An Exciting Studio Design Development

The whole “it’s too pretty to be called a carport” structure project has been very exciting for me from the beginning, but yesterday was a momentous occasion. It was the day I’ve been awaiting for over a month. It was the day that they finally removed the old low ceiling from the back part of the studio.

If you’ll remember, this area used to be a dark and kind of scary storage closet that housed a huge furnace. Here’s the side that now houses the new HVAC for the studio…

And this side is where the half bathroom is now. This was taken after the huge furnace was removed…

But you can see how dark and cave-like that area used to be with the tar paper walls and the low ceiling.

So when the studio was framed, I had those guys create a larger opening into this back area, add French doors, and partition part of it off as a half bathroom. You can see the pocket door framing for the bathroom to the left of the French doors here…

And while that was a huge improvement over the dark cave that was there originally, I still had that awful low ceiling that was about seven feet tall on the back wall.

When the carport project first started, and we talked about how the new roof would tie into the old roof, I knew that would solve the low ceiling problem at the back of this room. But I had planned on ending up with an eight-foot ceiling with plenty of space above the ceiling joists to run air ducts.

So yesterday, I literally sat in a chair in the studio and watched as they dismantled that old ceiling piece by piece, and what they revealed was glorious. Just look!

And after seeing that, I can tell you that there’s no way I can bear to cover that up with an eight-foot ceiling.

But one thing I absolutely need is symmetry. I don’t always need symmetry in decorating (furniture, accessories, etc.), but in major room design decisions that require actual framing around French doors and such, my brain needs symmetry. My brain requires symmetry. My brain would be driven absolutely mad with an asymmetrical vaulted ceiling.

So since the symmetry of that vaulted ceiling has been thrown off by the pocket door wall of the half bathroom, I’m going to have them replicate that exact wall on the other side of the French doors to create a closet on that side.

The wall for the closet is going to have the same size pocket door as the bathroom wall, and will be set the exact distance from the doors. And they’ll both be framed all the way up to the new ceiling height. The bathroom wall framing will need to be redone a bit so that it goes all the way up, because right now it’s still slanted and only goes up seven feet on the back wall…

So that will need some extra framing, and then the new closet wall will be built correctly from the start…obviously. 🙂

Not only will the addition of this closet give me the perfect symmetry and balance, but it’ll give me a very convenient spot to store my miter saw and table saw. And if I make some rolling tables to mount those on, it would make my life so much easier! When I need to use them, I can just roll them out of the closet, out the back doors, down the ramp, and to the carport. Yes, I’m going to lose my little mudroom area, but it was going to be so small that it wasn’t going to be too terribly useful anyway. This closet will be far more useful for me.

But with that decided, I still had one roadblock. Where would the air ducts go if I don’t have any type of attic space in the vaulted ceiling area?

You might remember me saying a while back that this carport addition would possibly remedy one other problem, but I was going to hold off on sharing it until I knew more. Well, the problem I needed to remedy was this mess of air ducts that were squeezed between the top plate of the wall and the roof decking, and that were going to be absolutely squished between 2″ x 6″ rafters and really needed far more room (and far less snaking through the ceiling) to be efficient.

The whole advantage of having the 8-foot ceiling joists at the back was to create an attic space where those ducts could run, completely free from being squished, and without having to travel so far and snake around the ceiling to reach their destinations. After all, two of those ducts were for the half bathroom and pantry, which are about eight and sixteen feet away from the unit, and yet I had about 50 feet of ductwork snaking through the rafters to get to those rooms. Talk about inefficient! With that new attic space, it would be a straight shot from the unit to their destinations.

I kept thinking, “If I don’t add ceiling joists and have space above, where am I going to run the air ducts?”

So I sat, and I stared, and I thought, and I dreamed, and I schemed, and then it dawned on me. There’s PLENTY of room on top of the original roof!

On this side of the studio, almost the entire original roof has been covered over with a new, higher roof. If I stand with my back against the French doors and look towards the studio, you can see what I mean.

In that picture above, you can see the top beam for the cased opening. Just above that is the top place for that wall. On top of that is the original rafters (pointing right at me), and above that is the original roof. But as you can see, the new roof completely covers over a large portion of the original roof, creating an empty space up there that’s big enough to run twenty air ducts!

