This month marks the 2nd birthday of the Copperdollar Studios. 22 Montague Street has, however, been around for a lot longer. As anyone who has been in the studios will agree, the building is bursting with character and its interior is one of a kind.
It started out as a stable for horses but became a builders merchant in the early 1900s before turning into a carpenters workshop in the early 80s. The building was bombed during World War 2 and lost one of its corners. Kt had been keeping her eye on the workshop as she lived in the local area and asked the owner, Peter, to let her know if he ever came to sell it. 7 years and a series of fortunate events later, she purchased the space with the intention of creating a studio for performance makers like herself.
There was a lot of work to do but with the help of architect Piers Taylor, her husband and woodwork specialist Marc Ellis and a number of creative and dedicated builders (namely Yuval, Olly, Lui, Ivan and Joe), Kt was able to transform the workshop into two beautiful, unique studios. 2 years on, they are being hired out by theatre groups, photographers, videographers and many other artistic people.
As you can see from the before photos, reconstructing the building was a complex task. After a plan was put together with Piers, the first part of work took place and lasted 4 months: Marc rebuilt the roof, the floors, the installation and oversaw the whole build. The second part was carried out mostly by local builder, Yuval, and following 5 more month of conversions and decoration by Kt, the studios were completed. There were 3 fundamental concepts behind the Copperdollar Studios development:
- To preserve the history of the building, Kt upcycled all that she could. The previous floorboards were used on the walls and the bench made of railway sleepers were used as shelves and window ledges. The aesthetics you see are full of genuine antiquity which adds to the personality of the space.
- Kt was determined to keep the carbon footprint as low as she could when working on the building and aims to get Copperdollar Studios to have zero carbon footprint now it’s up and running. The key to this is heavy insulation and savviness.
- The studios have been designed with performers in mind and, thanks to Kt’s own extensive experience using a range of different studios and rehearsal spaces, she was able to create two spaces with all the integral elements needed for people like herself to be able to work in.