See remodeling series parts 1 - 3 here.
This is what our garage looked like when we bought our house - your typical ranch-style attached garage. We knew the house was too small when we bought it (Brian works from home and the main house consisted of only one large great room in addition to the bedrooms), so we planned from the beginning to make the garage into living space.
Since we bought the house with this in mind we were able to use money from the sale of our first house to hire someone to finish the shell for us (with our help) about 6 months after we moved in. Brian and I did the floors, molding, doors, electrical, paint, etc. before getting code approval to move in. We then spent more time finishing the details - in fact, there is still trim work to be done 5 years later. If you diy at all, you know what I'm talking about, huh?
Three Things To Make A Garage A Real Living Space
I was adamant that it look completely like it was always living space and not a former garage. To that end we:
- Raised the floor to be the same level as the rest of the house
- Extended the porch across the front
- Tore up the driveway so that there would be no trace of the garage that was there before. It's always been a pet peeve of mine to see houses where the garage was finished into living space and the driveway and cars still go right up to the new windows. If you have to keep the driveway, at least put in a flower border or something.
Interior: Hallway & Laundry/Mud Room
The old doorway from the kitchen to the garage now leads to a hallway that is a seamless part of the house because we spent the extra money and time to raise the floor. Visitors have to be told it's been remodeled from a garage, which was always a goal of ours.
The hallway has three doors. The one immediately to the right goes to my office/guest room/craft space and the door at the end is Brian's office (read part 5 of this series to see these rooms). The door on the left leads to one of my favorite things about the new space:
The laundry room/mudroom.
Our city bungalow had the laundry in the basement, and before we finished this area I was doing the laundry in the garage which was cold and dirty. Man, I don't know how people do laundry in garages!
We put a French door here to echo the new French doors we were adding to the exterior. Adding French doors was part of my plan to make our ranch into a cottage. It has the added bonus of allowing the light from the window in the outside door to come into the hallway.
- We we added a laundry sink and a tongue-and-groove fir wood counter over our front loading washer and dryer. This is the same position the machines were in the old garage, we just scooted them up and over a bit to accommodate the floor and sink, respectively.
- The counter is some discounted fir flooring we found. Brian glued it together and I finished it to match the floors and other wood in our house.
- The cupboard above is an old cabinet we found on the side of the road years ago and have used as shelves in various houses. It still needs brackets and to be painted.
- Beadboard panels were installed around the entire room and painted white. Still waiting on the top molding. Sigh.
- I hounded our builder to create this clothes-drying closet next to the washing area. He didn't really see the need for it, and it was hard to fit in there. It is only 17" wide but it works perfectly as I envisioned, providing a place to hang clothes out of the public eye and also keep brooms and mops.
In the spirit of keeping it real, I'm posting the unfinished 'mudroom' half of this room. Mainly because it's been like this for 5 years, a-hem, and I don't know when it will be completely finished, but it is being used as you can see.
- We created a place for coats out of an old piece of salvaged molding and wire coat hooks which we hung over the electrical panel to disguise it some. The plan is to add a door made out of the beadboard at some point to cover the panel.
- The cabinet was added about a year ago when we remodeled the main bathroom, but as you can see, hasn't been painted yet. The wood counter is also waiting to be finished.
- The plan is to add shelves and/or cabinets above the counter for my gardening supplies. (Update: See the finished shelves here!)
- Our freezer is next to the cabinets and I love having it inside. I disguised the ugly front with chalkboard paint and picture molding and use the chalkboard to keep track of what I have in there. (Go here to see more about how I use this chalkboard)
- All of the new area (except the hall where we were trying to match the existing wood floor) is maple plywood. It is a hardwood plywood that we found at a discount lumber store here and we did all the floors for about .54 a square foot.
- I hand painted the laundry/mudroom floors in a green-and-cream checkerboard pattern - the same floor I had done in our bungalow's kitchen that I had so loved (same colors and everything). I was so in love with this floor- the color, the pattern, it just made my heart sing.
Did I mention that this was a mudroom? And we live in the country? Yea, not exactly the color to hide mud and dirt.
Then we got a dog and I realized that light painted floors and dog toenails do not mix.
My heart is mysteriously quiet now, and I'm thinking a lovely shade of brown is in our future...
It is hard sometimes to execute a certain vision. I have ideas of how I would like to convert our one car garage into a laundry room/music space but I need help mapping out the design layout. Did anyone help you with the design of your space or do you have any recommendations? Thanks
I knew how I wanted it to look and then my stepdad (former contractor) drew up the plans for us. The one thing he helped with was determining if we could fit a half bath anywhere (for cheap) and we couldn't, so we left it off. You do need an official plan for permits, so you'll need to hire that out if you don't know anyone. My tip is to check Craigslist - we have an architect friend who gets most of his work off CL and he's really good.
Hi - I stumbled across your website and was curious - My husband and I also live in Oregon and are planning to convert our garage into living space, but the floor would need to be raised up, so that there wouldn't be a "step down" into the converted space. I know that it has been several years since you did your conversion, but do you have a ball park figure on what it cost to raise the floor up? We are in the very early stages of planning, and this is the first place I have come across doing this. Thanks!
Hi Jane! I think you'll love having the floor raised - no one can tell it wasn't always part of the house. We didn't separate out what the floor cost - we hired a friend to help us convert the whole thing and then we did the electrical, plumbing (just moving water hoses up for raised laundry), and all the finish work. Wood and things will be different prices now and our labor was cheap. We did the whole conversion for between 10-15,000 (sorry I don't know specifics) and it's 600 sq. ft. so even at the highest it was only $25 a sq. ft. Totally worth it. 🙂
Comeca Jones says
Lucky you! My laundry are is sooo small.Ive been thinkin of ways to dress her up though.
garage remodeling says
Remodeling a garage is an awesome work, the remodeling done here is so wonderful and the colors are really light and pleasant, and gives a new and pleasant look to the entire house.
garage remodeling says
ideas that deserve to imitate, alter the function of the actual garage to function outside biasam enviable. thanks for sharing ...
garage remodeling says
I love the look and especially the shade of green. There are must be colorful of flowers that we could see anytime. They also will get the benefits of those situation
garage remodeling says
I like that design, it's awesome, your french door at laundry room inspired me, thank's mate
You did an awesome job.....love your wall color.....and I would not change a thing about the floor, just gives it a nice "patina". Your home reflects what I love to call "casual elegance". Now, do I battle the stores on Friday to find chalkboard paint.....LOL. Thanks for all this inspiration.....truly beautiful!!
You did a beautiful job on your remodel. Your colors are light and airy, and the landscaping is just right.
I couldn't agree more with you about the outside...and you did it so well!
Can you come landscape at my house? 🙂
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Thanks! This is one of my favorite colors- I've used it in two houses so far and am not tired of it!
It is "Country Moss" by Behr paints that Home Depot sells.
Thank you for sharing. This is so inspiring. I love the look and especially the shade of green. Can you tell me what paint brand and shade that is? It is sweet yet kind of neutral.