Tetris Master

  1. promethadmin
  2. August 3, 2012 10:21 pm

Tetris Master

Tetris Master


Have you ever looked at something and realized that it wasn’t quite right? Or, have you ever looked at something and seen how it should be? That was the case with my artist’s studio. The exterior looks like a huge space, but opening the door would lead you into a room that seemed sideways, to me. Mathematically speaking, it is a great, square space, but it was sectioned into a large room with an oversized closet fashioned into a dark room. The dark room made the space look much smaller than it actually is. Most of the walls included workman’s tables literally screwed into the walls. If you’re a child of the 1980s, you will understand the Tetris reference in the title: how could I rearrange the pieces in this space to open up its potential?


I saw the room in my head: tear down the walls, build cabinetry and counter space around the perimeter, section off a corner for a computer desk, build a floating island in the center for additional working space, and make room by the door for a seating area.


The first task that loomed was figuring out if the dark room walls were structural supports, or if they were “after-market” additions. That task was a bit tricky, considering the ceiling was solid. Also, the walls had electrical outlets and switches, so care had to be taken when dismantling anything. The fear of electrocution left an impasse that lasted for a few weeks.


Meanwhile, I started preemptively painting. I love to paint and draw, and I fancy myself an amateur artist, but painting walls is somewhat stressful to me. It had to be perfect the first time because once everything is painted and once construction is complete, repainting would be a challenge. I pulled out hundreds of paint swatches and spent hours at the dining room table combining color options before actually painting anything. Painting only took a couple of days.


One night, while staring at the dark room walls, I picked up a sledge hammer and slammed it into one of the walls. Since this is an artist’s studio we’re talking about here, all electrical outlets and switches are above desk level, so logic would indicate that all electrical wiring inside of the walls would also be above that line. I said a couple of silent Hail Mary’s, crossed myself, and prayed to not be electrocuted. My intuition proved correct, and in a matter of 30 minutes both walls were on the floor. The framework was left in place because it still hadn’t been determined whether or not those walls were structural supports.


The walls were not structurally important, so the next step involved dismantling the frames. When it was time for the frames to come down, something unexpected happened: while the walls were not holding up the roof, they were in fact holding up the ceiling. When the first frame was removed, the drywall literally started falling. It was a real life Chicken Little, the sky is falling, moment. In a brief moment of panic, the frame was shoved back into place and the drywall was screwed into the support beams above, like it should have been originally.


I came to the conclusion that this place stood erect based solely on the 1000s of nails and screws fixed into completely random places.


Once the walls were completely down, the rest of the construction was easy. Counters, cabinets, shelves, and storage was built by hand. Everything was painted and coated with polyurethane by hand. Fire resistant caulk was used on the stovetops and surrounding walls. The only store bought fixtures are the computer desk and a small wire rack. To see my vision come to life, and to be a part of that birth, was very gratifying. The last step was moving in, and by that I mean unpacking the boxes of molds, colorants, fragrance oils, wick, wax, pots, pouring pitchers, etc., and finding homes for all of those items.


My candle studio can be viewed by following us on Facebook.

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