Just weeks after finishing our epic three-year kiln and kiln shed building project, we've launched into another big project. Perhaps the excitement is somewhat addictive . . . nonetheless, there are many practical and logistical reasons why building a studio on the same property as one's kiln makes complete sense. So why wait?!
Our first step was to 'make a big mess', as Dan the excavator put it. He took off the sod and topsoil in a couple of hours in mid-September- exposing lots and lots of ledge. It didn't come as much of a surprise, this being Vermont and all. The spot we'd chosen- to keep our studio off of prime agricultural land- is kind of a knoll with some rocky outcroppings above the soil. But because our studio design will have a walk-in on each level, we wanted to try to tuck it into the hillside as much as possible, so we rented a pneumatic hammer and Dan and Cody spent a tough day pounding away at the rock.
They managed to remove enough material so that we could get started on laying out our footing. After a lot of careful measuring, setting of strings, checking the height of ledge with a transit we borrowed, we were ready to begin building the forms to pour a concrete perimeter 24" wide. (The concrete walls of our building will be built off of this platform!)
The footing steps up, down, and all around to accommodate the ledge, and the concrete form pattern we intend to layout. The foundation itself will also step down . . . this will all make a lot more sense soon! In the meantime, we are bracing, bending rebar, calculating concrete yardage, and preparing for the first of two big pours - all the while checking and re-checking our math, our plans, our sanity . . .
It might not look like much, but this represents more than three weeks of hard mental and physical work. It's been a steep learning curve! Concrete work isn't the first project I would have chosen to DIY, but hey, we're always up for a good challenge, and this has been- and will continue to be - a big one!