Reno History – Gotham Studio

Link to Renovation History of Gotham Glassworks Studio by Greg Locke

Be sure to check out “Gotham Studio” for more on the barn and studio today.

Greg kept a detailed photo log of the transformation of Doctor Kay’s 80+ year old horse barn over the Winter of 2007-08.

Below you will find several slideshows that document the creation of Gotham Glassworks Studio.

Captions will describe key photos in more detail; you can pause the show using the controls at the bottom of each slideshow window.

Click on each slideshow individually to view and enjoy

GOODBYE CHICKEN COOP!

The old “chicken coop”, also used in its day over the barn’s 80+ year history as rabbit barn, was decrepit and needed to be demolished prior to the project. A potting canopy on the barn’s eastern elevation, also had to come down. This was the first step in the project, undertaken by Greg. Fun … wow!

GAS + ELECTRIC CABLE TRENCH WORK:

Following the advice of the Electrical Inspector, Greg carefully laid out a line from the house to the barn. Greg rented a “Ditch Witch” to dig a 3-foot deep trench – it took 3 days. The ground was so clay-hardened, not to mention rocky, that the machine would jam and Greg had to dig these objects out of the ground. At times the machine would wretch very hard upon jamming – Greg thought he would throw his back out for sure. Greg thought the gardens would be ruined – see how the trench went in front of the rose garden.

Compliant with Code, the electrical cable went in the bottom of the trench, followed by: 18 inches of soil; a red plastic warning tape; then the gas cable and conduit-covered low-voltage phone, coaxial and CAT5 lines; another red plastic warning tape; and finally, another 18 inches of soil to bring the trench back level to the ground. This was a project in itself, but well worth it.

DAY 1 – CONTRACTOR BEGINS:

Work has begun! The garbage bin arrived on Monday, and the underground gas and electrical work was completed some weeks ago, and my back has finally restored itself with some physio and exercise. The contractors arrived this morning and wasted little time in taking out the old hayloft floor and joists – it seems cavernous now! The work should take about 3 weeks, including my time to do all the electrical work and inspections. Work started in a comedy of errors, however: The lumber truck arrived and in moving the contractor’s van out of its way, the van became stuck in the heavily-rained upon lawn. A tow truck had to be called to get it free! This left some rather bad damage to parts of the lawn, as the pictures show (I trust they will be good to fix the damage). As this was all going on, the Port-a Let arrived and no one seemed to know the best place for it. I was beginning to wonder what we have gotten ourselves into!

DAY 2 – SAY GOODBYE TO LAWN:

Lots of big holes dug today! These photos aren’t very bright as it was near dark when I took them. The water line for the yard hydrant in the barn was severed – it was a PVC pipe (plastic) that curved strangely into the path of one of the post holes! The guys will fix it but it wasn’t exactly a welcome surprise. There was more lawn damage done. They will try to avoid doing any heavy work until the ground gets harder with the coming cold weather. The contractor is hesitant to agree to fix it – and I’m not 100% happy with this response – we’ll have a serious discussion when it comes time for the remaining amount owing. The building inspector has to approve the empty post holes prior to the concrete being poured (then there is another inspection prior the post holes being back-filled). Oh yes concrete heavy – really heavy and comes in a truck – yippee! The truck will stop at the end of the laneway and the guys will use wheel barrows to bring the mix up.

DAYS 3 & 4 – HOLE DIGGING AND FOUNDATION BEAMS:

Day 3 was Friday and the Lads had their post holes inspected and they poured the 10″ of concrete in each one that afternoon. These photos are not terribly interesting but do provide a good documentation of these early steps. Today (Monday the 19th) they mounted each of the 10 6 x 6″ posts around the perimeter of the barn, back-filled the holes and installed the 5-ply 2 x 10″ beams that will support the new floor joists. They also levelled the dirt floor so that we will have a minimum of 8’9″ clearance to the bottom the floor joists!

DAY 5 – CEILING JOISTS:

The 12″ floor joists and bridging are all in now, as is 1/2 of the OSB sub-floor. They can’t glue the sub floor with a layer of vapor barrier in between but they realized i can put one in under the engineered flooring I will be laying down over top the sub floor. Upon detailed on-site measurement, the distance between the last stair at the top and the wall in front of it will be 4 1/2 feet as opposed to the full 5″ on plan. This shouldn’t cause me too much difficulty (I bang my head ever day it seems anyway!). Soon they’ll be leveling the barn! It’s hard to tell from the pictures on teh loft, but I could really see the extent of the barn’s crookedness in comparison to the new level floor! I thought I was in a Batman episode during one of those fight scenes!

DAY 6 – BARN LEVELING:

DAY 7 – STUDIO WALL FRAMING:

DAY 8 – GONE WITH THE ROOF!

Nice change from the creepy feel of the old hayloft! Guess what – Monday’s weather forecast is for rain! I took some artistic license and took a few shots on this nice sunny Wintery Day – enjoy.

DAY 9 – ROOF JOISTS:

Winter weather! Sun one hour, storm the next. They actually got all the fascia and some of the soffit on by the end of the day and they are ready for the steel roofing – hopefully it will be done tomorrow as a storm is on the radar for Thursday the 29th. All round I’m quite happy with what I’m seeing so far. Next week the heat will be on me to do the electrical and pass the inspection! I’m incorporating lots of recessed and track lighting plus a lot of power outlets and a 20A service to the work bench (the new service is 40A from the house). The studio will serve both as a studio (requiring both ambient and task lighting needs) but also as a gallery, so lighting is quite important to the design here and I’ve found it quite challenging to acquire the knowledge to do it right! The gas heater gets installed next Wednesday the 3rd! I’ll need it! It’s Cold! Aren’t you EXCITED?!?!?!?!? (we are).

