Jul 142020

Note: This post will be updated as the project continues.
Updates should be every week or so

Two years ago I bought a new (old) house and have been using a small spare bedroom as my studio.

I’m now converting the carport into my new studio and building a store room on the side of the house. Twenty years ago I converted the carport in my old house into a studio and it served me well. This studio will be a very similar design, but modern software tools will allow me to tune the acoustics more precisely.

The plan and what the carport looked like. The door to the laundry (on the right) will be filled in. Click the thumbnails to see the full photos.

The first task after getting the plans drawn up and council approvals was to do some demolition and get a concrete slab put down for the store room. I had originally planned to do all the work myself, but my psoriatic arthritis restricts how much heavy work I can do, so I employed a contractor to lay the slab.

12mm galvanized bar bent at 90 degrees and epoxied into the existing walls to tie the new walls to them.

One issue is that the original corners were rounded so I had to use a diamond saw to carve out a channel that will take structural render to fill it in. I also epoxied some small threaded bars into the wall to help the render grip so hopefully there will be minimal cracking.

The carport roof is held up by wooden posts which will get in the way of the new walls, so I need to replace them with steel posts, which will eventually be embedded in the concrete wall.

I live in a cyclone prone area, so the construction has to be a lot stronger than would be needed in other places. Due to the risk of flood the studio floor has to be raised by 100mm to meet the level of the rest of the house. Also, the carport slab is not strong enough so a reinforced concrete filled bond beam 500mm high needs to be built at the bottom of the wall.

It’s been 20 years since I’ve done any block laying and with the arthritis it’s quite hard going.

I got the concrete contractor back in to lay the 100mm topping slab for the studio floor. This brings the studio floor level to the same height as the rest of the house.

Galvanised steel angle screwed to the existing steel beams to attach the reinforcing dropper bars. The cores will be concrete filled at all these places.


Cutting blocks to fit around the steel posts.

I was unable to find a block layer as the building trades are all very busy at the moment. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to handle the block laying by myself in a sensible time frame I found someone who’s currently out of work due to COVID-19 to help me. We spent a few days getting the bulk of the blocks laid ready for the core fill.

Next I had to cut a number of blocks for the top side of the store room walls. This will be filled with concrete to have a raking bond beam following the roof line.

Getting the cores and bond beams filled with concrete.


The top row of blocks in the studio walls had to be cut to fit around the steel roof beam and vertical reinforcing. I then filled the holes with concrete injected into the blocks with a mortar gun.

Using structural repair mortar to patch the areas where the old rounded corners meet the new walls.

A pole plate made from steel angle is required to attach 4 of the 6 store room roof beams to the studio wall.


Galvanised steel roof beams bolted on. Drilling some of the holes had to be done in situ, which was quite a challenge for me due to the arthritis.


Because this is a cyclone area, the roof battens and sheeting require a certificate from a licensed roofing contractor to prove it has been done properly.  I was having trouble finding an available contractor so I asked the building inspector if I could do it myself and get him to inspect it. He was happy to do it that way, so I asked one of the guys I work with to help me for one day and we got the roof battens and sheeting done. I then completed the rest of the roof over the next 2 days and sent the inspector an email asking to book the inspection. I included 6 detailed pictures of the roof.

The inspector replied that I had done a very good job and there is no need for him to come out and inspect it.

Installing insulation in the store room roof and fitting fibre cement sheeting on the ceiling. That was a challenge for me to do by myself. To hold the sheets up at ceiling level I created a helper by clamping bits of wood onto a ladder and then used another piece of wood wedged into the other end.

Gutter installed, and the eave sheeted and trimmed.

To be continued…

  10 Responses to “New Studio Build – 2020”

  1. Thanks for the comments and words of encouragement, both here and elsewhere.
    I’ve just added a number of extra photos to show more detail in the earlier stages of the project.

  2. 👀 great 👋👍

  3. I don’t know how you can do all of it. I hope it’s finished and can be used before too long

  4. 101 ways to self isolate.. build a studio 👍😆😁
    Looking forward to seeing and hearing what comes out of it.

    The spam filter said to do some math…. nine – six. So I type three and didn’t work… I’ll try 3

  5. So much work for one little room… 🙂 but it’s looking good and hopefully it will be finished by time I can get up there again.

  6. Looking great so far, and knowing you well, will mean it will be something spectacular once completed.

  7. Looking good!

  8. Looks GREAT, Mike. Best of Luck with your New Studio.

  9. Looks great! Nice to see you’re still into music.

  10. Looking great so far

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