I set up my first Home Voiceover Booth back in 2006 after a good 3 years of cultivating and nurturing my early VO career, whilst still working as a TV Floor Manager. We'd bought a two bed apartment with a massive walk-in hall cupboard, half of which I'd earmarked for my booth before we'd even put an offer in! I used the money I'd inherited after my Dad Lex sadly passed away to invest in all my spanking new equipment, including an ISDN line & Codec, the whole shebang! He would have approved for sure because, in the few years before we lost him, he'd been forging his own career in TV, Commercials and Films and had more agents and castings than I did!
After years of jumping into Soho for 15 min slots in the "Vox Box" at A1 Vox, I'd earned my spot on the "Home Voiceover Circuit" and was confident that being readily available from home would bring me even more work and I couldn't wait for "Fax and Dial" to be my daily reality. I wasn't wrong, like a moth to a flame, the work came flooding in and I was a full time WFH VO!
THE NEW HOUSE
We've moved house a few times since 2012 and, because we rented our last 3 homes, my VO Booths had to be temporary structures. Not a problem, my Husband Adam, a Designer/DIY aficionado, became an expert "temp booth builder", he had a it licked! Well, he built the outside, I did the interiors. We had a formula and it worked really well. All of my booths have been excellent in terms of sound quality, obviously the most important factor in any Voiceover Booth, but they just weren't up to my personal style standards quite frankly.
No more shabby booths for me though as we are now the owners of a rather cool 60's American Ranch Style Bungalow and my proposed new Booth, which I'd been dreaming of building since we bought it, would have to reflect this. We've spent the last 3 years doing the house up, inside and out, in a way which pays homage to the beauty of Mid Century Modern architecture, design and style, a passion which we both share in equal measure, so it was about time I had a VO Booth worthy of the house.
THE ROUND WINDOW
I had a vision for my Booth and I'd be creating it around one central feature - an Orange studio door with a round window! (We already have a couple of orange doors in the house so I was following the theme through) In fact, the round window was the very first thing I sourced and bought! It was a key purchase which got the ball rolling...
Then came the door. I needed a quality, narrow fire door and I found the perfect door at the fantastic Champion Timber in Guildford, the smartest timber store I've ever been to. (Tell Chris or Adam I sent you!) The narrow width of the door would afford me more interior space (the allocated area in my office wasn't that big so I had to maximise it) and the weight and density would help with sound-proofing. Check out my door complete with "porthole", cut by my Carpenter Matt Bayliss.
As my existing booth had been "shoogled" over to the opposite corner of my office, so I could keep working, I had the room to prepare the space for the build. In fact, I ended up painting my whole office as I felt that a good old refresh was in order and, well, I absolutely love painting walls, I find it very therapeutic, so I very much enjoyed that part of the prep. I then had to cover it all up to paint my door orange!
THE BUILD DAY 1
I booked Carpenter Matt for 3 days and a lot of progress was made on Day 1. It was exciting to watch him work. I already knew him locally as he's an accomplished Motocross Rider. That's the other shared interest my Husband Adam and I have and, in fact, I bought my own Dirt Bike off Matt, that's how we met him. But when I saw his Carpentry work on Instagram, I knew he would be my Go-To to build my booth! Here's how Day 1 went, with Matt using our patio as his workshop. The initial frame looks so basic but from small acorns grow might oaks...
THE BUILD DAY 2
The Electrics went in last night. I wanted proper LED lighting which would switch on from the outside, and a double socket on the inside. James the Electrician popped by and did his "First Fix" ready for Matt to insulate and put up the interior walls on Day 2. So, Day 2 was a very productive one! The all important Rockwool Acoustic Insulation was installed and my precious Orange door was hung! As you can see below I got a bit over excited about that!
THE BUILD DAY 3
Day 3 was for all the detailed work which kept Matt really busy. He had to build the architrave for the door, customise and fit the skirtings and, finally, build my bespoke desk and cupboard. He had time to stop for Birthday cake though, we made sure of that! Then that evening I set about priming all the MDF ready for the final paint job.
I planned to buy a whole new set of Acoustic Tiles as my existing tiles, which I had bought from Studio Spares many years earlier, had really had their day and were looking a bit grotty. I wanted something really stylish but with the right sound treatment qualities and these Pyramid Foam tiles were the chosen ones, again, from Studio Spares. I love the look of them. I also treated myself to a new boom arm, I've always wanted to upgrade to an arm, in part to save on desk space. Next came my desk and shelf. Determined to inject some colour into my booth to break up the grey, I sourced some lush felt fabric to cover them. I've always used felt actually, grey and red in the past, but I'm really enjoying the contrasting green and pink this time, they really pop. Finally, I was craving a luxury carpet for the floor and lower part of the walls. I have to say, luxury carpet tiles are not that easy to find but I finally sourced them at DCTUK and they are such a treat for my feet!
THE BEAUT NEW BOOTH
With the interior touches and exterior painting finished, and my beloved BBC On Air lightbox hung on the wall, oh, and not to mention the extravagant purchase of my Orla Keily Rug (a very naughty treat!) taking pride of place on my office floor, my Mid Century Inspired Voiceover Booth was complete and open for business!
I can only describe my new booth and office space as my own personal Nirvana.
I've documented this build purely because it meant a lot to me and, after the crappy time we've had with Covid over the last couple of years, which has been really hard, even for an extremely resilient Woman like me, I decided a change was as good as a rest. "Switching things up" has always worked wonders for me, so this build has given me something fresh to focus on and I'm over the moon with my beautiful new booth. It looks cool and it sounds great, in fact, it has exceeded my expectations!
I spend a lot of time in my booth these days and whether I'm recording Radio or TV Commercials, Corporate scripts, or voicing hundreds of phone prompts for the Apple Store, if any of you require my dulcet tones for anything Voiceover related, I guess you'll know exactly where to find me! ~ Jen