A Music Studio of His Own

Most performers love to bring down the house. Unless it’s their own house.

“My wife, Vanessa, married me knowing I’m a musician,” says drummer Marty Mead of Denver. Though no longer a fulltime professional musician, the drums remain a vital part of his life.

Today, happily married for 20 years, with two boys aged 13 and 10, he juggles family life with regular nighttime gigs at local jazz clubs plus a full-time, non-music daytime career. But drummers need to drum, and that’s not always compatible with sharing a small house with a young family.
“I’m a drummer. I’ll always play. I’ve known the guys I play with for decades now. We can improvise all night. But, more and more, when I played at home, my drumming was too loud.”

MM-retouched-1-1024x704-572x252Mead needed someway to play at home where he could let loose without worrying about subjecting the others to his decibel levels. He tried electronic drums with headphones but hated them. The feel was all wrong. Last fall he talked to his wife and together they decided to come up with a plan.

“Originally we considered building an addition on the house,” says Marty of their 1908 two-story mustard-yellow brick colonial on a tree-lined street in downtown Denver. “But the budget estimates came in at $135,000 and we didn’t want to spend that much when all we really needed was one extra room.”

Their next plan explored the possibility of converting the garage or maybe building a shed out back. “That’s when we found Studio Shed online and checked out their designs,” said Marty. “We thought: this will definitely work. And we loved their look, so elegant — not like a shed at all. We realized I could have a real music studio.”

In December Marty ordered a 12’ x 18’ Collins Plank model Studio Shed, including a custom mustard-yellow exterior to match the siding and trim of the house. Three months later, once winter’s worst had passed, Studio Shed’s installers put up the structure on a cement foundation in the backyard, one minute walk from the back door, just beyond the garage. Zoning was not an issue.

Marty chose his Studio Shed features with security and temperature- and sound-control in mind. He limited his windows to a row of clerestory windows along the front and selected a steel door. Once the structure was up, he tied it into his home alarm system and began finishing the interior to meet his musician’s needs.

MM-retouched-3-1024x680-572x252“We didn’t cut any corners,” he says happily. “First we soundproofed with sound-absorbent green glue between two layers of drywall. Then we installed bamboo flooring and an in-wall split a.c./heating unit that keeps the temperature and humidity exactly where you want it to be for musical instruments.” He added sound quilts and acoustic foam.

“This studio is my sanctuary, but it gives peace of mind to all of us,” says Marty. “Now I can play anytime I want – and I want to play all the time, knowing I won’t disturb anyone at our house or in the neighborhood. Inside, the sound is natural and warm. The inside-outside sound exchange is so muffled I don’t hear anything out there and vice versa.”

When Marty’s wife walked in the first time, she said to him, ‘Wow, you have the nicest room on our property, probably the whole block!’ She came up with ideas for landscaping around the studio, adding a flagstone path plus brick window boxes to tie in with the house façade.

With plenty of room to spare, he brought his bike and golf gear out of the basement and moved them in the new studio, too, where they’re much more accessible. He even got a tall mirror for practicing his golf swing. “The ceilings are nine feet high!” says Marty.

MM-retouched-4-1024x680-572x252And he plays his drums. A lot. “I practice for an hour everyday before heading to work,” he says. “The guys come here to rehearse now. We can play any time. My studio is all about freedom.”

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