saying that I should try to find a existing, suitable, permitted guest house (or other structure... like what, I don't know) and build into that... that'll definately narrow the search parameters down to a really tough find.

What's the thinking on "non-permitted" building/improvements? Seems like half the houses we see have something that's built but not permitted, like a finished family room in the garage, or a room addition, or whatever. Is it possible to build (assuming the neighbors don't turn you in, I guess) and still run a business (paying local business taxes from that address) out of that building? Not real keen on that route, but I need to know the ups and downs of all the options.

Hmmmm.... guess it's a good thing the money's not there yet... don't know what I'm doing.
Old 1st August 2003
  #20
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

People,

One of the things i do in life is review of documents and plans to assure "code compliance"

The building codes are pretty strict, 1st off - building inspectors are required to assure that structures conform to the MINIMUM STANDARDS that the codes require.

When it comes to residential construction - there is no recognizition of recording studio rooms.

All habitable spaces within a residential building are required to meet certain requirements - natural light being one of them.

If you introduce something totally foreign to that building use group - the inspector's hands are tied.

It's a pity - but a reality none the less.

That is why - when clients of mine desire studios in their homes - i design (basically) sound proof "doors" for their windows.

It's a pain in the butt - and certainly not as good as what i do for a professional studio - but is an unfortunate part of the life we live.

But you cannot blame the inspectors for doing their job. That is the oath they took when they accepted the position, it's what they were trained to do when they studied for the test - it is their job.

One other thing - just so maybe you have a wee bit more understanding - most all of the basic building codes - or state statutes adopting codes - FORBID building inspectors from telling anyone how to do something - they do not want them helping with design, nor helping with understanding how to do something in accordance with the codes. Compliance is their only job.

The reasons for that are as follows: Suppose there are 20 different ways to do a particular job - obviously one of them is going to be the least expensive - and one the most expensive - with the rest lying somewhere in between.

Shy of doing estimates on all of the possibilities (which we actually do on large projects) one picks the direction to head based on personal experiences - and if an inspector (and there are cases of this) helps you to do something - or requires you to do something - that winds up costing you a lot of money - and you can prove this through design experts and hard quotes - the inspector is then opening himself and the municipality that he works for - to law suit.

So when you think of the inspectors - and what they do - and the grief they cause you - cut them a little slack - they really don't have a choice in the matter.

Oh - by the way - no i am not an inspector - i am a project manager and an engineer. I work in the private sector - Hell - I'm one of the guys who curses the inspectors for busting our agates.

Sincerely.

Rod
Old 1st August 2003
  #21
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dbluefield's Avatar
 

As Neddy said above, you might want to find an existing guesthouse Stick -- then build what you want, and don't pull a paperclip.

I feel for you guys on the left coast and the people's republic of (Insert North East State/City/Town here).

Here in <aheem, hmphph, cough> the deeeep South, appraisers, inspectors, and udder guvment O-fishy-Als keeps to themselves mostly if they know what's good for themselves.

*******
More below somewhat O.T. :


Seriously, the New York/California mentality of excessive local property intrusion will hopefully stay out of greater Atlanta. Unfortunately people from NY, New England and California live with so much government regulation that they come to expect it I suppose, and they are then baffled why the rest of the country doesn't follow suit.

I'm originally from Upstate NY, which has stupidly overly taxed itself into the worse state economy in decades, as California has apparently as well. In the last 5 yrs Eastman Kodak has moved many, many jobs to Atlanta. Wonder why? Many NY folks would like to quietly make NYC it's own tax burden like the District of Columbia.

I can say honestly that I have only pulled one permit in over 8 years of renovating, including every major upgrade & several additions. All work has been performed to code. All work has been done safely. Not to disparage code inspectors, but it aint exactly rocket science, reading the codes.

The one permit I did pull was for upgrading my mains box. That said, the inspector simply came and said that my ductwork was too close to the box and left. I asked do I need to do anything? He said "no." That said, my county electric membership company was very helpful -- they moved my pole for me, brought out new underground wire to be re-laid, all at no expense to me.

People say you can't fight city hall, but with a little involvement in the process, I have found local politics to be very rewarding. We have gotten several dumbasses kicked out of office, lowered property taxes, capped property taxes if the state re-assess’ higher (county will lowers it's proportion accordingly), built new parks, and stopped plenty of gready cheap gold tooth developers from building crap and leaving. I even got the county tax-assessor lower my appraisal for 3 years because he saw the extent of the renovations I was dealing with.

I guess I'm saying -- Expect more from your Government Officials! People love to beotch about the state of affairs, but they rarely get up and collect a few signatures, drive and talk to neighbors, attend a few zoning hearings. Local involvement can achieve positive results, and it's not really so complicated, or time consuming.
Old 1st August 2003
  #22
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db,

I won't speak for other states - but in CT - no amount of paperwork -petitions - zoning and town meetings will change it- and that for the simple reason that it is out of their hands.