BIG SNOW COMETH:

December 4th, 2007. Snow …snow … snow. And guess what – the roof isn’t on yet!

DAY 13 – 14 – STAIRS, GAS HEATER and WEST WINDOW:

The crew was on another project Monday and Tuesday so work has slowed temporarily, plus the work had become more detail-oriented and therefore, less dramatic! (Though there’s lots of drama in a new gigantic window!) The stairs are now in, as is the gas space heater/fireplace, and the window facing the house. There’s an identical window going in the east gable side of the barn, so no doubt there’ll be plenty of natural light! Of less drama is the fact the crew filled the garbage bin even past its brim with construction debris. Unfortunately, I was hoping there would have been enough room to fit all the wood waste for the chicken coop, so at the moment we’re still stuck with this stuff. Soon I expect the door entrance from outside and frm the first floor of the barn to be roughed in (I’m installing the doors myself); the second window to be installed; the gaps around the perimeter of the barn to be filled with pressure-treated lumber; snow guards to be installed on the roof.

WORK OVER CHRISTMAS 2007:

Lots of work done on the first floor (insulating and drywalling the loft floor) plus the electrical is all in! The floor has two layers of R20 – a very warm floor! Most attics don’t have R40. Special thanks to you Michael (Stasyna) for your help drywalling on Boxing Day! Insulation, vapor barrier and drywalling the upstairs will likely start January 7th – the last big phase. Happy New Year!

BARN FIX! TO DAY 42 – WEEPING TILE MUD-FEST, ELECTRICAL, INSULATION, VAPOR BARRIER, WINDOW FINISHING:

What’s worse than digging dirt? Digging in MUD and lots of it, right part your boots. An unusually mild spell thawed the grounds surrounding the barn, and caused some flooding in the barn! Greg decided to take advantage of the weather, and to help reduce the flooding, by digging (if that’s what you call it) a mud trench alongside the southern elevation and filling it with gravel and weeping tile. Fun .. fun .. fun.

Eventually it got back to the “real” fun:

– Greg completed the lighting and other electrical work and had it all inspected. Lighting and power!
– The window wells and frames needed finishing but as they are arched, Greg used 1/8″ Masonite in three glued and nailed layers to create a hard curved frame that would accept paint.
– Greg & Tracy insulated the ceiling and walls, and applied vapour barrier on top and sealed. The place got warm then!

DAY 45 – DRYWALL:

Hot off the press! 2 guys (a subcontractor) did this in about 3 hours, and I must admit they did a good job. Nice if they would have cleaned up!! Mudding and sanding starts tomorrow (I have to do the same in the stairwell and landing as that’s my responsibility).

TO DAY 48 – DRYWALL PREP COMPLETED:

Mudding, taping and sanding by a different sub-contractor – ready for primer!

TO DAY 54 – PAINTING COMPLETED:

Wow — are we ever excited at how this is turning out!! Next comes the flooring and stair railing … and the workshop really takes shape with the construction of the massive work bench made from the reclaimed Hemlock floor joists.

LOOKING ALMOST DONE!

Just a few quick pics before I cover the floor in plastic to paint the baseboards prior to them being installed. The paint, finishing and lighting turned out fabulous! Not too bright unless it’s ALL on – we have options to accent specific areas of the studio with ambient, task and showcase lighting. We finished the floor last weekend (Tracy is such a trooper!) and I tiled the window wells earlier last week (still needs grouting). Looks almost too nice to be a shop! (almost!) It won’t be long before it seems smaller, with the large main work bench and other peripheral storage and work area coming over time. The desk fit perfectly into the corner, which a fabulous neighbour of ours (thanks Jeff!) helped me move up there before the railing was installed. I think Tracy is trying to get me out of the house – I think she wants the office over the front porch all to herself.

THE WORKBENCH

Greg used the reclaimed Hemlock floor joists of the old hayloft to construct his “dream” bench:
– 9 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 42 inches high (Greg like to stand when he works).
– Split 20A electrical outlets around the perimeter, the cable coming through the floor underneath.
– Inset for Shop Vac and three-way on/off switches (so it an be turned on and off easily from either side of the bench).
– Convenient carpenter’s vice – a very handy tool (despite what Tracy says!).
– sturdy shelving underneath
– 2 bar stools for guest seating or for work after a long day of standing.

JOB COMPLETE (WELL, IS IT EVER?): THE “FINISHED” EXTERIOR

AIN’T IT P’URDY?!

MUCH THANKS TO:

– Conestogo Carpenters;
– Springfield Building Components (Ken Craik for design consulting);
– Michael Stasyna for all his help drywalling, insulating, holding up eavestrough and generally being a great guy;

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO:

TRACY LOCKE for being so supportive of her husband’s dream.

 

Gotham Glassworks by Greg Locke

Gotham studio is not open to the general public – you are welcome to Contact Greg and make an appointment in advance of visiting historic Schomberg.


4 thoughts on “Reno History – Gotham Studio”

  1. This is very nice thing, and it’s so good that you people are taking care of the environment by reusing old houses and barns. Also your work is so detailed with high finish.

    Good Work, good site.

    Regards form A Kuwaiti glass artist
    Hassan

  2. Wow, Greg I am REALLY impressed, what an amazing transformation! The two of you were so brave to take this on. I think it is so wonderful that you could see what could be done with the old barn and transformed it into such a beautiful studio. Love, Deb

  3. What a labour of love! Thanks for showing us your place on the Garden Tour. Great reuse of a historic building.

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