Washington-based Calico Studio have designed the Nautilus Studio.

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Description from Calico Studio

Most artists if pressed could work in the most awkward of spaces, adapting to their means. Our artist wanted a space that would call her to create. The studio is tucked in between existing trees in close proximity to the main house providing a visual connection to her family that can easily be broken and re-established.

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We found inspiration in the spirals of the Nautilus, which are reflected in the studios placement on the site and in the section of the building. Conversations are natural occurrences on the front porch under the far-reaching overhang, protecting visitors from seasonal rain and direct sun in the summer.

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We put much effort into finding materials that are reminiscent of ancient cathedrals, but modern in their efficiencies. AAC, aerated autoclave concrete, masonry was chosen for its insulating properties and aesthetically to ground the building. We were also looking for a material to balance the cool white block walls and we found humble OSB.

Most readily used underneath materials we brought OSB front and center. On the ceiling it is raw and as a skin for our casework and support spaces it is stained with a semi transparent finish. Our textile artist retreats inside under custom glulam beams that stretch in broad areas capturing and bouncing natural light into the workspace.

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By broadening the underside, the exposed beams reach from inside the studio out into a six-foot overhang toward the landscape and main house creating a haven for the family to gather and relax. The wedge shape for the studio is based on a golden rectangle that was squeezed by sight constraints. The loft acts as a girdle to provide stability to our long tall east wall.

The open workspaces are split into a dry space for textiles and wet for painting. The spaces are flexible and the custom wheeled furniture can be set up on the fly to adjust to the needs of the artist. A downed cedar tree milled onsite was utilized for the furniture. The overhang was designed using sun diagrams to prevent direct sunlight from bleaching the textiles inside.

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Accessibility to the loft storage is achieved with adjustable custom metal ladder. We needed a way to get larger supplies to the loft easily and fashioned a block and pulley system using an antique hay trolley and marine cleats. The shape of the roof implies a passing breeze or a rolling wave, spurring camaraderie.

White dapples light reflects off the walls onto the terrace, providing areas for conversation or spontaneous inspiration. The nautilus studio utilizes a straightforward pallet; where color, texture and pattern work with shape and structure to provide a calm cantered space that is also ready for the unexpected whims of its artist.

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Architects: Calico Studio