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Finding the perfect home studio space

By Amy Nielsen

I have a horrible habit of stalking the local real estate market. I love the house we live in. The property is beautiful. We have great neighbors and dear friends who live just a few miles away. The town has it’s quirks to say the least. But it’s the house we bought. As I have developed my path and envision my future and intertwined with that, my family’s trajectory, I know that we will not be in this house long.

We bought this property long before I started thinking about the path I am on now. When we purchased it I was of the mind that I would have different needs. As I have developed my vision of the future, I keep running up against the need for a dedicated space of my own with a teaching kitchen and space to do outside projects. It would have to be somewhere that the neighbors don’t mind a small business that occasionally smells funny or drums a bit into the night. It would also have to work as a home for us or have two buildings, one for the studio kitchen and one for us to live in.

Yesterday as we were finishing up our homeschool math camp at a friend’s house, she happened to pipe up that the house next door was just staged for sale. So being me and knowing that it was empty – you know you would too – I went and peeked in the windows.

It’s perfect.

Except that it has electric stoves. Cannot deal with electric stove, they will be propane. 

I need to reconfigure the teaching kitchen a little, but it has two full functioning kitchens – one in a room large enough to have a classroom kitchen and separate enough from the rest of the house to work in after bedtime, and not in the basement; the other is on the shared wall and is the through room from the studio to the house, a lovely division. There is a really nice functioning outdoor grill area with a permanent pergola. Fencing the back of the yard for a puppy play area would be simple, leaving plenty of the yard for kid play. There are even two well defined driveways so I could mark the studio entrance on the opposite side of the yard from the house entrance.

I couldn’t see in the garage/bungalow building, but the roof looked to be in good shape. I fully expect to have to build out a whole new building for this little studio anyway. This could be a bonus space for indoor classes. I have looked at several different buildings with much more grandiose plans in mind. As I have gotten farther along in my studies my plans have tightened and the space I feel like I need has condensed into a small studio from a large community center.

If I can figure out how to swing this place now before the season starts I can get advertising for the summer traffic. Our neighbors would be our dear friends on one side and another new family on the other side in a new construction house. That’s it, three houses on the street, tucked back behind in a little nook, right off the main drag in town. It has a full acre of land and woods surrounding it, owned by people we know. Our homeschool co-op meets in the same town – get this - within walking distance. There is a beautiful active library, a thriving private school should we need it, and even a well-stocked locally owned super market.

Most of our friends pass through this town at least once a week if not once a day. We have been feeling very isolated as a family living 45 minutes away from the majority of our tribe. It is equidistant from our current house to my husband’s job. In fact the trip is a little easier as it is a straight shot up the same road. It puts us in a better location to be reached on and off the major highways travelled by far flung friends who visit occasionally. Oh and if the garage/bungalow is what I think it is, we will have a whole guest house.

I need to explore the zoning in town, though I know many practitioners who work out of their homes in the community. The large and active integrative health community in town is a large part of why I want to base my practice there. Because of the other and varied modalities found, I think I can carve out my particular niche within it. I do something similar yet different enough, and if I have my own space to do it in, I can really run with my plans. Being part of an established business community would be a great benefit to building a practice of my own.

Did I just convince myself to buy a house?

That would mean prepping and selling this house quickly. I know the area the studio house is located in and it will go fast. If they have an open house this weekend, they will get offers. Of course this comes in the middle of my Master’s program, when I know we are moving into 12 weeks of traveling treatments for my daughter, multiple trips to prepaid events, and mud season.

I’d have to sell my RV to make the down payment and for that my eldest daughter may never forgive me. She is convinced that her first vehicle will be an RV. I do not for a second put it past her if it is even remotely within reach for her to accomplish. However, that doesn’t fix that we have several plans made this summer that involve travel with the RV. Not a hardship to change the plans as nothing is paid for yet, but still a radical change in familial direction and possibly expense.

I feel like I’m standing at crossroads. I have been complaining for ages that we are just too far away from where the action is. This would certainly put us squarely in the middle of the action. It is a thriving community with a great tax base and socially active and progressive thinking people. The town has fieldstone walls lining the streets and ancient trees. There is an active and growing integrative health community.

In my early morning fog, I think I even emailed the listing agent. I need to see this house. Today if I can.

It’s perfect.

Except electric stoves.

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