Views around the Studio

Thought you might like to see some shots of what surrounds me on a daily basis. Sure, shop photo’s are OK,,but piles of tools and heaps of wood chips don’t tell the whole story. There are other facets to my daily life and here are some. Please click the images for a larger view.

I bought the house when I was 19. Been here 32 yrs now. At one time I  thought of selling but decided instead to by the property next door,,  take down the house that was there ( damaged in a fire) and have more property.Did that myself. I’m in the city so I welcomed the extra land. Here is what I’ve done with it.

IMG_5385 This is the view from my back door heading to the Studio. At one time it was the door to the right, a single car garage. Now it’s the door to the left. I’ve recently built this patio and the Pergola roof. I’ve just planted the wisteria to the lower left to grow over it. With a bistro table, perimiter lighting as well as  mini lights hidden overhead, It’s a great space to be in the evening with a glass of wine.
IMG_5386 Turning to the left will take you to the lower patio/deck. That is my herb garden in it’s infancy just to the right. Handy by the kitchen door and smells wonderful ( lavender) as you’re sitting on the patio.That’s the Studio ( where the old house used to be) All the hanging planters were just done so they’re not in their prime quite yet.
IMG_5387 Standing on the patio in front of my studio door looking down towards the lower deck/yard. All of this was once flat as a pancake. I had to build the levels and terraces. Actually everything you see here I built myself. Brick, block, concrete, buildings ,wiring etc. Actually most all the plants I started myself from cuttings ( amazing what a little Butyric Acid will do) or seeds or just one pint plants.At one time I was a Biology major.
IMG_5388 Heading towards the path ( one of two ways) that leads to the lower level of the yard.  Since these pics, many new annuals have been added. And in that blank spot framed by the post will be Elephant ears. Last year they grew to 4 ft in length and 3 feet in width. That space won’t be empty for long.I’ve been cultivating them for some time and they are doing very well .
IMG_5397 A partial view overlooking part of the lower deck ( which is to be replaced with brick to match the upper this summer) , part of the fish pond and rest of the yard.
IMG_5389 Where I’m standing now used to stand a 50  ft rotting apple tree with a broken , cracked , crumbling side walk leading away and the rest of what you see was an overgrown weedbed 6  ft high.. It’s now my lower yard. Small but manageable.
IMG_5390 Looking back to where the last picture was taken. You can see part of the lower deck and roof on the right and my studio is the blue building at the far end. In the deck I have part of the fish pond extending into it.I also have ceiling fans.. track lights on dimmers.. a sound system, “mood lighting” , accent lighting, It’s a nice place to live during the summer.  I’ve added more planting beds and islands in the effort to eliminate cutting the grass. Now I spend my time fussing over plants..planting,,weeding etc.. so I didn’t gain anything . The design of the garden is not by the way by accident. My intention , without getting into details.. was based on man becoming an island unto himself with the intention of the false illusion of a separation from death ( not getting morbid here) and there are symbols in the plants chosen that represent man, woman, death and rebirth. Pretty much everything I do has a reason.

But not too long ago I had a collection of 9 cars many of them classics that I had no room for and they sat in this yard. It got absurd so I got rid of them as I had no time to fuss over them as they should have been and sent them off to new homes. I wanted my garden back. Made my wife happy as well. No fun looking out a window to a car lot. Stupid husband!

IMG_5392 Moving up to the deck area you can see the small fish pond and that clay fish with his mouth agape is a small fireplace. Might not seem like much,, but a small glowing fire on a chilly night with a snifter of Brandy , listening to Beethovens Moonlight Sonata is an evening well spent in my book.
IMG_5400 A closer view of the deck where last summer it still had the 60 ft Walnut tree growing straight through the roof. I built everything around the tree. I even had the ceiling painted a sky blue with clouds and a faux branch arching over head. You felt like you were still sitting outside. This summer the plan is to remove the failing deck and replace it with brick to match the upper patio. Yes.. I took the tree down myself as well. Who needs help?
IMG_5447 And finally the “business side” of the studio. The two story section didn’t always exist. This was once a one car garage with the door being where the single door is. I tore the roof off ( in the dead of winter no less) and built the second story which houses storage, the compressor which feeds the shop through drop lines located around the perimiter of the shop as well as a vac system which does the same ( but I no longer use)  and the two garage doors which behind door number one houses my baby.And the second door is for moving projects in and out. This is the alley side and the garden is on the other side hidden from view. Again , except for the shell,, I built everything you see myself.  And to think,, the Woodworking Studio was once entirely housed in the lower section that once was a single car, one story garage.

Now this is my primary residence for the past 32 yrs. I’ve added additional property ( I control 75 % of this block),, two more houses and recently a 4 unit which keep me busy just with upkeep. All because I can make big piles of woodchips.  And that keeps me busy in itself. And now,, in my infinite wisdom , I’m remodeling my home room by room. The kids are grown and have places of their own so I’ll build the space I want to be in. Library, gourmet kitchen,carvings for my own home ( yeah,, right!) etc.  Who would have guessed it? Yup,, I like being a woodcarver. It’s not much but it makes me happy.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd Breitholle
    May 27, 2009 @ 19:05:41

    Mark, nice work on the homestead. Looks very inviting, and to be able to walk out the back door and be at work. I have a one car garage that I will probably turn into a shop and I talked to our building inspector, no businesses in the residential areas any more. Out of luck on that one. Would love to come and see your set up, I am only 9-10 hours away though:) Again, thank you for sharing.



    • markyundt
      May 27, 2009 @ 19:37:31

      Thank you Todd. Like anything, a work in progress and keeps evolving as we ourselves do.
      I know about inspectors/city ordinances etc…I , in all honesty,,snuck some things in.They gave me grief at wanting to build a big “garage”,,, what do you need all that space for? Well,, I just do that’s all…

      At times I think I should have sold and built in the country on 10 acres I had. The less people know and see can be better at times. But commitments , family, expenses etc being what they are I just bought the property next door and was fine with that. Raising kids,,private schools,etc. there was only so much I could expect of myself while starting a woodcarving business of all things. Oh sure that’ll fly.Relatives , friends thought Mark went off the deep end and was going to drive his family right off the cliff into ruin.Grief from the city as well as those you thought supported you. It’s all around us wherever you turn. Ultimately it turned out fine. I had here what I needed to get up and running immediately and off I went. And aren’t they all so proud and supportive of Mark now….Sure,,, that really flies,,,


  2. ChuckT
    May 28, 2009 @ 14:43:15

    Mark –

    Looking through the pics reminded me of my visit last August. Yep – you truly are a man of extraordinary talent and energy. Makes me tired just thinking of all the work that went into creating your little island of paradise across from the old steel mills. But the result of your vision and labor is truly a testament to what hard work can accomplish. Well done my friend!

    Me – I am lucky I can get even 1 small household project done a year. Man I feel pathetic. Ah well, there’s always next year. Procratinators Unite . . . tomorrow! 😉



    • markyundt
      May 28, 2009 @ 15:25:48

      Thank you Chuck, I think of your visit often. A good day was had by all! By August these scenes should really change. They have changed already with my repeated trips to the nursery to buy more flowers in the past week or so alone. All greens is OK,, but I sort of went nuts buying flowers this year. Beverly said the place is going to LOOK like a nursery the way I’m going at it.The guys at the nursery now jump to attention and laugh when I stop in. ” Mark,, do you have one of these? ” … “No,, give me three of them.” They know me so well already.


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