I have been doing my own darkroom work since high school and I am now retired. I started in my parents’ house bathroom. After college graduation and the first job, I moved into a rent house that had a darkroom, and then I built one in another rent house, one for an employer, and two in houses that I’ve owned.
The current darkroom (in the current house) is going to be hard to duplicate the next (and hopefully last) time we move. It’s 12 x 18 feet, has two sinks, two 4×5 enlargers, and lots of space. I blogged the construction of this darkroom. http://newdr.blogspot.com And a detailed equipment list appears on the blog and on the website at: http://silverdarkroom.net/?page_id=177
Just as we built the “Art Dept.” at the prior house, this particular house was chosen because it had a room that was perfect for my wife’s painting studio. It also had an attic space above a detached garage/workshop that I could transform into a darkroom, but not without work. The roof is pitched at 45 degrees. The footprint of the garage is 18 x 22 feet. Because of the pitch of the roof, the attic is very tall.
Two knee walls narrow the useful area to about 12 x 22, and with the stairwell taken out of that, the darkroom ends up being about 12 x 18, or 216 square feet. The previous owner (or builder) had started finishing the space, but never really completed the job. It’s all in the blog.
I made the room big because I anticipated doing workshops. I’ve only done one with a group, but it is nice to not be crowded, even with only one other person.
A recent thread on one of the photo forums discusses “luxuries” in the darkroom. I admit to a few: I’ve got a big stereo with four speakers, a small refrigerator, and a microwave. The kitchen appliances are not for food, but for film storage (fridge) and water temperature adjustments (both). Some consider year-round heating and cooling a luxury, but here in Texas, not having such would make an attic almost impossible to tolerate most of the time.
I have a good bit of equipment, mostly because with patience it can be had for relatively little money. I can’t think of anything substantial that I bought at full price except the 8’ sink (see part 5 of 6), the print washer and the RH Designs enlarger timer (worth every penny!).
It’s a nice place to work. Who could ask for more?