Guest Post by Steve Reilly
I found myself in fall of 2009 looking for a work space for my newish architecture firm, SLR Architecture. We had a baby that needed my then current office space as her bedroom so I was on the street. I was faced with the dilemma of shelling out $1,500 to $2,000 per month and commuting someplace else or somehow building my own work space.
I was always intrigued by small structures, especially well designed ones. So being an Architect, I started to draw. I thought long and hard about much space I actually needed, how I would build it, what materials I would use, where would I site it etc. And of course, what the best economic solution was for my business and family.
I liked being close to my family, hated commuting, and I liked to design and build things so the decision was made! I ended up designing a structure that was only 9’x13’ or 117 s.f. reminiscent of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin in Concord, the size was significant because anything over 120 s.f. in my town required a permit, below that nothing. More importantly both the side and rear setbacks to the property line on a structure less than 120 s.f. were 5 feet, anything over that was significantly more. This was a big issue on a postage stamp size lot like mine!
I began looking for salvaged material for my studio and collecting things like doors, windows, lumber, and flooring. In late September I started digging the footing holes for the structure and then something totally crazy happened! Out of the blue I got an e-mail from a friend that the TV show Renovation Nation was looking to shoot an episode in Boston while they were in town. I thought I would pitch a new home I was building for a client so I wrote about that but also by chance I thought my studio might make an interesting TV story so I included that as well. They asked for more info and luckily my wife was formerly in video production so we hammed it up and sent in a demo reel explaining the project and putting our best smiles on. The producers were very excited and bought into it, the race was on!
Now I had to build this thing on their shoot schedule which was only about 2 weeks. You can see the full episode here.
I am really proud of the way SLR Architecture’s studio turned out. I get to be close to my family, save money and the environment. Being on TV wasn’t too bad either. And when my business expands, I have a guest house/play house/home office ready to go!