The Chicken House Studio Part 1: the beginnings

Chicken house masonry building interior as found without doors or windows and strewn with debris and trash.

As we found it

Humid buggy air loitered in the holes where windows and doors once were. The corrugated tin roof was leaky, rusted, and layered over spongy asphalt shingles. On the cobwebbed inside, feathers stuck to chicken wire and translucent snake skins hung from the rafters. The floor was dirt. Its most recent use a convenient and hidden repository of oversized, unwanted, hard to dispose of junk. But it was a sturdy masonry building with a spacious interior.

Plants overtaking the masonry exterior on the south side where the clear story window openings are on the Chicken House Studio.

The south side (clear story windows) as found

A selection of snake skins found in and around the studio. Note the feathers in the center and the dead spider. There is also some foam insulation stuck to one.

studio snake skins

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t mind the smell of earth and metal as we shoveled out the dusty broken glass and nails. Then we hit a hard substance. Investigating further into the dirt we found, oh joy!, a concrete floor.

That August of 1997, toads were rampant underfoot. And I’m sure several met their untimely death at our unknowing feet. We were moving house from the small city of Terre Haute, Indiana across the Wabash River to the rural outskirts of Marshall, Illinois.

But all I could think was Whoowhee dedicated studio space!

The chicken house exterior as we found it. With graffiti, rusted roof, and no door.

Exterior as we found it

We determined that the dirt floor was actually well composted, possibly ancient, chicken litter.  That, along with the chicken wire with feathers and the style of the building, led to dubbing the studio “the chicken house”.  (Although it became more of a dog (and cat) house before it became a full blown studio.)

The Chicken house studio floor now cleaned up and renovations beginning. A door in place, a table saw, ladder and other evidence of work.

cement floor revealed and beginning renovations

We hired out exterior work and electrical service, and made a few improvements ourselves. But you will have to wait for the next installment to see how the studio developed since this picture.

What surprises have you found while cleaning up?    Write it in the comments!

(Read more about the studio, and the studio cat.)

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