The Inside Out: Jill’s Stage
Location: inside her Financial District apartment
Size: 60 sqft
Favorite: that it’s a stage as well as storage
I built a stage in my living room for a number of really good reasons. First of all, one never knows when one will have to host an impromptu or scheduled performance. Second of all, with high ceilings, vertical storage seemed like the answer to my dearth of traditional closet space. Lastly, the ship ladder to my loft bedroom can now touch down 2 feet higher from the ground and thus become less ship-like and more normal-like in its steepness.
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I thought I would hire someone to make me this stage and then, after about 6 months of talking about it, I decided I could do it myself. I asked a couple of carpenters in my life for advice, over the phone. (I wouldn’t recommend this approach–the phone part, that is!) I had been collecting wood from dumpsters in my neighborhood so I had enough for all of the base supports but not the really long 2×4’s and 2×6’s. It was a very cold day in December and my sister was in town so we went lumber shopping. We then carried 10 pieces of 10′ long wood to my house on our heads in two trips. The people at the lumber store on Walker near Canal not only sold me all this wood but also cut my found wood to the exact sizes I requested.
Once I had all the supplies, had found all the studs in my walls, and had used my trusty level to make sure all the pencil lines were straight, I started the project. It took me about a month of work—part time. The hard part was finding the perfect object to keep the beams at the right heights while I attached them to other pieces of wood, or to brackets. Metal studs are great, but I still used small pieces of wood to prop up the main beams as a back up to keep the stage standing. The other larger and more eternal problem is that nothing in my apartment is even or level! As much as I tried to fight that, there remains a small discrepancy in the height. This will become evident when I attach my plexiglass panels.