Leave it to an artist. Artists usually have many talents, not just one art form. Creative minds are not limited to a single genre.
Such is the case with 61-year old Steve Helling of West Point, Iowa. He has a degree in art from Iowa Wesleyan College (now University), and has painted some pretty fantastic paintings — some of which adorn the walls of our house.
However, paintings, especially large paintings, in particular paintings where the artist slings paint at a canvas, can be pretty messy.
Steve works at WIN Propane in Wever. (Artists must support themselves, you know.) Propane bottles arrive on wooden pallets, so there are a lot of pallets lying around, plus sheeting. Steve has made some classy furniture out of pallet wood. He had been noticing sheds made from pallet wood on the internet. The idea came to him, “Why not build a shed out of pallet wood, and use it for a studio? That way, I can keep the paint mess out of the house.”
Voila! The “Pallet Shed He Shed” was born. He hauled home a pick-up load of pallets and went to work. I should point out that Steve is single, so he doesn’t have a wife objecting to a pile of pallets in the backyard.
He started banging pallets together using a circular saw, drill and level. (There are some good examples of pallet buildings on the internet.) He found that for walls, all he had to do was stand a few pallets up, screw them together, and they formed a nice sturdy wall. For the floor, he disassembled the pallets and used the wood for flooring. Pallet wood is ideal for outdoor construction — they’re made out of hard wood and are already seasoned — plus, there was no or very little expense involved. The doors and windows were given to him. He did the wiring himself, running an underground wire from his garage. Steve is a pretty handy artist. He’s even insulating the walls.
BTW: A 40-mph wind came up while the “He Shed” was under construction, and it held up remarkably well.
Presto-change-o. Steve now has a fairly respectable outdoor “studio” he can sling paint in to his heart’s content. If he wants, he can add a hot plate, dormitory refrigerator, coffee pot, window air conditioner, what have you. He already has a stereo for creative-inspirational music.
The classy touch came when he made the shake siding. He simply cut shake siding from, yep, you guessed it — pallet boards, and nailed them to the side of his 10’ x 12’ x 8’ “He Shed,” giving it that rustic look.
Steve is 61 years old. He wants to retire at 62, but knows he will need a supplemental income. He already does landscaping work on the side, sells artwork, and is considering building these “He Sheds” for other people. But wait. My wife, Ginnie, wants a “She Shed” for garden tools and potting soil, or just a place to get away (from me). Steve is also thinking about making garages out of pallet wood. The possibilities are palatable.
Steve likes “repurposed” art. He gets it from his dad, a farmer, the consummate repurposer. Steve’s phone number is 319-470-7371, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s taking orders.