A Modern Live-Work Studio in Rhode Island

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By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.