Number Seven – the current darkroom

Once again, choice of house included needed space for my wife’s painting studio and my darkroom.  In this circumstance, one of the bedrooms has become the darkroom.  As before, it has all been done so that it can all be reversed if and when we sell this house (no plans) or I just finally decide to give up film and wet processing.

Every one of these darkrooms has had some compromises.  Such things as “window” ACs, no hot water, improvised drains into barrels that had to be emptied, etc.  This, being a bedroom in the center of the house, is the deluxe model: hot and cold running water, drains into the sewage system, and central HVAC. 

The compromise is the size.  The move was “down-sizing” after retirement, and moving back into town.  We gave up a lot of square feet and everything is relatively proportionately smaller; from the 216 square feet of the prior “big” darkroom to the 140 square feet of this one.  Still, 140 ft2 is not terribly small for a 1-person darkroom, and I got everything in it that was in the prior darkroom but with a lot less “dry-side” work space.  Essentially, the wet side is the same (but configured differently) and the dry side is smaller.  The dry side counter top is almost totally taken up with the two Beseler 4×5 enlargers.  I make up for a bit of this with a foldable table in the middle of the room (like a kitchen island).  Long term plans are to build something more substantial, but the table serves nicely.

Both sinks and both enlargers are installed, although without the adjustable drop table that was under one of them (it’s in the attic).  Storage is a good bit different, but I manage, since this was a bedroom and has a closet.  

I could make do with just one enlarger, of course, but I would want to retain both the condenser head and the dichroic head (that’s why I have both) and I doubt I would get much for the chassis.  I could store it, (with the drop table) as well.  But hey, the whole point of a dedicated darkroom is having everything all set up and ready to go, so if I want the condenser head, it’s there.

The window was covered and light-proofed, but I learned a lot from mistakes I made in the prior darkroom with its window.  When I opened up the window in the that darkroom, it did some damage to the window casing because of the way I had attached everything.  I avoided that potential damage this time.

Plumbing was facilitated while we had some minor remodeling and updating being done on the house (built in 1963) before we moved in.  There is a common wall between the master bath which held the pipes for the bath and the space that was to be the wife’s new studio.  Plus, that wall connected to the room that was to be a darkroom, so it was a relatively simple matter for the contractor to put stub-outs for the water supplies and the drains in both rooms and tie them into the bath.

I wrote some brief notes on the construction of this darkroom: