Hey there, strangers! I’ve been away from it all for a few weeks now, but I should be easing back into my online routine soon enough. Long story short: I bought a house and moved back home to north Idaho. If you want the longer version and some pics of the property, check out my article on Epic Edits.
With this new house, a new darkroom must be established (a top priority of course!). And I’m not just talking about using the bathroom as a makeshift darkroom — this is for keeps.
The front of the house has an 8-foot deep porch that just so happens to be enclosed and finished. Essentially, it’s a free-standing (but attached) extension of the house. We could use this extra space for all sorts of things, but I’ve staked a claim on a 19-foot section of it. So here’s the empty layout as it stands now:
It’s not a huge space, but it should work out for what I need. I’m thinking that I could divide the space into a darkroom and a computer office. Having the office outside of the main living space would be a perk for the times that I need to get work done on the computer.
For the darkroom, I’ve got electricity, but I’ll have to run water and drains (so those can be put anywhere I choose). Here’s a first draft at my conceptual layout for the office and darkroom:
The office would be small, but it’s not so bad with a big window directly in front of the desk. In fact, it’s about the size of a cubicle… but most cubicles don’t have the view that I do! I’ll probably build a custom desk along the entire wall with appropriate shelves and cubbies for the printer, scanner, tower, speakers, etc.
The darkroom would be a decent size, though I wouldn’t mind a few more feet on the short edge just to make things more open. Of course, all the windows will need to be sealed or blacked out. Using the two long walls, I think it would be best to have one dry side and one wet side.
On the dry side, a bench for the enlarger with enough room for a 16×20 easel and some extra space for random tools and objects that get used while printing. This bench will probably be 2.5-feet deep. Below the bench could be storage for extra easels, enlarger heads, lenses, paper, and other dry goods.
On the same side, another dry bench for… whatever. I’m sure I’ll use it for something. Checking prints, matting, framing, flipping through my books of negatives, etc. And again, more storage below the bench, and again, 2.5-feet deep.
On the wet side, I’ll probably do one big bench with a couple of sinks near the end. I think 2-feet deep should be plenty of room. The working area should be large enough to hold 4 16×20 trays in case I want to do toning. The sinks should be fairly large too — one for washing prints, and one for additional sink usage while washing. At the very end of the wet bench, an angled slab for drying prints with the squeegee. And below the wet bench, chemical storage and a place for my Jobos to live while not in use.
Certainly, there are a ton of other details to take care of along the way, but I want to get a good basic design in place before we start building.
With the space given, how would you build your darkroom and/or office? Are there any major considerations that I’m forgetting here?