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InScale Architects of Warren, PA, - a company that specializes in sustainable, low-impact architecture - helped me design my new studio incorporating as many 'green' technologies as possible. Construction began in fall of 2008 and the last little details were finished in July 2009. I was able to be inside and work sometime around February, I think. (You can see their photos of this project here.)

I opted to use insulated concrete forms (ICF) for the lower walls which were then earth-bermed to effect the greatest insulating qualities; sprayed urethane interior insulation; radiant floor heating; heat recovery ventilation to minimize heat loss when exchanging inside air for outside air in winter; ultra-low flush toilet; tankless hot water; dimmers on all lights. And most likely a lot of other things I am not thinking of at the moment.

Being the sort of painter I am, it was very important to minimize the amount of painting that could be done ON the building, as any painted surface is a temptation to tweak and revise ad infinitum. So I have only the trim to toy with now, and have initially chosen a spring green that will be most welcome in the winter months. They haven't really taken hold yet, but all around the studio is entirely planted in wildflowers, so we'll see what color is to come there!

Natural light is of utmost importance to me, as I find it impossible to paint under the limited spectrum of any kind of artificial light. (It makes me blind to subtleties which invariably show up as mistakes the next day in natural light.) So the interior is painted as white as can be, and even the concrete floor is painted just a bit gray of white, in order to bounce around as much light as possible, with as little bias as possible. Of course the green trees make their influence, but that is something I can live with. The windows are clustered to the north to accept only the most even light of day, and my 'oculus' - as I call the eight-by-eight-foot skylight - lets in a great amount of mostly northern light. On a cloudy dark day, it is happily very light inside!

The architects' website has far more pictures than here, and perhaps far better ones at that, including construction photos. Check them out if you want to see more. InScale Architects PC. Jeff and Donna and Bryan were great to work with, and I am sure they would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

If you would like to visit me in my new space, please call or send me an email to schedule a visit.


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