Here's My Workshop!
by Matthew X Curry
Bainbridge Island, WA
With a cup of coffee in hand, I am greeted each morning from the front door with this view of my studio and the rather cheery 60 foot commute. This was the draw for purchasing the property 2+ years ago a on a private acre with a bit of water view on Bainbridge Island. The 1200 square foot garage and second floor studio/office had potential!
Before boxes were unpacked we dug in immediately, transforming the space with R-28 insulation, some carefully re-routed electrical - adding 220v power for the table saw and heater, new drywall with a fresh coat of "studio white" paint and a wet-sink for brush clean-up. Most importantly however was going to be the fire-station style, insulated glass garage doors and signature red door with window to help relieve the the long dark brood of Seattle winters as well as bring a bit of garden into the shop.
Upon entering the land of "controlled chaos", a set of stairs goes up to the "clean" studio/office and the main workshop is all bathed in natural light. The lay-out consists of the sink, wall cabinets and main power tools in the rear and three layout tables and a workbench in the center and in front of the glass doors. The behemoth of a two-sided cabinet is in the foreground - a left over from the former owner that is too heavy to move but has proven very useful for storage.
In the center of the space is a customized 2-vice workbench built by friend Jonathan Kinsey with a storage drawer unit that can slide from side to side as I requested knee-space while sitting and drawing. The main power tools are all tied together on the back walls to a 4" dust collector in the corner. Table saw on mobile base, 10" band saw, miter chop saw, bench drill press and lathe sit on more storage cabinets and a second mobile table saw mounted with router accessories are the center of work under a suspended air filter and some supplemental lighting. Say, isn't that a new Highland re-saw bandsaw blade hanging off of the lumber rack?
The 6" jointer, also on mobile base fits nicely under the stairs past the wet-sink. Storage shelving and bins are essential and plentiful as my work incorporates so many different materials. Mainly woodwork but also glass, tiles, laminates, metals, fabrics, natural and found objects all get stirred around in this shop. Ear protection is either on head or on hook in the very center of the room next to the retractable power cord. The location of my glasses are usually less consistent...
The shop-vac can quickly plug into the orbital sander or support the dust collection of the miter saw with a vacuum tube attached to the factory mounted nozzle at the rear. The other blast gates and dust baffles are behind the chop saw.
Upstairs the "clean" section is split into 2 rooms. The North section accommodates my drafting table, art books, various portfolios, guitars and music storage and computer for website updates. Door widening was another priority to open up the South section for light and more delightful airiness. Rather than remove the entire non-bearing wall I realized a display of my graphite drawings and environmental sculptures would be a better idea. Four framed drawings and my sculpture "Airiel" greet on either side of the doorway into the yoga/display/photography annex with more supplemental halogen lighting and flat files for art.
>Yet another worktable is set up for cutting backer boards for art/giclee print work, yoga clothes and mat storage and a nice place to shoot small woodworking projects with mixed natural and spot lighting like for the series of exotic wood boxes being readied for the NW Fine Woodworking Gallery "Box + Container Show" later this year.
Shown here is "Box #6" in Marblewood, East Indian and Bolivian Rosewoods, Iroko, Jatoba and Cocobolo.
Back downstairs for a few more sketches/notes on some more furniture designs and put away some tools...before that long commute back to the red doors of our house.
Thanks for visiting "my workshop"!
You can email Matthew at
or check out his website at
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