1. I got an email from Maude Schuyler Clay, who confirmed that the Eggleston portrait is hers. She's traveling, though, so her note was brief.
2. I hope to write the NEX-6 wrapup on Wednesday. It might have flaws, but it won't be fiction.
3. So here's what I'm jazzed up about at the moment. I mentioned in the "Ask Mike" post my difficulties with the size of my home office. It's as near as makes no difference to 11 feet square, making a grand total of 121 square feet of floor space. I'm so jammed in I literally can't buy a flatbed scanner because I have no place to put it. It really has been a problem, although I understand completely if nobody cares but me. :-)
In the Comments, reader Thomas Turnbull suggested adding a second story to the house. I've actually already looked in to that, and the bottom line is that any way I slice it, it would cost about twice the value it would add to the house. No can do.
But then I got a related bright idea...I have a detached two-car garage. I wonder how much it would cost to add a second story to that?
I was just out there in the dark with the measuring tape. The garage is 20.5 by 22.5 feet, making about 440 square feet after subtracting the thickness of the walls. That would be more than twice as much floor space*! If I'm careful with the design, I could have a scanner and a little studio space, and I wouldn't have to site the printer in the living room. Woo-hoo. Luxury. It would require no plumbing, and the stairs could be outdoor, patio-style stairs leading up to a door. If I did some of the work myself and don't get too carried away with details, it might even be possible.
It'll probably still be too expensive, but I'm going to look into this. Hope!
*Innumeracy joke. It's ~3.6 times as much.
UPDATE by the cold light of dawn: I don't think this would work. Now that I look at it more carefully, the garage is just sticks on a slab. And the roof structure, which I was thinking could simply be raised, doesn't allow for any clearance at all, so the second story would have to a be a full seven or eight feet. Actually, to get a usable second story, the whole shebang would probably need to be rebuilt from the foundation, all new. I'd probably be into the project $50k if I was into it a dime. Too rich for the likes o' me.
Plus, the resulting hulk would blot out of the sky, and would overpower the scale of the house and the lot, which is adequate but modest. And the next occupant of the house would be left wondering what in the world to do with the space...they'd probably find themselves with one very fancy attic.
We translate it to "The best-laid plans of mice and men / often go awry," but don't forget that the original Scots is "The best laid schemes o' Mikes an' Men, / Gang aft agley."
Well, maybe that's not quite right!
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Featured Comments from:
dwross: "As the saying goes: I feel your pain. That was my situation for years, except the dedicated small bedroom was an improvement! Before that, I had a corner of every room in the house staked out. Then...I don't know how much of a lot you have, or your setback requirements, but I was able to remodel my detached garage into a studio/darkroom and attach it to the house with a pretty foyer, and then build a new detached garage. Heaven (except the long walk with the groceries!)"
Mike replies: Good for you. Glad it worked out.
As I've replied to various commenters, the situation really is a puzzle. Here's the lowdown:
- Can't move. I can barely afford this place, don't have time to do all the work of moving house, and besides, if I were going to move anyway, would I really want to live in Waukesha?
- Can't add a second floor to the house. It's the best solution physically, but it would cost $80k and add only $40k to the value of the property.
- Can't use the garage itself. It's not winterizable because it's on a slab (and in Wisconsin, you don't get away with partial winterization). Plus it would leave the house with no garage, affecting resale adversely, plus there then wouldn't be enough room for the cars.
- Can't build on top of the garage for the reasons listed above.
- Can't use the basement. It floods.
- Can't apportion additional space inside the house because of the layout. It would require major remodeling and still not be ideal.
- Can't expand into the yard because of setback laws and lack of room. It's a very small lot.
- Can't rent office space elsewhere because then I'd never get the work done. It's not only convenient but necessary to work from home.
I've thought and thought about this, but there really does appear to be no possible solution except the current one: deal with the 11x11-foot office!
Lynn: "Have you looked at creative ways to maximise the small space—for example, look at the way boat cabins, camper vans, and even some clever kitchens are fitted out. Lots of innovative ideas. Maybe the scanner can be on a spring-loaded high shelf that comes out and down on cantilevered arms by just pulling on a handle...or modify the idea of a slide-out pantry so the stuff you need is neatly tucked away until you need it. Can you use parts of the wall cavity to increase the depth of cupboards?"
Mike replies: You know, that really might be the most sensible idea of all. Just resign myself to the fact that this space is all I get, and make the best of it. I could have cabinets and shelving built in on three walls and parts of a fourth, and then just commit to staying neat and organized. It would be the cheapest option—I could probably get it all done for six or eight thousand dollars—it would negatively impact the value of the house the least (for the next owner, it would just be the home office, plain and simple), and you're right, if I'm smart and plan carefully I could probably give myself all the space I need.
Well, not enough space for a tabletop to take illustration pictures. But most of what I need.
Rick: "Mike here is an ides of sorts to give you some ideas maybe."
Mike replies: Wow. That is really cool stuff.