I’ve been noticing quite a few garage renovations on my daily get-me-away-from-my-kids-before-I-implode walks. Makes sense. As remote learning and working continue to be the norm for many families, homeowners are increasingly desperate to carve out more private space. An unused garage, with the help of a contractor and architect, can become a stand-alone yoga room, guest bedroom, art studio, garage bar (a popular garage conversion in my town for obvious reasons)—truly, any space you can dream up, as long as your local building codes allow for it.
As for me, I’m considering converting our garage—currently musty, dusty, and highly disorganized—into a serene home office where I can work for a few hours without interruption, where I’m far away from the constant demands for snacks and more screen time (if a kid whines and his mom isn’t around to hear it, did it happen?).
Here, 10 great garage conversions from our archives to dream about:
Los Angeles, California
Above: Writer Christine Lennon got everything on her wish list for her garage conversion: a guest bedroom, a home office, a changing area for the pool, and an outdoor shower. See Small-Space Living: An Inspired Garage Conversion that Prioritizes Smart Storage. Photograph by Stephen Paul and Paul Anderson, courtesy of Hunker. London, England
Above: Designer Mark Lewis transformed an unloved garage into “suburban Edwardian” guest quarters. See A Garage Converted into a Compact Guest Cottage, Courtesy of Mark Lewis. Photograph by Rory Gardiner, courtesy of Mark Lewis Interior Design. Studio City, California
Above: Model Carolyn Murphy didn’t renovate her garage; she simply redecorated. The transformation of the space into an art studio took just three days! See Carolyn Murphy’s Painting Studio—in the Garage. Photograph by Grey Crawford. San Francisco, California
Above: This remarkable transformation actually involved a dilapidated shed (and not a garage) but its design lessons can be easily applied to a garage conversion as well. See Before & After: A Derelict Shed in San Francisco Transformed Into an Artist’s Studio. Melbourne, Australia
Above: Melbourne, Australia-based Hearth Studio turned a garage into a small home complete with kitchen, dining area, bedroom, and bath (with green clawfoot tub). The designers managed to fit it all in while retaining the character of the garage, including its hardworking concrete floor. For more, see Outbuilding of the Week: Garage Turned Studio Apartment . Photograph by Lauren Bamford. Los Angeles, California
Above: In place of two cars, the approximately 400 square foot garage now has a kitchen, eating area, and bed. See more of this inspired conversion in Found Space: A Garage-Turned-Cottage in LA. Photograph by Jessica Alexander, courtesy of Allprace Properties. Mill Valley, California
Above: A one-car garage outside of San Francisco became a guest cottage, or “grottage,” with the addition of French doors, a wall of storage space, and a tiny kitchen and bath. Read the whole story in Outbuilding of the Week: The 186-Square-Foot Guest Cottage. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista. Austin, Texas
Above: A garage turned guest house has a bedroom alcove with a dormer window (above the bed) which mimics and size and shape of a kitchen window in the main house. For more of this garage, see Outbuilding of the Week: Back Alley House by Tim Cuppett Architects. Photograph courtesy of Tim Cuppett Architects. Oakland, California
Above: Architect Christi Azevedo’s hands-on knowledge of fabrication, construction, and materials is on display in her renovation of a dilapidated, 360-square-foot 1908 carriage house in Oakland, California. See more in A California Carriage House Transformed. Photograph by Susanne Friedrich and Henry DeFauw, courtesy of Christi Azevedo. Auckland, New Zealand
Above: Designer Karin Montgomery Spath transformed a garage, for clients to live in while their house in Auckland was being renovated. “I suggested that I could make a loft apartment above the two-car garage for them to live in during the renovation, and that it wouldn’t cost much more than a rental,” says Karin.For more of this project, see Small Space Living: An Airy Studio Apartment in a Garage. Photograph by Matthew Williams. Portland, Oregon
Above: A Portland, Oregon couple converted a garage into three distinct parts: a ceramics studio, a storage room for bikes, and a wood shop. The ceramics studio, shown through the sliding glass doors above, is partitioned from the rest of the space to be free of dust from the wood shop. Read the whole story in Rehab Diaries: A Garage Turned Studio Workshop in Portland, OR. Los Angeles, California
Above: A Hollywood couple remodeled their 100-year-old garage to become a miniature house in full, complete with a living space, kitchen, bedroom, bath, and private patio. Read the whole story in Rehab Diary: From Garage to Tiny Cottage in LA, on a Budget. Photograph by Bethany Nauert. Washington, D.C.
Above: Architect Catherine Fowlkes of Fowlkes Studio converted a unused garage into a guest cabana and to create direct access from the house into a large backyard. For more of this project, see Outbuilding of the Week: A Guest Cabana in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Brandon Webster courtesy of Fowlkes Studio.
Find more ways to make better use of the garage: