Costs… so many costs

No photos this time I’m afraid but, having (pretty much) finished the studio, I thought it might be worthwhile/informative for anyone planning the same thing to have a summary of the costs along with any spurious thoughts I may have about where I could have saved cash.

So. What did the studio as seen, a bunch of electrics in the garage, and two bulk bags of wood offcuts cost? £6833.00 – that’s what.

There’s a full breakdown below but first, my comments:

  • The electrics and wiring were pretty expensive due to [1] needing to put in a new consumer unit and [2] the set of lights and sockets that were put into the garage. Subtract about £300 from the materials costs if you don’t need these.
  • Oh my life the paint was expensive but, once you work it out actually it’s about right. The surface area of the studio is about 35sqm. The outside got four coats as did the inside (280sqm) plus undercoat (2), interior wood paint (1), and exterior wood paint (2). A 2.5 litre tin of paint covers about 20sqm so, in total, we used 19+ tins of paint. £15 each? Oh my life.
  • We used felt shingles for the roof over underlay because we wanted a ’tile like’ roof finish. Compare the cost at Wickes but I guess you could halve this by using roofing felt.
  • The base was also pretty expensive but, as you can see from the photos, it was a fairly complex beast involving a wall, steps, and large amounts of shuttering. Again I guess you could halve this.
  • £280 of clearing the site was getting rid of the corrugated asbestos roof from the old shed. The remainder was a couple of skips.

Hope this helps. Full breakdown below.


Materials £5570
Electrics and Wiring £628
Furnishing £209
Internal Structure £745
Paint and Finishing £372
Roofing £424
Base £723
Insulation £270
External Structure £2199
Tools £311
Buy £249
Hire £62
Labour and Services £952
Electrics and Wiring £280
Site Clearance £672

Build complete.

Last week saw Sal and myself make the last big push towards completing the studio. It was a pretty busy week and the workload failed completely to respect the fact that both Sal and I work full time (damn studio). Our (rather bleak) week looked like:

  • Monday evening: Paint walls and roof with white plasterboard sealing paint.
  • Tuesday evening: Paint second coat of white of walls and roof.
  • Wednesday morning (6 a.m.): Paint first coat of colour on walls. Third coat of white on ceiling.
  • Wednesday lunchtime: Paint second coat of colour on walls.
  • Wednesday evening: Paint door frame.
  • Thursday lunchtime: Carpet fitters put in the carpet.
  • Thursday evening: Cut trim strips and undercoat. Cut skirting and undercoat.
  • Friday afternoon/evening: Paint trim strips. Paint skirting.

And that brought us to the end of one hectic week – the first photo above shows the state of the studio at the end of the week.

On Saturday we dedicated ourselves to finishing off the internal fit out. Firstly this involved pressing pipe insulation into the gap between the top of the wall and putting the trimming strips over the top. The purpose of the pipe insulation is to provide a layer that will expand and contract with the external structure as heat and moisture take their toll. Photo 2 shows the pipe insulation in situ with photos 3 and 4 showing the inside after the trim strip has been fixed. The trim is fixed with a 10mm gap above that I can monitor as the studio changes size – its only fixed to the wall with pins so it can be easily adjusted.

On Sunday Sal finished off the painting of the window and door frames and I busied myself with running cables. I ran two cat5e cables from the office at the front of the house, along the side wall of the house, across a wooden strut 2m up and into the garage. From there they joined the already connected cables in the garage. The co-ax came down the side of the house from the booster in the loft and followed the same path to join the cables in the garage.

Photos 5 and 6 show the completed studio before we moved Sal in on Sunday evening. We’re both really pleased with how it looks and it, just about, fits all her stuff in it. Good times. There’s obviously a bit of finishing here and there (guttering for instance) but I won’t bore you with that – I’m sure you can imagine how guttering will look.

Whilst this is the end of the studio story there will be a couple of other posts before it gets put to bed. Next up is an analysis of the costs we actually incurred with a final set of thoughts on what I’d do next time.

The end is nigh!

In the last couple of weeks Sal and I have been busy doing a whole bunch of stuff. So…

10 days ago ‘Justin the Electrician’ arrived to bring power to the studio (amongst other things). In totality the work he did was:

  • Amoured cable from the meter into the garage.
  • Put in a new consumer unit in the garage.
  • Checked, wired up, and tested the sockets and new lighting in the garage.
  • Checked, wired up, and tested the sockets and lighting in the studio.

The power gets to the garage along the side of the house and then through a trench. The gap between the garage and the studio (50cm) is bridged with conduit. You can see in the second photo, from inside the garage, the backs of 2 conduit bridges. The one on the left is for the power with the one on the right carrying co-ax and 3 * cat5e – one of which will actually be for a phone.

After Justin had finished we ran the AV/network/etc cabling (as you can see in photos 1, 3, and 4) and finished the insulation and plasterboarding. Something we added in was a panel of 12mm plywood in the middle of the wall to take a mounting for a TV – not strictly necessary but it means that we can be a bit more flexible about mountings and positioning.

After this we went through the tortuous process of filling all the screw heads and gaps around plasterboard… and then sanding them all flat before putting a base coat over the whole lot.

No costs this time as I want to save that for the end. Carpet fitters arrive Thurs and we’d better have the painting finished by then!