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Sunday, 16 September 2018


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"gallery style". This is known in Germany as 'Petersburger Hängung", as the Eremitage in St. Petersburg used it. They have about 3 million objects, so space is at a premium 😂

Ron Preedy

Sounds great - maybe for extra light you could have skylights in the ceiling when you need it, with blinds for when you don't.

Sounds like a plan. I've never seen a room with too many windows but I live with several that have too few and they're never cheaper to install than while building.

I say go for it!

Oh, I hope that dream comes true!

One alarm bell went off as I read your plans -- make damned sure you're 100% leak-proof all around. A simple drip over a few hours could ruin dozens of your most precious books or a wall of prints. Those prefab buildings are notorious for leaks; I assume it's a factor of the quality of the assembling.

Keep us posted!

I'm building a house. Actually, I'm standing there with my hands in my pockets while a contractor builds the house, but still...

We have one room more or less dedicated to TV (we watch a lot of movies, but not much commercial television.) The point being, we didn't want a lot of windows, but we did want to be able to convert the room into a bedroom if we needed to. So what you do is, you frame the windows, but cover them with sheet rock. If someday you need to have a window, you cut out the sheetrock and insert the window -- most of the actual construction work is done.

You don't want radiant, IMHO. Many people swear by it, but the problem is, it takes two or three DAYS to get up to full temperature. In an off-and-on cold climate like the Finger Lakes, where you can get quick cold snaps, you want something that reacts quickly. I know. We have radiant everywhere, and it provides a nice heat, but we get very warm weather in Santa Fe in March and April, but then a terrific cold snap comes down the mountains, that not only kills all the cherry and apricot buds, but the house gets cold and stays that way for a day or so. We have a couple of electric heaters to help deal with that, but it's not ideal.

By the way, does the proposed shed have insulation?

I know that you work like a dog, and might not have time, but I once finished a basement -- the whole works, studs, sheetrock, electric wiring, tile, even plumbing. If you read books and think about it, you can do much of it yourself -- maybe with the help of one handyman with a pickup -- and save a ton of money. And it's kinda fun, if you don't have to do it all the time. The thing is, your proposed shed is too small. Do it yourself and you could probably double the size, or even triple it. You would have to have somebody pour the slab for you, but if you plan it right, after that, it's sort of like putting together a kit -- especially if you find a handyman with the necessary tools.

I’ve thought of the same thing for use as a three-season workspace. I’m currently fantasizing about the kits available on Amazon. Search cabin kit; there might be something that fits your needs. The interlocking ‘log’ kits already have finished interior walls (the flat log surface). Of course, only the ones with free shipping would be economical.

I suggest skylights rather than a window.

Think you should just make it a BUCKET LIST AND JUST FO IT....great man cave.

How about skylights? You could have ventilation as well.
The building would have good resale value in any case. That's my excuse, anyway...

For probably the same cost you could do a slant roof shed with clerestory windows facing north if you like north light, or south if you like warmth in the winter. Plenty of light and plenty of wall space, plus it looks bigger when you are inside it.

You want a window to look at the scenery through without loosing wall space? Put it in the door.

A screen door and an opening clerestory window will tale care of your summer ventilation needs.

I went looking for a picture and found this interesting post with a picture.

It's fun to daydream about projects. I also do it all the time. when the lottery gets huge I buy a ticket for entertainment and daydream for a few minutes what I would do to help if I won.

But with a serious daydream like it sounds your is, you should perhaps consider a few more building options. First since you want to maximize wall space, put in horizontal windows up high to let in light/air but not take up display space.

Second, I don't know if your local building codes or taste would allow but shipping containers offer a pretty cheap building option. For you 20-25K budget you could probably place and finish out 2-3 of these around a courtyard design and they make excellent wall space as there length to width dimensions are about perfect for galley space. Lots of options outthere today other than traditional wood stick framing.

was that a nod to 4:3 ratio or maybe half of 24x36, (aka "full frame", if millimeters were feet)?

Middle gray cloth. Ha I like it. Now the same lights over the pool table are suitable for photo viewing?

Heated and air conditioned?


