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Kerry Beal

Chocolate Lab and Teaching Room

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I've been working with chocolate in my kitchen for a number of years. I occasionally teach there - but space is limited and only good for teaching a maximum of 3 students. Even then it's crowded. To teach more people in what ever space we can find, I have to lug a number of big bins with me. So I've had a desire for my own chocolate space for a while now. It wouldn't take the place of some of the places where I do demo classes for 20 or 30 people - but would allow me to do hands on classes for a few more people. And I wouldn't have to clean up before I cook dinner!

We found ourselves having to put an addition on the house, in order to make it accessible for our disabled child - so I figured that if I had to put out the funds for that - the least I should get would be a chocolate room out of the deal.

We started planning last summer and there were no end of problems getting to the starting point. The ground was broken finally in June, a couple of weeks before I headed up north to work for 5 weeks. It was a treat not having to deal with the day to day aggravations - not the least of which is that the air conditioning can't be on or dust is everywhere.

Of course every problem they have run up against in the renovation seems to take a few more inches from my chocolate room. They assumed (you know what they say about that) they knew where the footings on the old part were - I lost 6 inches of head room to that assumption. Small miscalculations on where the walls should be have taken about a foot all around on the room. Because the ceiling is now so much lower - the lights will have to be put in between the joists, which will cut down on the amount of light each provide and limit the sound proofing insulation that needs to go into the ceiling to ensure that my noisy machines and banging molds on tables won't wake up the rug rat in her new bedroom above my chocolate room.

I've taking some pictures from the beginning and thought I'd start to share them with you as we are getting closer to the point where I get to put together my new room. The reno is scheduled to be finished at the end of September, but seems a bit ahead of schedule right now. Not sure how long it will take after that to get a functioning chocolate room.

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The biggest square is the marking for the chocolate room.

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Foundation poured.

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Chocolate room walls poured. The smaller rectangle - which is the porch foundation had to have 10 inches removed from the top due to another little screw up. Not on my dime however!

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One of the only advantages of my lower ceiling - I can look right out the windows that were supposed to be over my head. I plan to put a triple sink under the window with a hand washing sink to the right of it.

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This doorway will lead into the existing part of the house - down a small ramp due to the miscalculation in height. Not looking forward to rolling my 500 lb panning machine up that incline when I need to use it.

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Off to the right of the stairs is a space under the foyer. We plan to put something that rolls under there and holds lots of bins like you would use to store things under a stage. Should be able to keep a bunch of out of season molds and such in there.

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We hit a restaurant auction the other day and picked up a few things. A couple of small tables, one on wheels.

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A triple sink that I managed to get for $400. I wanted one with drainboards on each side.

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Nice little stainless handwashing sink that I got for $30 - along with the paper towel and soap dispensers.

I did rather well at the auction. I have another stainless worktable with shelves above that will be delivered from Mr Used at some point in the next few weeks. I'm hoping to hit a couple of other spots to get a few more worktables. I figure that there won't be too much stuff fixed down, so that things can be moved to accommodate what ever project I'm working on.

There is a vent on the side wall so that I can put together something in the way of a spray booth.

So that's where I am so far, I'll keep you apprised as things happen. Feel free to ask questions.

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Looks fantastic, Kerry! I'll bet you can't wait to get in there and get set up.

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Looks fantastic, Kerry! I'll bet you can't wait to get in there and get set up.

You've got that right!

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This looks like so much fun Kerry! I hope you really get some good use out of everything. I love how you're always able to find bargains. The triple sink for $400 (Canadian, right?) is an amazing deal.

Will the room be fully connected to the home air conditioning, etc? I like that you thought of the sound proofing.

Can't wait to see how it turns out and then see it in action. One of these days I have to come visit you.

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This looks like so much fun Kerry!  I hope you really get some good use out of everything.  I love how you're always able to find bargains.  The triple sink for $400 (Canadian, right?) is an amazing deal.

Will the room be fully connected to the home air conditioning, etc?  I like that you thought of the sound proofing.

Can't wait to see how it turns out and then see it in action.  One of these days I have to come visit you.

$400 Cdn - I do love to find a bargain. I actually had another triple sink lined up for $250, it was older and smaller - didn't have the drain racks though and needed quite a bit of work.

The room will have air conditioning as well as in floor heating. The floor itself is polished concrete and will likely end up painted after a year or so when it's had a chance to fully dry.

I certainly hope you'll come and visit and check it all out.

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Looks incredible, Kerry. While I'd go for a charcuterie room, I'm very envious!

How big is the room? What lighting have you chosen for it?

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Looks incredible, Kerry. While I'd go for a charcuterie room, I'm very envious!

How big is the room? What lighting have you chosen for it?

The lighting will be florescent.

I'll have to go down tomorrow and measure and tell you what the final size is.

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YAY! That looks great Kerry! I can't wait to see it all set up.

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How wonderful! The bargains are amazing. You will just love your soon to be haven! I also have flourescent lighting and low ceilings. Someone once told me that this type of lighting is unhealthy (?), but suits my place. Are you putting stainless steel tables along the walls or in the center of the room? Mine are along the walls and are basically work stations for me, but my friend who is mainly a workshop centered business has a big long table in the center of her room for the participants. My room is too small for that (her table can easily have 10-12 people around it). So I think 4-5 in my place is the limit.

