By Molly Hammond, StorageUnit.com
Plenty of people think of storage units as nothing more than holding areas; a place you keep the things you don’t want cluttering up your house, or a convenient way to manage your belongings during a move. While that could be said of traditional self storage facilities, some people in the industry are pushing the limits of a storage unit’s potential and finding ways to provide creative opportunities for artistic tenants. STORExpress, a company with several storage facilities in Pittsburgh, is one such business that has converted traditional facilities into artists’ studios and band practice rooms.
STORExpress operates traditional storage facilities, but they’ve also expanded into multiple locations which cater to creative artists in an endeavor dubbed 448 Studios. These specialized facilities provide spaces for artists and musicians with amenities on par with the spaces they could rent commercially, without long-term leases and high rental fees.
Jeff Ley, sales manager at STORExpress, explains that 448 Studios was a concerted effort to provide artists with a unique opportunity, modeled after other artists’ lofts in the city. “We took creative input from several local artists to construct a facility that catered to the most common needs. Our spaces have natural lighting, adjustable artificial lighting, wash sinks, ample power, private units, 24/7 access, and a lounge area.” The rehearsal rooms designed for band practice also come equipped with sound-resistant walls so that one band’s process doesn’t interfere with another’s.
“We do find our facility unique,” says Ley, adding that all of the units in 448 Studios have electricity, an amenity that is fairly new among traditional self storage facilities. While renters at a traditional self storage facility could certainly convert their unit into a room for crafting or creating, the fact that 448 Studios is designed for artists and musicians offers a unique and creative atmosphere that a single artistically-minded tenant in a standard unit is unlikely to recreate. “I’m sure that our tenants appreciate having a dedicated area where they can use the space for whatever type of art they are creating. It far exceeds attempting to convert a 10×10 storage unit into a workshop,” says Ley.
You might be inclined to assume that people interested in creative endeavors like painting, music, or sewing would simply dedicate space at home to their hobbies. The truth is that not everybody has the space or the opportunity to practice these passions at home. Ley explains, “It can be a great work space that eliminates the need for keeping everything at home, or trying to designate an extra bedroom as the sewing room.”
For apartment dwellers without a lot of space to spare, a dedicated room at 448 Studios for a treasured hobby could be a much better option than trying to rent a bigger apartment. For a home that might have the spare room, but shares space with young children or feisty pets, the opportunity to set up messy or expensive supplies and leave them ready-to-use could be a godsend. And while “garage bands” are famous for a reason, what up-and-coming musical act wouldn’t prefer a space with great acoustics, heating, and ceiling fans to a cement garage that is subject to summer and winter temperatures and the neighbors’ ire? Particularly for tenants looking to turn their passion into profit (like Etsy sellers or artists working on commissioned pieces), a dedicated studio space is a simple way to keep a clear divide between work and home while still having studio access all hours of the day.
Whether you live in Pittsburgh and are poised to take advantage of the opportunities STORExpress and 448 Studios have created, or you live somewhere else and you’re looking to cultivate your own creative space for pursuing your artistic passions, self storage can be an unanticipated and perfect solution.