I am assuming you will insulate this building. Please ditch the baseboard electric and install a cold weather heat pump that will save you considerably on your electric bill and also allow air conditioning (humidity control). Also the slab must be adequately insulated. Glad to review your plans when you are ready.

Don't forget to budget a few hundred for a comfortable recliner to be located with a good view of the photo wall. Hanging your work will no doubt require many enjoyable hours of horizontal study.

I think you'll need to include air conditioning as well in your costs and estimated electrical consumption. I assume the humidity is pretty high there and could adversely affect your books and prints on display (as well as comfort for your guests).

I think it's a great idea! A gallery and pool hall in one. It is almost your version of TOP heaven. The only thing missing is the Miata.

I think that is a very worthy goal. It ticks a lot of boxes for you and gives you lots of things to look forward to---including not paying storage fees.
Life is short, if not now, when?
It is also the kind of thing that could be completed in stages, beginning with a 'weathered in' shell, then you can complete the interior, furniture, electrical, and heating as funds allow. A little wood stove and a small fan could heat a building like that.
I would make 3 suggestions:
>Consider a skylight or two, you will be burning electricity to light what will be a dark space with only 1 window. Skylights change the whole feel of a building.
>An 8' ceiling in an 18x24 room will feel low (because it is) consider an extra foot or partial cathedral ceiling.
>in the planning stages try to plan for a bump out lavatory. You may not be able to build it out right away but the space and dummy pipes through the slab will make it easer to do when funds allow.
If you really plan on opening it up to visitors, you almost have to have a lavatory. You can fit one in a 3'x6' space
But Good for You ! I sincerely hope you follow through.

Fabulous! Which leads to the question: is there a chance for a print sale on The Kiss? (I ask again.) I just bought a condo and plan on pictures from floor to ceiling. I've been to Corning and Hammondsport but not Penn Yan (or Rochester). I'm a four season traveller. Wherever hotels are in off-season and restaurants have lunch specials. Great plan.

Mike, that would be an added temptation for all of your readers to make the upstate trek and fun for you, I'm sure.

Since you brought up heating, please consider a heat pump. They've gotten quite good. In your area, there's much of the heating season that it would have to resort to electric resistance heat (at which point you are no worse off than baseboard heaters), but the best of them are 400% efficient when in heat pump mode, so you spend 1/4 what you would when the heat pump can operate.

Oh, Mike, I love this!
I love all the ideas people have - the shipping containers making a courtyard especially. There are some lovely examples to be seen online, and remember you can stick more interesting exterior cladding on them!

Of course, I have ideas too - if you are doing a prefab rectangle, you can position it so if you got more funds in the future, you could tack a second one on to the short end of the first one!

Also, don’t underestimate the appeal of a rain-sheltered overhang or porch with slabs of rough finish slare underfoot. In good weather, a pleasant place to set with visitors and look at photos, and in bad, a place to shake off the wet and the mud before venturing inside.

Finally, seconding the need for a north facing natural light source of some kind.

Hi Mike;

Copper pipe for heating can be installed between the slab and wooden flooring. A friend did this in a walled off garage workshop. It worked so well, we had to keep the temp down. Also, easy repair of any eventual leaks. No concrete to dig up.

Have you heard of ICON? It's a company out of Austin (Texas, not me) that is 3D printing houses to address world homelessness. Their target is to build houses at half the cost it would normally be, though the 380 sq ft proof of concept cost $10,000. I discovered them while reading this July's Wired magazine.

Their website is www.iconbuild.com

Sometimes I wish I had photographed things when I saw them... Had good but somewhat eccentric friends who lived in two story once carriage house in Toronto. Their house was a raised two a half car garage. The main floor housed their car (a Super Beetle as I recall) and there was plenty of room for their two early BMW's with sidecars.alf washroom.
The bikes went in the half garage. The remaining stall had a stacked washer/dryer, as well as shower and a toilet, behind a wall. The balance of the space had a large model railway. The two guys lived upstairs; there were two staircases; one outside on the far wall and an inside stair case. They had also installed a brass fireman's pole in one corner to get from upstairs to downstairs The second floor housed a small kitchen, a living - dining area and a large master bedroom. There was a basic washing sink in the bedroom and also in the kitchen area. They were then good friends; their residence was a converted carriage house and they constructed it to be simple as possible hence the main water usage was in the main floor garage. All the plumbing was on the insulated back wall; electrics under the inside stairs, and they were early adaptors of then primitive solar panels on the roof.

