A Modern Live-Work Studio in Rhode Island

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By William Lamb
A creative couple find space in their side yard for a versatile outbuilding.

Jane Wright, a painter and printmaker, and her husband, Dan, an attorney and musician, wanted to build a freestanding studio outside their home in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The idea was for each of them to have a space where they could get away to be creative without being disturbed, or disturbing others. Having some room for guests would be an added bonus.

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Jane and Dan Wright furnished the living space of their new studio building with a rug from West Elm and a wood stove from Morsø.

The side yard was a logical space, but budgetary constraints and local zoning rules limited them to a 700-square-foot space. Working with Estes/Twombly Architects of Newport, Rhode Island, they sited the building on the lot’s northeastern corner to block the brisk winter winds from the nearby Narragansett Bay while creating a sheltered yard between the two buildings.

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The studio building was sited to shield the property from gusty winds off the Narragansett Bay, creating a sheltered yard between the two structures.

The studio building is divided into two wings; one houses Jane’s studio, the other a small sitting room where Dan plays music. The space is adjacent to a home recording studio, with a small sleeping loft tucked above.

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The siding is locally milled native white pine, with plywood soffits and Andersen windows.

Double-size windows draw in plenty of natural light, while the slab-on-grade construction helped hold the building cost to $160 per square foot. (Stained poplar flooring was used in the music wing.) The siding is locally milled native white pine.

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The stair wall is clad in tongue-and-groove boards. Drywall was used for most of the other interior surfaces, with poplar trim.

The Wrights are enjoying their studio building. It has given Dan a place to play and record music with his band, and it has served as a launching pad for Jane’s new interior design business, Roost Modern.

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Jane Wright, a painter and printmaker, uses one end of the building as a studio. The space served as a lanuching pad for her new interior design business, Roost Modern.

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Oversize, double-hung windows draw natural light into the space.

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The combination of slab-on-grade construction and carefully considered material choices, including poplar flooring in the music wing, helped keep building costs to $160 per square foot.