I climbed up on a ladder to get a better view…

So what that means is that the air ducts can run up from the unit (that will now be in a closet), up onto the original roof, and then to wherever they need to go.

And any portion of the shingles and decking can be removed from the original roof (as long as the rafters remain intact) to get the two air ducts to the center of the studio.

I mean, I couldn’t have planned this better had I tried. 😀 All of these little issues that I had with this back area have been solved, and I get to keep the vaulted ceiling above the French doors. This is far better than I had expected!



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  1. Love the vault above the french doors and the duct solution!

    I’m totally loving the storage room, especially putting the large tools on casters:)

  2. Great plans! I believe you know this somewhat already but more of a heads up. Sawdust and HVAC don’t mix. To take it further, I suggest investing in a blower and blowing off the tools before you bring them in, to make clean up easier.

    In my old place it had a large unfinished portion next to the utility area we used as a workshop. Since there was a convenient studded wall with doorway, painters plastic was stapled and a tarp door created to keep dust away from the Utility area. The rest of the utility area got shelved to become a storage room.

  3. I understand you must for symmetry. Others do not understand when you explain yourself. My hubby installed a light over our tub, in front of a window, and it is not lined up my way. He keeps telling me it is OK. I give him a look – you know the look – if looks could kill. I may have someone in to fix this but I will have to send my love on a trip.

  4. Oh I love the raised ceiling! And the closet for large tools seems to be a perfect setup for you. It’s looking great!

  5. Love the new vaulted ceiling above the French doors, what a difference, and the solution for the ducting. Sorry you’ll be losing the mudroom, but I also understand that any storage is king! Is there no way to somehow incorporate the two?

    1. I am wondering if she could keep the wall there so it is still symmetrical, but maybe do an inset mudroom on the wall? So the actual mudroom lockers/cabinet would stick into the closet?

  6. VaVaVaVooooommmmm!👍
    Nothing feels better than ceiling height looks!! ( it must be a Texas thang!)😊
    It’s really coming along!!!

    1. AGREE 100% but its not just a Texas thang cause I’m in GA and they are becoming a hallmark in the homes, either vaulted, treyed, or raised in some way. My house only has 8 ft. ceilings on the second floor and the great room up there is vaulted. LOVE the spaciousness it seems to add.

      Kristi, I’m so thrilled for you that it worked out so well, especially with the duct work. I can sympathize with that problem only I have to live with the weird way they ran the duct work for the first floor in my house since we didn’t have it built. The placement of the furnace and AC unit was wrong, they only put one vent in the Master bedroom and the length and positioning of the duct work is also wrong so the Master Suite runs several degrees hotter in the summer than the rest of the downstairs and sometimes doesn’t cool down until after 1:00 am. I always have the ceiling fan going as well as a standing fan. I can have it fixed by replacing the unit (which is about 19 yrs. old) and the duct work redone if I want to fork out a minimum of $12,000 to $15,000. Jeez!
      The least distance duct work has to go the better.

  7. Either you are living right, or Cooper is your good luck charm. This is great news, and I’m happy for you that it worked out so well! It’s going to look amazing.

  8. Lucky accident! So are you having vaulted ceilings in the bathroom and closet as well? That’s what I’m gathering, but maybe I need to re-read? Will there also be a door from the studio into this space, or will it be open?

  9. I’m so excited for you. You totally deserve this wonderful space. I hope when it is finished that it will be everything you want. You’ve worked so hard on turning your house into a beautiful home.

  10. I am totally thrilled for and with you for the arrival of all these absolutely wonderful solutions… one step at a time. You have a team out here rooting for you and this current HUGE project! God bless you in your excitement and kindness in sharing!

  11. Yay!! I’m so glad your plans worked themselves out! I can’t wait to see what you plan next for your space.

  12. Congratulations on your progress. I don’t totally understand your duct options, but I can tell you we have a cooling duct very close to the roof in a dormer build-out by a previous owner, and we get almost no cool air in that upstairs room, even though the AC unit is only 20 feet away. And we live in northern Ohio. Under a canopy of oak trees.