The Rock'n'Roll Studio Shed - How to run an international music business from a 12x8 timber building

The year 2008, Paul Wolfe's wife was expecting their first son and the spare room that he was using as a home office was soon to be rechristened the nursery. This upcoming event was putting pressure on exactly where Paul was to relocate the fledgling business that he was running. The main business providing bands to play at corporate events had been hit hard by the credit crunch. A second business a fledgling guitar coaching business was still in its infancy.

So funds were tight.

rock and roll shed Paul Wolfe

The problem was where could Paul work from that wouldn't cost a fortune in rent and he wouldn't be disturbed by the constant comings and goings of a young family?

Paul spoke with a builder friend and together they came up with the concept running the businesses from a studio shed at the bottom of the garden

The idea of a garden office was born

rock and roll shed The Rock and Roll Shed

The size of the new studio shed was determined by the size of the garden and the existing concrete base that was there already. The size of the shed is a relatively modest 12'x8'.

The basic frame of the shed was formed from 4x2 timbers with osb (oriented strand board) on the internal face and ship lap timber on the outside. A layer of fibreglass insulation was incorporated between these two layers to keep the shed warmer in winter and cool in summer.

The roof comprises three simple roof trusses with purlins running between them. The trusses and purlins support a chipboard deck with a layer of waterproofing felt over. A layer of insulation was then placed over the felt with a layer of overlapping cedar shingles to form the main water and weatherproofing layer.

The door and the single window of the studio shed were formed from standard building components. As Paul was running a business from the shed he needed the security of the solid door frame and mortice lock.

rock and roll shed View of the front of the studio shed

The shed has a electrical power and a phone cable to connect the business with the outside world.

Now that you have a picture of the studio shed.

Just what does Paul accomplish in such a small place?

The band booking business that was the cornerstone of the family income never recovered its former glory and although it is still runs it makes a fraction of the income that it did.

rock and roll shed Inside the shed - space is tight!

However, the guitar teaching business has flourished, now has more than 800 students from all over the world. The coaching videos on Pauls Youtube channel have racked up more than 2 milion combined views.

The videos are an important part of the business and they are all recorded in the shed. The videos show Paul playing the bass guitar and explaining the key points to his students. To achieve the recording Paul uses the blackout blind you can see in the picture as the backdrop for his videos and because of the small space balances the camera on the top of a pile of books on a chair which has to pushed all the way to the back wall to get a reasonable camera shot.

rock and roll shed The set up for shooting video

The results of this have become increasingly professional and the internet guitar lessons have become a fine art.

Paul creates a video each week for the viewers of his channel.

The rest of the time the shed is used as a writing studio

Pauls paying customers get 40 pages of weekly lessons to help them improve their guitar skills. To enable Paul to create such a large volume of output one wall of the shed is devoted to bookshelves where Paul keeps his music books and music.

The set up that Paul has created really seems to suit his needs he gets a huge amount of productivity out of this small space.

What are the problems that Paul has encountered working from the studio shed?

Of course it would be great if the shed could be twice its current size, however Paul overcomes this by organising the shed to suit his very particular business requirements.

Apart from the shed being a bit too small it does get cold in winter. This is a common problem for garden sheds which often don't have enough insulation. To overcome the heat issue Paul uses a small fan heater to heat up the small space if this needs a boost the lights that he uses for filming give the heat a significant boost.

On the other side of the coin in the summer the lights can make the shed/studio unbearably hot so he has to try and film either in the early morning when it is relatively cool or at night time when it is cooler.

Another problem is the communications to the studio shed have become increasingly iffy over time. Paul puts this down to squirrels or mice nibbling the insulation off the telephone wire. The electricity cable is unaffected as it is normally protected by steel sheath beyond the capacity of rodent teeth.

To overcome the problem of a dodgy internet connection Paul uses a plug-in USB adaptor that takes the signal through the power lines. This solution is often adopted by shedworkers who find that their shed is beyond the reach of their home wifi.

Both of these problems have fairly simple solutions and Paul is very happy with the state of his growing small business.

It is not just the business that is growing

The original reason that made Paul move the business out of the house and into the garden now has a younger brother. So the studio shed at the bottom of the garden is a very welcome space for some peace and quiet from family life as well as being an excellent location to run a business from.

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