Monday, October 19, 2020

Hobby Studio Build: Part I

Hi All!

Back in June I had mentioned that I was planning to build a hobby studio on our property. Now that things have progressed apace, I thought I'd make an effort to chart it's construction through the blog as I've always had a vicarious thrill watching others with their game-room projects.

As a bit of background, our house, while great in many respects, is somewhat lacking in not having enough space for a dedicated hobby area (yeah, I know, first world problems). This is further underscored with me often hosting our gaming group's weekly gatherings, which involves using our dining room table, with a 5 x 8 blue foam 'WarBoard' as a topper. This is something I really enjoy doing, and the arrangement has been adequate over the years, but it's always been somewhat cramped and requires a bit of work to set-up and tear-down each time, especially for the bigger games.

We had considered finding another house which could better accommodate our needs, but, to be honest, we're just too picky. We really like our neighbourhood and the overall design of our existing home so it was next to impossible to find an alternative that was in our budget. So what we did instead was start exploring the idea of building a detached structure on our property that could serve as a hobby studio and additional storage. This way it would add value to our property, being it could also be used as a garage, and, better yet, would allow us to stay in place without the unknowns of a new home, a new neighbourhood and the pains of a move.

With this in mind I pulled out my measuring tape, paced-out the yard and started sketching a few ideas of what a studio might possibly look like. After I had an idea of what was possible, I secured a designer to provide  a set of professional drawings.



The plans have gone through a few revisions, but the core elements remain the same. It has a low pitched roofline so as to better blend with the look of our home, which is mid-century modern in design. The footprint of the studio is roughly 20x20, which should allow for a good sized gaming surface while still having enough space for storage. I also went with a bit higher wall height (9') to allow for taller shelving and, again, eke out a bit more storage. 

Once we had a set of plans to work from then the next step was to remove the two existing sheds that were on the proposed building site and source the trades for the work.  Thankfully, the sheds were quite well constructed and in good shape, so finding buyers didn't turn out to be too much of an issue.

The pre-existing sheds before removal.

Next step was to demolish the existing concrete pad and the bordering fence. 

The side yard, now clear of the sheds, is ready for the demolition. 

There was a several month gap where I waited for approval from the city to proceed with construction. This actually worked out well as it gave me extra time to line up the contractors (concrete, construction, electrical and roofing) and to ponder how we'd finish the structure (windows, cladding, etc.).

Once I received the green light from the city I had my concrete guys demo the site, make insulated and reinforced forms and then complete the concrete pour. I also had to get the power and telephone people in to temporarily take down some lines for our work, but it all went off without a hitch.

The bobcat skidsteer making short work of the old concrete and fence...

Note, we put in an in-ground power socket near the center of the floor so we wouldn't be tripping over cords for laptops or projectors while gaming.


The two black pipes on the right edge are for a possible future sink.

Scoring the concrete pad on its axis to reduce chances of later cracking.

Once the pad had set-up for 48 hours, we were ready to erect the prefabricated panels and roof joists for the base structure. This was a 3.5 man job (I was the .5). 

It's just like LEGO! The prefabricated parts arrive onsite.

Parts just trimmed off the sprue...




Finally the roof joists go up and the the electricians begin their work inside.


This space will (hopefully) house sliding patio doors leading out to the courtyard.


Access door to the studio.

Not shown here is the metal roof we had installed a few days after the main build. Now we're just waiting for the sliding patio glass doors and the main garage door and the structure will be sealed up. With COVID, the supply chain has many delays so we have to be patient. I hope to have an update showing their installation in the next few weeks. After that I'll schedule the building inspection and then start planning for the insulation and the interior. Wish me luck.

Have a great week everyone!

Curt, out.

46 comments:

  1. Superb project Curt, looking forward to seeing this progress.

    Cheers, Ross

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  2. Wow, looking great already! So that will be Challenge HQ for the coming years, awesome!

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    1. Thanks Sander. Yes, it just needs the crime lord observatory and sheaf of nefarious antennas sprouting from the roof.

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  3. Gosh that looks good! Nice to be able to access it from the road and that it was prefabricated. I brought everything in through the side passage and assembled it in January, luckily there was only a bit of snow! Looking forward to the next installment!
    Best Iain

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    1. Good gravy! That must of taken a lot of work Iain. I'd love to see what you constructed. Send me pics!

