New Digs

Katie and I have been dreaming about making pottery a full-time career for years. This summer we decided to take the next step towards that goal, but the path wasn’t always clear.

In January 2019, we began searching for new properties outside of the Saint Cloud city limits that could support a pottery lifestyle (namely a heated/insulated studio, a garage, and land/space to eventually build a soda kiln). With a hot sellers market and potter’s budget, we discovered that we’d either need to significantly lower our standards of living or potentially put ourselves at serious financial risk. Needless to say, both options seemed daunting and not necessarily practical.

Throughout our property search, we also renewed our appreciation and love for our current home in Saint Cloud. Our home offered everything we were looking for except privacy, land, and a larger studio space. What if we made the beautiful home we have meet our current pottery needs?

This is what our studio space was. Adequate but tight. Now, this space will serve as the throwing/clay recycling room (high dust area).

This is what our studio space was. Adequate but tight. Now, this space will serve as the throwing/clay recycling room (high dust area).

Kiln room remains the same

Kiln room remains the same

Our pottery studio was located in the basement, which was partially finished and unfinished. The unfinished area (about 400 sq ft) served as the studio and the carpeted/finished area served as a guest bedroom and living room. The finished space was HUGE and not used effectively (about 1000 sq ft). The upstairs of our home is the main living area and meets all of our family needs. It became clear that we needed to convert the entire basement into our studio, more than doubling its size.

New studio/office space. The hump molds will go back to the throwing room. The table you see here will be used for decal/overglaze work.

New studio/office space. The hump molds will go back to the throwing room. The table you see here will be used for decal/overglaze work.

Other side of the new studio space. Workbench I built for hand-building and decoration. Bottom shelf not finished yet. Cost about $150. Eventually, 1/3 of the table will become a plaster bat.

Other side of the new studio space. Workbench I built for hand-building and decoration. Bottom shelf not finished yet. Cost about $150. Eventually, 1/3 of the table will become a plaster bat.

Part of the challenge for this project for me was not devaluing our home. The finished basement was a nice perk that future buyers would have appreciated. We found a solution! By removing the old carpet, sanding, and painting the concrete floor, we could effectively convert the space without making permanent changes. When the time comes that we sell our home, the basement can be cleaned and new carpet installed! The carpet removal was about $180; renting the floor sander ran about $100, and then paint was around $100. I then spent about $150 on hardware/lumber to build a new handbuilding/decoration workbench.

We also had a solution for losing the guest bedroom. We have two extra bedrooms upstairs; one functioning as Mya’s room, the other as my office. The basement space is so large that it provides additional studio space and an area for my office. Now the two bedrooms upstairs are functioning as that: bedrooms.

The space isn’t finished yet, but the basic concept is complete. Sometimes what you already have is good enough, it just takes patience and mindfulness to see what’s in front of you.