Home Studio Project

Building The Hot Blog Tips Home Studio – Part One

For those that have been following this blog and follow me on many of the social media platforms, you may already know podcasting is in the very near future of Hot Blog Tips. You may also know I’ve been planning a dedicated home office/studio. Well, just yesterday I began construction and things are moving forward.

Why Post About My New Office and Studio?

This post will launch a short series sharing my Home Studio Project. The only time I have to blog, promote and interact is on the weekends. Since I need to create content, there’s been very little time for building since I am the contractor. I know very little about building a room but I do have the best rates in town. 😉

Last week a friend of mine asked how the new studio was coming. I told him I‘ve purchased much of the supplies but it’s just sitting there because I still need to create content for my blog and that has to take priority. Even though this guy’s online expertise doesn’t go beyond having a Facebook account, he said, “Why don’t you put building your room on your blog?” I was amazed that I didn’t think about that and it had to come from an unbiased suggestion from someone that doesn’t even know what a blog is. What a valuable lesson that is… Listen to everyone.

What’s Coming In This Short Series

With the wisdom of my friend, I can now build and create content at the same time and, hopefully, help others at the same time. So I’ll create short posts with video showing my progress, thoughts, and plans. I will share any mistakes and challenges along the way for anyone else that is planning a similar project in their future. In the final post of the series I will show some of the equipment I’ve purchased for our deeper dive into video and podcasting; it’s really adding up – as well as the price. Speaking of price, I’ll keep everyone posted on the costs as well.

What Will Happen In This New Magical Place?

I’ll blog a lot, of course. I will also record videos and podcasts. I will conduct interviews as well. Most of those interviews will happen via phone or Skype but it is possible I may have someone over for a live episode, either video or podcast.

It’s going to be a great feeling to be able to leave everything setup and simply lock the door. I’ve been setting up in our living room no matter what I needed to accomplish and that takes up precious time as many of you already know.

Ultimately I hope to create an environment where I can walk in and write or record without scheduling a day when no one else will be home. That challenge has become one of the most stressful aspects of creating videos and I needed a solution before committing to a weekly podcast.

Planning Is Critical and Painful

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbitimage - tweet this

For me, the planning is the hardest part of a project like this. We have a four bedroom house and all of my children are grown so that should leave plenty of room for an office, right? Without boring you with the details, we have a houseful and it’s quite noisy and distracting on most days. So the plan to take over the great room/den was devised. Here are some of the questions I’ve had to ponder…

  • How big of a room do I need? I had a choice anywhere between 12’X9’ and 12’X18’. I went with 12’X12’ because some day we might actually need to sell this house and I didn’t want to take away from the rest of the house to the point no one would want it. By the way, I learned just this morning that going with a square room as I did turns out to be the worst idea for audio I could have made. See this video by Sweetwater Sound (about 12 mins. 16 secs. into the video) to see why dimensions are important for acoustics.
  • I need wiring, lots of wiring. I need a ton of outlets, cable and other things I’m sure I missed. This is an old house with an old style fuse box – no beakers or ground (3 prong plugs). I will be running a lot of equipment so an electrical upgrade is a must. I think I want two independent circuits for outlets and a third for lighting but I’ll have to discuss that with an electrician. Deciding where to put the outlets is going to be difficult enough. I’ll also want a USB charging system, video/TV coax and possibly CAT5 cable, all built in where needed. Small details like wiring for a future “On Air” or “Recording” light now will make things a lot easier than after the wall is finished.
  • Will I need more soundproofing? I purchased an insulated fiberglass exterior door and sound dampening insulation for the single wall I’m building. One of the other walls is nothing more than two closets so both closets will be heavily insulated. The hallway will be closed with a bookcase and pantry and will be insulated between both. The back wall has a door to the outside as well as a huge bay window. A ton of road noise comes in from the outside even though the widows are dual-pane insulated glass vinyl replacement windows. I’m pretty sure I will need to cover those. Now I’m wondering if I’ll need acoustic sound panels as well. I hope not because it will change the entire look and it will get pretty expensive.
  • I’m missing something. Notice that wasn’t even a question because I’m certain I’m overlooking things. Hopefully someone reading this will help and point out the obvious to me, just as my friend did that inspired this short series.


