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The Renovations

by Jonathan Ashworth |

The day after my partner and I moved into our new place I borrowed a sledge hammer from the neighbour opposite and began demolition work that was the start of the studio renovations. At the bottom of our long garden was an old coach house, but over the years various extensions and changes had been made to it which masked this beautiful old building. When we arrived this tumbledown shell was almost hidden behind undergrowth, broken wood and bricks. Just the top left corner was visible!  I didn't know about power tools at this stage and so I swung that sledge hammer as hard as I could until I was waist deep in rubble, knocking back a couple of walls so severely that the neighbour and structural engineer suggested I grab a couple of Acrow props quick-sharp! 

My friend drew up plans for the changes to be made and as much as possible I undertook these myself; renovating the windows, sanding and lime washing the interior walls (definitely the worst part), building the staircase, bathroom and storage cupboards. A local guy Al undertook the repair of brickwork, extension of water pipes and ceiling insulation. The jobs went on and on, and on. As soon as one major aspect was repaired or constructed, others came to light.

How nice it is now, a year on, having worked on the project during the baking heat of a summer and the crushing cold of a winter to have the place finally up and running. It was a great learning curve for me, and I'm massively indebted to the friends that helped along the way, to lend tools and share their expertise and help carry bricks or timber when the loads were too much. 

Good project planning is the key, but it's not easy to envisage all that's needed when starting out. When absolutely everything is itemised and down on paper it definitely feels daunting!  

So here we are! Come by and enjoy the space! The top floor is often used as a photography studio (photography.jonathanashworth.com), photography location, meditation and yoga space. It's filled with light, has a great yard outside to be used as a large making space, and before long there will be a wood burner to keep things toasty in the winter!