Remodeling Series Part 5: Garage Conversion {Offices}

See parts 1-4 of the remodeling series here.

Remodeled Garage Hallway - An Oregon Cottage

Here again is our hallway from the kitchen into the former garage. In part four of our whole house remodeling series I showed you the room to the left in the hallway, the laundry room. Now it’s time to visit the other rooms that we converted our garage into: much needed offices.

Remodeled Garage Workroom - An Oregon Cottage

The Workroom

From the hallway the door to the right leads to a room we variously call my workroom, guestroom, or office. It’s a multipurpose room that not only houses my stuff and the occasional guest, but also a treadmill and a storage wall for lots of household stuff (including the workings of the house that had been in the garage).

Garage Remodel Workroom Windows - An Oregon Cottage

  • The large windows and French doors replaced the old double garage doors.
  • The set of double hung windows are original to the house and used to live on the side of the garage. It really makes the exterior match with the main house windows, and I’m so glad we had these available to use.
  • We splurged for wood French doors with real paned windows and I’ve not been sorry for one minute that we put extra money into these – and they match the ones we installed in the dining room. Tip: be consistent in materials and styles throughout the house to blend old and new sections.
  • It’s painted in Behr’s “Vanilla Shake” which is just the lightest of yellows, making this room bright and cheery year around.

Garage Remodel Salvaged Storage Doors - An Oregon Cottage

  • This wall of storage hides all the things you find in garages – the back of the fireplace, the furnace and the water heater. It was tricky deciding what to do with this area because we needed access to these things and also needed storage. In the end I decided one long storage space with three doors: one to access the furnace and water heater, one in front of the fireplace back to hold a set of shelves (see the french doors open here to the canning pantry), and another for a deep storage closet to the left of the fireplace.
  • We had our builder frame it all in according to these specifications. Then we priced the doors needed to make these match the others in the house – $80-90 per door, yikes! Umm…plan B: look for salvaged doors.
  • We found the French doors at a barn sale for $25. They were a bit smaller than our opening, so we just built up the molding around the frame. We then went to our local salvage center and found the single screen door for $10 and the double set for $15.

And you know what? I like it better than if we had just matched it to the other closet doors – it’s interesting and I like the character. We’ve learned through diy projects that often good things come out of needing to look outside the box in order to keep to a budget.

Garage Remodel Plywood Floors - An Oregon Cottage

The Floors

  • We floored the entire remodeled garage (except the hallway) with 4×6 maple hardwood plywood sheets for a cost of .54 a square foot. Yep, you read that right. We love the look we got for so little.
  • We cut the plywood in the workroom into 2-foot lengths and laid them randomly (photo on left).
  • For Brian’s office we simply cut the plywood sheets in half (photo on right). We did this room first and they looked okay, but we decided to cut them narrower for the bigger room and I’m glad we did. If we were to do it again, we’d just cut them in the longest length possible to achieve that “random width” look.
  • In the workroom and office I stained the wood to match the oak floors in the rest of the house and sealed with polyurethane.
  • They have worn well, though we have found that this plywood has a propensity to divot easily. I mean, we have maybe two in the room, but it’s more than if these were regular wood floors.

Garage Remodel Office - An Oregon Cottage

The Office

  • This room is Brian’s domain and has a bi-fold closet door to the right that contains all our office supplies, printer, etc.
  • We added the narrow high window in this room as well as the workroom for light and character. Unfortunately, I forgot about the western exposure which gets blazing hot and glaring on sunny days. Since this means that the windows are often covered with whatever we can find, if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t add them. Live and learn.
  • The paint color is Behr’s “Gobi Desert” and the trim is their “Creamy White.”

Garage Remodel Office Windows - An Oregon Cottage

The windows in the office have their own little story:

When we remodeled the main house, we replaced a single exterior door and window in the dining room with a double French door. We reused door in the laundry room and planned to use the window here in the office next to another similar window we removed from the bedroom (we put a French door in our bedroom, too). Problem was, I never bothered to measure the windows. I mean, they looked the same. They were both large double hung windows. They were original to the house and looked the same as all the windows, actually.

Until the builder installed one and went to install the one next to it. Oops. Not a great time to discover the 2-3-inch difference. We put a hold on everything, ran to the discount window place and were able to find this pair at a reasonable price and that fit the opening. Not the best way to buy windows, but you just deal when you’re doing it yourself.

We were able to use the two non-matching windows, though on separate walls in the new garage we built.

I’m sure if you diy, you have similar stories, too, huh?




  1. says

    Love the garage remodel… should send pictures to “Cottage Living”…your ideas are really good!!! Especially love the doors that “hide” everything. And your floors are beautiful…..Great Job!!!
    Thanks for sharing this,you are such an inspiration!!
    PS…made your w/wheat rolls….oh my, I would have won a roll eating contest!!!!!Delicious!! :-)

  2. Donna says

    Great room! Love the “permanent” ironing board as I have a matching one in my bedroom. I just don’t see any sense in taking it down and putting it back up everyday for sewing or ironing quilt squares. My husband is thinking about getting one that folds down from the wall, so I can fold it back up when I am finished. Just haven’t figured out where to put the iron yet!

  3. Gentry says

    Did you use anything as a underlayment for your plywood floor? I want to do this but I can’t decide if it needs a vapor/cushion barrier.

    • Jami says

      Hi there! We nailed the plywood to the subfloor. This was almost 8 years ago and we hadn’t heard much about vapor/cushion barriers. We don’t have a moisture problem,though, and haven’t had any issues with it. It doesn’t seem any more noisy than other un-carpeted floors we have. Hope that helps!

  4. James T. says


    I would suggest using rosin paper (its cheap) underneath the plywood flooring. Also, you will want to cut much thinner than the 2 ft widths shown here to prevent gapping and and dipping of boards. 2ft is too wide — Also be sure with plank flooring that you are perpendicular to the floor joists so the floor won’t sag.

    • Jami says

      Hi, James – we did apply the plywood perpendicular to the floor joists. Our floor is now almost 8 years old and there is no gaping or dipping at 2 ft. wide, though.

  5. Michelle Holman says

    We are planning on putting plywood in our house that we are renovating. I love the stain that you chose! Would you mind sharing what color you used? Thank you!

    • says

      I used Minwax ‘Special Walnut’ or just ‘Walnut’ through our whole house. I think it was Special Walnut way back then. :) That sounds great, btw – I hope your renovations turn out great!

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