Costs/Expenses – Home Studios Ain’t Cheap

Studio ExpensesEven though I’m doing everything myself, the costs are really adding up. As expensive as it is, I do look at it as an investment because I will be increasing revenue.  It will also be an investment as far as the home is concerned because I’m effectively adding a fifth bedroom to the house since it has its own closet.  I’ll do my best to break down the expenses with each post since I still have other things to purchase. So far we have:

  • Wood – 2’X4’x8’ @ $2.80 each X 11 boards = $30.80 (I purchased more for a closet in our bedroom but that’s not included here).
  • Drywall – 4’X8”X ½” @ $6.75 each X 6 sheets = $40.50 (again, I bought more for the bedroom closet but didn’t add that here).
  • Wall insulation – $83.94 (I was wrong in the video, they were only $41.97 each).
  • Carpet – 32’ X 12’ roll for $285.00
  • Carpet padding – 8lb. 30 sy. $99.90
  • Door – 6 panel insulated fiberglass exterior door with frame – $189.00
  • Drywall screws – 5 lbs. $15.47
  • Other hardware – Doorknob and deadbolt lock – $22.98
  • Drywall sanding and paint supplies – $35.84
  • Concrete wall anchors & screws – 38.78
  • Paint – 5 gal. – $80.00
  • Total (so far) = $984.47

There were other expenses that I’m not adding to the list because they were tools and supplies I will use outside of this project. For example, my cordless drill died so I had to replace it. I also needed a new stud detector, concrete drill bits and a speaker to listen to my podcast subscriptions while hard at work. Plus, it doesn’t help that Home Depot sells hotdogs and sausages at the entrance which adds five bucks to each trip. All expenses, for sure, but not solely for the home studio project.

I still need wiring, outlet boxes, light fixture, ceiling and closet insulation and other things I haven’t thought of yet. I will also have to pay an electrician since I don’t want to burn my house down. I’ll add those costs as progress is made.

The Takeaway

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
~ Allen Saunders Tweet This

  1. There are a few takeaways here. First, listen to others and keep an open mind. If I had ignored my friend I would have probably put off this build until my next vacation six weeks away.
  2. The next takeaway that comes to mind is you – my community. Bringing you into the loop certainly helps me and hopefully it helps some of you. Either way, at least we get to connect on a new level – in my home. 🙂
  3. Finally, we have to plan, plan, plan BUT it should never get in the way of action.

Your Thoughts? (Call to action)

I’m looking forward to any advice, comments or thoughts from our community. So feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Hi Bryan,

    Neat! My design changes from month to month, as I’m always on the move. Great plan, nice idea and of course, any Tolkien quote catches my attention and holds it 😉

    Thanks dude!

  2. Thanks Ryan, I have the wall up (at least the studs) so I’m limited on changes now but it’s certainly tough to stick to a simple plan.

  3. You can sound proof with egg trays but they are not pretty. lol


  4. There’s actually a solution pretty close to that Pam. I see that they’re selling that foam egg crate bed padding for acoustic panels. That seems like the cheapest solution so far but I just don’t know how effective it is or if I even need it.

  5. Building home studio seems interesting and I’d be waiting for the completion of your studio. And it seem you’ve spend some good money in building your studio.


  6. Hi Brian Hawkins
    I am impress by the quality of contents you offer here as I am first time visitor on this blog.
    Developing and maintaining a home studio is not an easy job. Especially its maintenance is heck of the task if someone has not proper tutorial on it. But thanks to online world now wonderful posts like this are easily available to do this task.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful resource.

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