The whole idea of building an artist studio began in our minds over ten years ago when we first visited Paducah KY. We would walk through the streets and sit on porch stoops imagining what it would be like to live in this town. We drew and drew plans for our small imaginary studio. I still find those little drawings fascinating. We looked at several books for inspiration- the Tiny Houses book, The Tree House book, The Rural Studio, just to name a few. The streets were a little "rough" back then, but the area was be gentrified by artists coming from as far away as California. We fell in love with several houses, but at the time we could not afford to purchase a $35,000 craftsman style home or the colonial style home for $8,000, even that was out of our price range. I lived for the moment and did not have any savings and didn't even have a bank account. At the time too, Shand and I had only been dating for six months and truthfully buying a house was a big commitment at the time. We decided to wait...
As time passed we kept imaging sitting on those stoops and we kept drawing imaginary studio plans. We kept watching Paducah grow as an arts scene. The city was giving houses away and over 60 artists moved into the area to build studios and galleries. In the meantime, I was teaching art in North Carolina and Shand was working on her masters in Metalsmithing at East Carolina University. One day my aunt called and told me that an art teacher at a nearby school would be leaving and wondered if I was interested in filling her position. I was curious and we set up a mock interview where I would be a visiting artist at the school so I could decide if this new art education position was right for me. Needless to say they hired me right there on the spot. A hard decision was made to move without Shand and begin finding a place for us to live in Paducah. We kept in touch via Skype. Don't know what I would have done without the internet... Shand finished her masters the following year and we were reunited finally in that artist town we fell in love with so many years ago.
In November 2010, we purchased a small 1890's Victorian home and the city sold us an adjacent lot for $2! Once we had the property the ideas multiplied and the designs were drawn and submitted to the city for approval. In early May 2011 the plans were approved by the state and we could finally begin to build our studio in a historic neighborhood we now call home.
Here is the house we bought:
Here is the lot ($2):
Here are a few images of the plans and studio in progress. It has taken a lot of patience and many hours in meetings but our dream home and studio are finally being made.