We remodeled this Carving Studio out of an existing garage. The original house
was built over 85 years ago. The garage was a mere 10’ 6” wide, which is not
effective as a garage for cars of today’s size. The homeowners used the garage for
storage. It was underutilized and honestly a waste of space. Our client was using a
small corner in an overcrowded basement as his woodshop. We saw an opportunity
to create a Carving Studio to give the owner his own personal space. It opens to
the Keeping Room, so he’s near the heart of the home.
The Studio was built under a permit, separate from the main house. It has its own
HVAC system, high speed Internet, tankless water heater, a fine particulate air
filter, ample display room for carvings, and a remote controlled insect screen with
the added feature of a privacy section to cover the glass. The carriage doors offer
the homeowner the dual opportunity to easily transport tools and large pieces of
wood into the studio, and, also, experience the outdoors while carving.
The Carving Studio includes a sink, work bench, TV, spot lighting from recessed cans, and decorative general lighting.
The cabinets offer storage for items, such as grinders, power tool sharpeners, and hand tools, and for conveniences,
such as laptops and printers.
The picture on the top right shows a grill. It is the return air,
mounted on a secret access panel, as pictured open in the top left
photo and closed in the top right photo.
The bottom right photo illustrates how the access panel and ceiling
were framed. Also shown is the soffit detail required for
containment of the split system air handler and slot diffuser.
Heating & Air is
provided through a
mini split system.
The slot diffuser is
both attractive and
Here we see a portion of the vacuum
ducting using spiral ducting material. The
duct route begins at the workbench (see
above photo), travels through the wall and
into the soffit, and is then exposed on its
path to the floor at the opposite side of the
shop (see picture to right).
All dust and debris is vacuumed into a
container in the lower level, where the
ducting terminates. A vacuum system was a
major requirement of the owner.
The garage had a 9’ ceiling with lookouts that
supported the cornice on the two exterior
walls. We wanted to vault the ceiling and
decided that our best plan would be to create
soffits, allowing the original lookouts to remain
for the cornice. After consulting with our
engineer, we created a new gable, slightly
lower and of a different pitch, beneath the
existing slate roof.
Note: the top left photo
shows the new dropped
gable being built below the
original rafters. This
ensured we did not disturb
the slate roof. This
“necessity” became an
asset in this design.
Note: Scuttle hole sealed because of vaulted ceiling. Also, notice the lookouts supporting the cornice.
Existing roof structure with 9' high flat original ceiling
During the process of
demolition, we noticed
evidence of wood rot. We
decided to further investigate
by removing some stucco from
the garage interior walls and
We discovered that most of the
wall studs had rotted at the
bottom due to the fact that the
original slab was poured below
the top of the block foundation
wall. Water easily entered the
It was evident that the stucco
had been the only thing holding
the garage structure together.
The wall framing needed to be
replaced. The challenge was to support the garage structure and slate roof while we
replaced the rotten section of the wall. We poured a new stem wall to
waterproof and protect the inside from water intrusion.
Our new stem wall allowed us to
properly waterproof and protect
the interior. Note the angle on
the curb face and how we did the
Per our engineer’s requirements,
we inserted hooked dowels into
the existing concrete, then
epoxied them into place.
Note: Picture to the right
showing our finished wall.
The rot is gone! The windows
and wall are properly flashed
The original garage slab was above a 6’ high
crawlspace. We encapsulated the crawlspace below
with a vapor barrier and insulated with foam.
Tapered wood floor framing was required due to
the slope of the slab. The framing was glued
and mechanically fastened.
Because of its superior performance, we
used structured plywood for sheathing. We
then installed a solid hickory floor with an
Note: This photo also shows the stem walls
that we poured.
We constructed a temporary door and
temporary lighting for our subs. Later we
installed the carriage doors, with an expanded
header and columns on either side to house
the remote controlled screen and
The framing over the former
garage door was done over 85
years ago. The original framing
was a truss header, which
surprisingly lasted years. We
replaced the header with two
Pictured above: the engineer’s ceiling plan
Note: the original brick wall.
Our homeowner wanted to carve while
enjoying the outside. We are proud of our
unique design that allows a screen to be
hidden in an expanded header above the
carriage doors. It is remotely controlled, and
can be stopped at any point.
It was fabricated with an opaque section at the
bottom that can be used to cover the windows
for privacy when it is partially lowered (as seen
on the upper right picture).
Illustrated on the bottom right, the screen can
be fully extended, allowing for a view without
The far left picture demonstrates how the
room looks with the doors opened and the
screen fully recessed.
This innovative use of material allows the
homeowner to be comfortable while enjoying
a nice, sunny day.
The Disappearing Screen
Pictured left: We used the old
coal chute in the garage to
access the basement for vacuum
ducting, electrical, and
compressed air piping.
Note photo to right: the spiral
ducting and compressed air as
they enter the studio through
the old coal chute.
Just like houses, the Carving
Studio has its own mechanical
room. There was an old coal
storage room in the basement,
not located directly under the
Studio, but close enough to
allow for access.
The shop vacuum is pictured in
the top left photo. Next to the
vacuum system is the air
compressor, whose piping
travels with the duct work
through the former coal chute
into the Studio, where the
tubing is connected to a
pressure regulator and quick
Note the bookmatched
hickory on the cabinets.
This attention to detail
adds a special flair to
the aesthetics of the
The 1 ¾” Bubinga plank
cabinets in a very
Great care was taken to create the
Western Red Cedar soffits and
beams. Because they were larger
than standard sized material, we
grain matched, glued, and milled
the cedar on site to create
exceptional bookmatched sizes that
The dimensional sized timbers were
cut so that we could create boxed
beams without seams.
created a ledge
for the cedar on
The hook on which
the apron (pictured
above) is hung was
hand-carved by our
There is plenty of opportunity to display the
homeowner’s carvings. Being able to
intersperse creations from the homeowner
with our design adds a special personalized
touch to this Carving Studio.
The homeowner can comfortably
store tools within various sized
drawers (pictured above). Larger
items, i.e. grinders and tool
sharpeners, are stored within the
The apron is off; the Carving Studio has fulfilled its purpose.