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    1. Yes, it's nice to be clear of the starting blocks finally.

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    1. Thanks Martin. Once this silliness has passed you should come for a Canadian gaming vacation. :)

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  6. Wow! That looks amazing..... I’ve been lucky enough to have a big garage to use, but it’s really too cold in the winter so I’m very envious of your new build!

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    1. Cheers Jamie. Well, it cold in there right now so I hope I can get the insulation in sometime in the next few months. It would be nice to enjoy it a bit during the winter, if possible.

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  7. Congrats on getting your project off the drawing board and into the real world mate! Really enjoying seeing it come into being. I'm sure it'll reward you with much enjoyment and good times in great company.

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    1. Thanks mate! I've very much looking forward to the day when I can host the guys in the new digs.

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  8. That’s luxurious!
    Happy gaming!

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    1. Yes, it is a great indulgence. Thanks Ratmaul.

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  9. Looks fab Curt, your very own Shed O War!

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    1. Thanks Ray. Ever since I saw Postie's setup I knew I had to get me one of those. :)

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  10. What a wonderful project. Just make sure the deadbolt operates from the inside and not the outside. My wife would lock me in just to keep track of me

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    1. Very good point Miles. I will have to put an emergency escape hatch on the roof. Then again, maybe the real problem will be her getting me out of there once its all set up. ;)

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  11. WOW! I've often thought that if I should have the ability, I would likely buy a couple sea containters & have them stacked, welded & insulated. From what I see, its going to be amazing. I notice you mentioned a sink. I take it a toilet/urinal may also be added to the mix? Or will the house be used for the abolutions?

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    1. Thanks Terry. You know, I was thinking of sea containers as well, but decided it wasn't worth the hassle trying to explain what I was wanting to do with the city (they are very conservative here). Not sure on a washroom. The studio is situated very close to our guest bathroom in the house, so I'll probably just keep it to a sink for hobby stuff.

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  12. If my father-in-law had laid that original concrete it would have taken more than that Bobcat! Looking good though! I have had the same dream about a separate gaming/modeling building or maybe an addition to the existing detached garage.

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    1. Yeah, it was a pretty easy removal as they didn't use steel rebar for reinforcement. I did for the new pour so it should be fairly robust. Chase your dream if you can do it!

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  13. Fantastic stuff Curt! Great work, and good luck on the rest of the project!

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    1. Thanks Dude! I look forward to the day when we host you for a visit and some mad gaming.

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  14. Outstanding progress! So happy for you - can hardly wait to see it in person :-)

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    1. Thanks so much Dal! I very much forward to hosting you for a visit and some games.

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  15. Excellent , good to see your progress .. so do you have a first battle in mind?

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    1. Thanks Dave. Oh, I think something suitably old school like Napoleonics or Italian Wars. I owe you a Zoom game so I think one of those will be in the cards as well.

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  16. Awesome project Curt! Liked the idea of having that under-table power supply. It’ll surely save a few accidents!

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    1. Thanks Mike! Yes, it was a last minute addition but I'm happy we put it in. I think it will come in handy in the future.

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  17. love the new 'shed' - keep up with the build photos please

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    1. Thanks Eric. With a handle like yours how could I deny you? :)

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  18. Looking good, I will look forward to seeing it all set up. Certainly a lot of planning has gone into it.

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  19. Nice looking addition so far. Hope you can get it ready for winter gaming.

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    1. It will probably have to wait for a while yet as I'm still waiting on doors and windows (Covid backup).

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  20. Looks like an exciting development. You got me thinking about my ramshackle shed (no roof..tree growing out the middle of it) and wondering if I'll ever be motivated enough to get it replaced. One day...

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    1. Thanks Lee. I like the sound of a tree growing out of your shed - wonderfully rustic!

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  21. What an exciting project!
    Your progress looks very promissing so far. Good luck further on!

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    1. Thank you Stefan! Delighted to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and yours.

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  22. It looks like you will have a rather splendid gaming HQ, Curt. It is great to see that so much progress has been made before the cold weather arrives.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan. Yes, we're moving along at a brisk pace to see if we can get it enclosed before winter sets in.

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  23. Good luck with your new studio - Game Room! Looks fantastic!

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    1. Thanks a bunch. I hope it all comes off well.

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