Both were lawyers in different practices; the car was used mostly in the winter; they both used transit to go to work. I knew them through model railway and later motorcycle activities. Sadly, both are now gone, both victims of AIDS. Their residence and in fact all the large private homes surrounding their location are now gone, occupied by a very expensive condominium.

Your project could be similar depending upon local zoning. The exterior could be covered with barn board;
as noted a heat pump and yes too some of those high efficiency solar panels on the roof would not be out of place; the second garage could be occupied by your pool table!

I realize I am treading on thin ice.....But, if you build that thing you will be kicking yourself, almost immediately, for not waiting and going bigger. Not necessarily the 70K project, but something similar with about twice the square footage.

You want one with panache and life to it rather than just a shed repurposed? Try this stuff: http://www.simple-shacks.com

I have no connection to them. Just see what they build in our area and they do a very good job. we have a ton of the shed builders, from rent to own to outright sales to custom jobs. The shack guys beat them all for quality and a building that can be configured for most any use. Why not be comfortable and have a place with character rather than one you always think you ought to be putting lawn mowers in? Surely some in your area can do similar work while keeping cost from looking like NYC projects.

As others have said, climate and bug control is imperative. But if you plan on showing and selling prints by others, insurance may(should?) be necessary. Also, your current insurance may need to be updated to cover an increase of visitors.

A mini-split capable of heating / cooling my 2.5 car garage / shop set me back a little over $6k installed this June. The radiant heat in the garage will only get used when the outdoor temp is below zero and the heat-pump part of the mini-split can't cope.

Radiant for the garage has run me $250/month in electricity to keep it at 45F. I turn it up to 60F on Friday evening if I'm going to be working in the shop over the weekend. Electricity for the mini-split should be around $100/month, and response-time should be quicker. I'm very happy with it so far.

I like the daydream very much! Are you considering solar cells? I think NY state offers various incentives for existing homes; not sure about new additional structures.

Now that I think more about it look at one of those small houses on wheel or not like in Inlet ny camp ground.

Being a writer about photography, you need to make sure it has as many windows as possible. And some skylights.

You'll thank us once it's done. :)

You mention something that I've always considered important. That is the future buyer.
Having lived in too many places and done too much building this is one consideration I think about. An eccentric one of a kind project will limit future sales to a smaller number of like minded people.
A building like this will be a real asset if built in such a way that it could be used as a painter's studio or other hobby room. North light and windows in the form of strip 'dead lites' [transom windows?] high up on the walls would give you lots of wall space with indirect natural light. Conventional windows use up too much wall space for gallery use.
Also an entry door wider than average to make moving stuff in/out easier.

Mike, I'll spare you the construction tips and instead recommend a capital campaign, where donors >$100 get their name on a plaque in your visitor center. I've been a loyal reader for many years, and other than placing my B&H orders through your links, I've never really given back (I'm not much one for print sales). I'd be the first to sign up, and I'm sure there would be others thinking the same thing. Please do consider it.

I have lots of opinions. Those sheds are really unfortunate-looking. New construction is nearly always so unfortunate looking, regardless of budget. And expensive, regardless of design. Seems a shame to not apply your eye for design, to not make such an inevitably expensive project also a source of satisfaction. There are good and bad shoeboxes in the world, made from the exact same materials: the difference is in the lines, the proportions, the attention to shadow and light. For lines, look to the older garages and utility buildings in your neighborhood, and your own house. For proportions, don’t forget that it’s for humans (a common error that drawings can lead you into). For shadow and light, avoid vast unbroken and unweathering surfaces—unfinished or stained wood, any way you want to cut it, for instance, with attention to splash-back and drainage, requires no more investment or maintenance than vinyl. Non-flush door and window(s) are a consideration there, too. A TOP World Headquarters that takes these things into account need cost little more than one that doesn’t, and yet provide a result your visitors might not want to crop out of a photograph. Seems a worthy goal to me, and perhaps (the planning of it) a labor that might suit you well. $0.03.

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