1997 marked what I hoped would be a turning point in my life-the completion of my new studio. After nearly a decade of making do with living rooms and other inadequate spaces, I have a dedicated working space again. I never knew how much I missed my old studio.
32 East Main is a three-story commercial building built in 1892. It replaces part of a block of wooden buildings which burned in 1891. Originally, 32 and 28 East Main were a single property with two storefronts on the ground floor, a large open space on the second floor which was used as the Milan Opera House, and a third floor which was a Mason's Lodge consisting of a large meeting room in the front, and a dining room and kitchen in the back. In its lifetime it has been an A&P, Radio Shack, ceramics store, antique shop, and horse tack store. (this is just what we're sure of) The lot was subdivided in the 1930's.
We converted the second floor into our residence where we've been living since 1987. After the studio renovation we'll tackle the third floor, which at present is used only for storage.
The renovated studio has improved services, new heat, plumbing, and electrical, as well as new ceilings, walls, and woodwork. Basically, we gutted it to the original plaster and worked back inwards.
As you can see from the plan, the new studio has a darkroom, barrier-free bathroom, large work area, and a studio with a cyclorama. The workroom and studio area can also double as a classroom. To give you a sense of scale, the floor plan represents a building 83 feet by 23 feet overall.
Some Views of the Studio, just as we were moving in.