“Building an apartment studio” to many of us means adding a laptop, clearing off a desk, and donning some headphones. But Brooklyn-based Katherine Belsey Davis, who does all sorts of wonderful (non-musical) things in wood, glass, fabric, and other materials, had lofty plans for a NYC studio job:

Since this studio was built for mixing sound and music for film and TV in a residential coop apartment building in NYC, both sound proofing and treatment had to be near perfect. It also had to look good for clients… on a very tight budget.

The studio in question is for John M. Davis in Brooklyn Heights. Even in a coop, they pulled out all the stops — silent air conditioning, sound absorbers, floating floors, and decoupled walls. (I’ve been in a few apartments in the city with decoupled walls and floors, but not in a way that lent itself to acoustics so much as deferred maintenance.)

Studio Photos
Belsey Davis homepage

Stained glass and sound studios? You’re one Renaissance woman, Katherine!

She’s shared her work. Studio construction is a science (and a dark art), and not one I pretend to understand. And much of this is specific to the job. But for those who do know what they’re doing, I imagine this could be interesting inspiration – and to the rest of us, provides some insight into what’s involved.

I also quite like the multiple screens and Novation ReMOTE Zero for compact control. Here’s the process on Instructables:

Build a music studio in an apartment buildingMore DIY How To Projects

  • Filed under "when price is no object" πŸ˜€

  • Jk

    Still, a nice nod to cost saving ideas. I've gone a fraction of the way in my own studio, but since I don't own the place . . . all the same nice find Peter.

  • I'm building a practice space / studio in my attic above my garage. The main idea, is for it to be a place to play drums / scream / whatever without waking the kids and summoning the police.

    After some googling, I came across this:


    it's pretty darn cheap, and gets pretty good reviews online.

    Anyone try green glue before? Care to share experience with it?

  • gbsr

    that mixing desk is just sooo sexy.

  • The money that you save with this DIY nerdism should be properly spent on a diy security alarm..learn a lesson from Daptone !

  • That was harsh… Nah for real…its beggin for a break in though specailly in an apartment building where the building knows you do tuneage. Dont get Brooklyn bounced.

  • Wait is that a window with no shades..ahh fuck they deserve a rant with BT.

  • Ken

    Hm – a stay-at-home mom and a composer afforded that renovation? Hell, they can afford to own in bklyn heights? Don't mean to be cynical, but I wonder if mom and dad chipped in somewhere… if not, shame on me and rock on! Artists (independently) living the dream!

  • Okay, folks, just in case this wasn't evident:

    Sound mixing work can pay quite nicely. πŸ™‚ No one said you have to be a starving artist. And this is an economical conversion that should pay for itself.

    Brooklyn Heights is a very, very nice neighborhood. πŸ˜‰

    I think it's great work — I'm jealous not only of the facility, but the skills to put it together!

  • Ken

    Get me on a bus to brooklyn and sign me up! Or at the very, least I gotta find me a wife who can build me a studio like that…

  • Polite

    @purgid – my boss here is using green glue in his hifi room. I'll find out in a month or two. I've heard good things. I'm tempted to go that path myself, as i'm looking at moving out of a rental house and buying a studio appartment.

  • thx Polite.
    You know, I've finally taken the time to read this entire instructable, and it is chalk-full of ideas I'm gonna use for my room. It's a really great guide for technical data.

    But got as it being "bugdet", I think not.

    Budget advice here seems to be "get lucky on craigslist". That's possible in LA or NY, maybe Nashville. Anywhere else, and you're not gonna get much more than TV's & Lawnmowers on CL.

  • @ plurgid,
    The thing about building a studio with real sound isolation is that it takes a LOT of material – lots of layers of stuff, and good amount of specialized stuff (neoprene pucks, resilient channel, etc.) There's no way around it – to have isolation, you need mass and decoupling. "Getting lucky" on CL might save you a few bucks here or there, but probably won't make a big difference in the overall cost.

    What DOES make a difference is doing it yourself as much as possible. Labor costs (plus contractor mark-up on materials) could double your budget versus doing it yourself – not to mention the costs if you hire an expensive consultant to design your isolation and treatment.

    So my take on this article is that the "budget" part came more from the DIY aspect than the "got lucky on CL" aspect.

  • Machines

    @ plugrid

    I've used Green Glue and can say that it's awesome stuff. HOWEVER, it is not going to do anything by itself without doing other stuff with it. Having done both just slapping up an extra sheet of drywall with some GG in between as well as going the distance of floating a whole room, there is no comparison. Building materials are cheap due to the housing downturn and if you know how to swing a hammer as well as understand the principles that go into it, go the distance if you can sacrifice the little space you would have to.

  • Jon

    That is an AWESOME little "how to" instructional.
    Makes me wish I had a job πŸ™

  • Pingback: Instructable: How to Build a Music Studio in an Apartment | ToxicBeats()

  • I found a one stop info shop, and saved so much money building my home recording studio. You would think I spent thousands with the quality I'm getting. Check out the site http://www.cheapstudiobuilder.webs.com

    Visit Our Site

  • shreiber

    People seem to be very happy with results they are getting using Green Glue. You can purchase it for cheaper than the Green Glue Company at this Green Glue Seller.
    Machine is also right about using additional techniques in conjunction with the Green Glue. If building a room within a room is not practical for you, try using resilient sound clips like Whisper Clips.