Have you thought about storage solutions? Shelves, drawers etc? This is my problem as I tend to be messy in terms of having the proper place for everything! And what about walls? Chocolate splashes etc!! My cream colored walls have too many chocolate splashes! One day I will put up tiles.

I know that I want to visit one day.

I hope it goes smoothly ,but usually these things don't!! But at the end, your haven will hopefully be just that! SO, soon you will reap the benefits you so deserve.

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How wonderful! The bargains are amazing. You will just love your soon to be haven! I also have flourescent lighting and low ceilings. Someone once told me that this type of lighting is unhealthy (?), but suits my place. Are you putting stainless steel tables along the walls or in the center of the room? Mine are along the walls and are basically work stations for me, but my friend who is mainly a workshop centered business has a big long table in the center of her room for the participants. My room is too small for that (her table can easily have 10-12 people around it). So I think 4-5 in my place is the limit.

Have you thought about storage solutions? Shelves, drawers etc? This is my problem as I tend to be messy in terms of having the proper place for everything! And what about walls? Chocolate splashes etc!! My cream colored walls have too many chocolate splashes! One day I will put up tiles.

I know that I want to visit one day.

I hope it goes smoothly ,but usually these things don't!! But at the end, your haven will hopefully be just that! SO, soon you will reap the benefits you so deserve.

The plan is stainless tables wherever they will fit around the walls and in the center of the room if space permits. I hope to find a couple with wheels for the center so they can be readily rolled out of the way. I suspect I'll be able to have 6 people aqt most.

The electrician has arranged some plugs on the ceiling in the center of the room to supply things on those tables.

Storage is always the issue - I've got a lot of stuff! Under the foyer will be accessible from another spot as well, so rarely needed stuff can be tucked away. The door that goes through to the older part of the basement goes into my sewing room which was storage before and will probably get shelving units. There will be some shelving on available walls made specifically for molds and maybe a cupboard or two for compounds and such.

I hope to find some wheely bins to keep chocolate in.

Hope you will visit!

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Hi Kerry,

Just found your thread. (Dog Weekend, you know.)

This is so terrific. Can't wait to tell my confectionery chums, Barbara and Mary. And maybe we'll be your first students in your new lab!!! :wub:

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Looks incredible, Kerry. While I'd go for a charcuterie room, I'm very envious!

How big is the room? What lighting have you chosen for it?

Chris,

It appears now to be 16 by 14 ft.

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That looks terrific. I am happy for you. The size is wonderful.

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I certainly hope you'll come and visit and check it all out.

Hope you will visit!

How soon will you be ready? I can be there on half a day's notice! :wink:

MelissaH

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How soon will you be ready? I can be there on half a day's notice! :wink:

MelissaH

That is the million dollar question!

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hey... how cool is that, cant wait to see it finished :-)

cheers and best wishes..

torsten

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Thanks for taking the time to share your project! I can only imagine how excited you must be. :) I do the bin hauling and it would sure be nice just to step out my door into an already stocked kitchen. Hmm...one day.

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Wow Kerry, how exciting. Is this on the back of your house?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that yours is as fast as ours was( 3 weeks for our kitchen!!).

Can't wait to see it in person!!

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Wow Kerry, how exciting.  Is this on the back of your house? 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that yours is as fast as ours was( 3 weeks for our kitchen!!). 

Can't wait to see it in person!!

Don't imagine it will be that fast - 3 weeks is quite amazing!

It's on the front - all part of the whole 'making the house accessible for the rug rat' which includes bringing the front door to the same level as the driveway. My chocolate room will have an entrance off the foyer which will make it easy to get chocolate inside.

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I have quite a few plastic wheely boxes with lids that close very nicely. I store all my dirty molds and a lot of chocolate in them. Almost everything is out of sight. I also have two plastic stands with 5 drawers each. and two wooden dressers with 3 drawers each. And shelves. I label everything or I forget. I also have a tall trolley with half size baking trays/shelves which is really a space saver for molds with chocolate or plastic containers with made chocolate-vertical space. If anyone has great space savers or ways to be organized this is a great thread to share!

I have a few pictures of my area when it was still empty and I will take one of it all full .

One wall:

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View from entrance although things have changed places a bit:

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A sink stainless steel table replaced the computer station

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Edited by Lior (log)

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I was pleased to get home from work today and discover that my room had been drywalled. With any luck the mudding and taping will happen tomorrow.

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I found a couple of wheelie bins on Kijiji and the fellow who owned them was kind enough to bring them to me at work. He was very pleased with the little box of chocolates I had for him. I ended up with 3 bins. Had a hell of a time getting them home in the car - two in the back seat, one in the trunk - couldn't see a damn thing out the rear view mirror.

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You are so fortunate. I am looking for a better production facility and it is not easy to find. We did sign the lease last night for our very own retail store.!! It took 4 months to get this place!! I am trying to post pics.

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