The state laws regulate this - the inspectors work at the whim of the State - and at their pleasure -

there are no "special rules" in this state for anyof the towns or municipalitites......... some building officials in CT do try that "well in MY town" bulls**t - but when the state catches wind of it they pull their chain up sharp.

So it's one set of rules - applies to everyone - and any official who does not comply - has his liscense pulled and can no longer be an official.

I do not (personally) like the fact that officials even exist - but they do and are here to stay - so we deal with them.

Besides - when you get into the big stuff (around here big stuff is around 750 million) it is sort of like fly sh*t on the windshield....... an annoyance - but a small one.

Have a great day,


Rod



(by the way - my brother lives in Georgia - he feels the same way you do - and all of his home improvements he did him self.)
Old 9th October 2004
  #23
One with big hooves
 
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bump
Old 9th October 2004
  #24
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Stick's Avatar
 

Hey Jay,
Thanks for reviving this thread...

As you can see by my profile, I've since moved from LA up to the hills outside of Sacramento. We're just outside of Auburn, about an hour from Lake Tahoe. The space issue for the studio is not a problem anymore, as we bought a house on 1.4 acres... great trees... oaks, pines, and a few redwoods. We're glad to be out of LA and now somewhere a little more, shall we say, sane?

We bought a fixer house which we'd like to get shaped up before starting on the studio, so I've been working out of the third bedroom, which isn't ideal, but it doesn't sound that bad, and I seem to have become mainly a mixer, so I'm not doing a lot of tracking.

Anyway, looks like the studio will be a separate building, about 17'x24', with a decent sized control room and a smaller booth. I'm still fuzzy on the permit situation, and most of our interior renovation we're not bothering with permits... the contractor doing the work wasn't concerned about it. Because the studioi is a new structure, I'm sure we'll have to permit it, but we'll see what we'll actually "call" it. Probably home office, as guest house requires even more land than I have.

So, I've learned a lot about studio construction and design (John Sayer's site is great), and realized that I don't know much... because I won't be tracking drums, my isolation factor won't need to be crazy good, and the neighbors aren't real close, so, hopefully it'll be doable with the cash left over after fixing up the house. Yeah, right.

So, if anyone's in the area stop in and check out the building madness...

stick
Old 12th October 2004
  #25
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roughly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jeronimo
Òhh boy, one more...
check this out Recording Studio Design
This is the BEST resource on the net. And John is very, very knowledgable, friendly and helpful!

Cool link, thanx - more fun reading
Old 12th October 2004
  #26
I am not very good at drawing but here is a basic sketch for you!

Your milage may vary!
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Old 12th October 2004
  #27
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Stick
I'm still fuzzy on the permit situation, and most of our interior renovation we're not bothering with permits... the contractor doing the work wasn't concerned about it. Because the studioi is a new structure, I'm sure we'll have to permit it, but we'll see what we'll actually "call" it. Probably home office, as guest house requires even more land than I have.
If you call the new structure an "artist studio" you very well may be able to build the building basicly as you might a "guest house" [bathroom, small kitchen, etc.] with out some of the hassle. I just went through something similar with a small town in suburban Massachusetts... if I had wanted to build a McMansion [5000sq ft. house on 5200 sq. ft. of land] they would have been more than cool... but I wanted to turn a barn that was falling down behind the house into a garage [it's a really long story... it wasn't voluntary].

The biggest problem you're going to encounter is going to be with putting in a bathroom in the second building. While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a legislative nightmare, from what I understand, it's a walk in the park next to the Peoples Republic of California.

Your two biggest hurdles will be convincing the zoning board that you're not trying to build apartment buildings, and making them believe that you're not trying to build an automobile assembly plant employing thousands in the backyard.

You will probably have to go in front of a zoning commission to explain that this isn't living space [though if you're zoned two family, and I'm gonna guess you're not, this won't be a hassle], that it is being built to facilitate a "hobby" [unless you're zoned for a residential business, be really careful not to let on that you could possibly actually try to do real "work" in the space]. You will have to show them the building plans [so if you have "interior shell" details they will go a long way toward convincing them that this isn't a living space, but it may work against you in the "commercial enterprise" aspect of the building.

Bring documentation of your art [this can be tricky as you might run into a whole new set of nightmares with the appearance of a commercial enterprise on residential land] to show that this will be used as an "artist space". Give them a CD of some obviously "non-commercial" music, maybe something along the lines of "atmospheric" kind of pot smoking **** they can groove on after smoking their afternoon fatty.

They will invariably counter that this might still be used as "living space" when you leave the property [and they're right]... the best way I found to counter that is to say "yeah very possibly, but we're dealing with the probable at the moment, and I would have to say the probablity of that is pretty low [make up and give a reason for the low probablity here]... and in all reality with the space we have now, we could get 60 bunk beds, buy a whole lot of Nike sneakers, run a web programming cult, then do a mass suicide next time a comet appears... but it's not bloody likely" [most zoning boards seem to remember that incident (and I'm sure the CA ones remember those idiots!!)... the line worked for me, it might work for you... if all else fails it might be worth a shot].

Get a lawyer. A local lawyer. Preferably a local lawyer that knows everyone, like they grew up in the town and is "elbow rubbin' drinkin' buddies" with all the town's officials. This helps in no small way. Seriously helps in no small way. Unfortunately, small towns/suburbs ain't the big city... which means that "green grease" is highly ineffective... but a well connected "townie" is indeed the ticket.

Pull permits for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!!!!! [including the work you're doing now!!]. Show the town you are really into A) adding to the value of the community; B) respect the town's authority. Realize that it is only the needle dicked, power hungry, otherwise insignificant, sorryassed little people who strive to sit on this little hotbed of power... you must massage their egos if you want to get done what you need done.

The biggest bitch is going to be hooking that building up to septic. If your town is anything like the one in which I live, you're going to encounter an entirely new breed of numbskull when you meet the "board of health/conservation commission". These morons seem to be from an entirely different world... it's about 100 light years to the left of the planet "Tree Hugger". Residents of this astral plane have an odd speech pattern. So first acknowledging that the civilation of man, and the creation of fire are all killing the planet at the beginning of your presentation will put them at ease. Be sure to explain that you moved to your present digs from the hell hole of LA so you could breath the fresh air and drink the sweet potable waters of the earth [especially the water thing as you're trying to get bathroom for the new structure!!].

If [spelled "w-h-e-n"] they suggest a 'composting toilet', tell them that you have researched it greatly but have had to rule it out as they cost around $12,000 USD. Composting toilets are the darling of these fukking idiots... the two problems is that they cost about as much as a good RADAR, and that you have to empty the fukking things on a regular basis. If you have farm land and can use the fertilizer.... great... however if you're not a huge fan of the unique aroma of human feces that have been sitting around a while [a.k.a. the stench of the apocalypse], avoid these things at all cost.

Now... if you have some sort of machine room for the stuff with the fans, you can pretty much do all your tracking in your control room, which may minimize the need for a "tracking booth" that will be too small for any real tracking. With a "fresh build" you have soooooo many more options than trying to fit this into an existing building that even if you had to wait an extra year or two to do all the planning, permits, yada, yada, yada it's going to be so much cooler in the long run it'll be worth the extra agita.

So yourself a serious favor... consult a professional about "shell dimensions". The two dimensions you have mentioned in previous posts will both be nightmares. You can do all kinds of treatments, adding band-aids to cover miscellaneous bullet holes and head wounds, but they're just band-aids when with a new structure you can indeed optimize what the hell it is you're doing while only adding like 15% to the overall construction budget... but at the end will have a functional design that will make the work sooooooo much easier it's not even something I would consider doing otherwise.

If it were my structure... I would start with something like a 15' ceiling in which I would build a lower inner shell ceiling... but the outter shell ceiling would be higher [15'-ish]... I would plan on building a "room in a room" that is floated [this will only add about 150% to building a room without the room in a room feature], this will allow you to tailor the volume of the room for low frequency shell advantages while controlling **** like reflection patterns as well as other non-bass frequency management schemes...

I would also contemplate adding a second floor to the structure for a studio office. Once you've poured a foundation and built the first floor, it's only like another $10-15k to throw another floor on the building... and really bro, as someone who has a "home office" in the house, if you can put your office in another building outside of your home, you're gonna be a happier person. If you can't get "broadband" internet access... satellite DSL isn't too terrible an option.

Best of luck with it... on the bright side, I don't think I've added more than $3-400,000 to what you were originally intending to spend... and hey, it'll increase the resale value of your property tremendously... so it might be quite worth further examination.

Peace.
Old 12th October 2004
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Stick's Avatar
 

Fletcher...
Thanks for the wisdom and advice. MUCH appreciated.

The local lawyer idea is probably a great one. And yeah, the composting toilet is a definate no-go.

When I mentioned the dimensions, that was the outer shell. My current "floor plan" has the space divided up. The rooms still might be whack dimensionally, but they're better than a big box. I'll see if I can attach it. It's based on what I've gleaned from John Sayer's site, but I still know that I don't know much.

Ceiling-wise, I'm thinking I'd like it to be a long slope from the front to the middle of the control room and then back down from there... so the front half of the building has normal 8 foot ceilings, up to about 13 feet in the middle of the control room... not sure how feasable that is cost-wise for me, but seems like that big a space in the CR would sound nice.

Anywhoo... guess I better get on the whole permit/zoning track so this doesn't take 17 years.

Again, thanks,
stick


BTW, Jules, your design idea was truly inspiring. Was that a cow or a dog or a horse or some nuclear waste mutant mammal?
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Old 15th October 2004
  #29
Lives for gear
 
jtienhaara's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Stick
BTW, Jules, your design idea was truly inspiring. Was that a cow or a dog or a horse or some nuclear waste mutant mammal?
It's the Behringer Yappy Chihuahua 9000, with 2 reverb tails, and it's carrying your studio on its back. It doubles as a subwoofer.

(Sorry for the useless post, this is a great thread! )
Old 20th October 2004
  #30
Gear Nut
 
drummertom's Avatar
 

good luck

Stick,

Keep us up to date on your progress.
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