Garage Conversion - Livable Space!

Project by Olaf Gradin posted 01-08-2010 08:02 PM 16106 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Problem: New baby on the way and my third bedroom is currently occupied by a whole lot of unfriendly baby’s room kinds of things; computer, piano, files, drums, et al. Obviously this bedroom will have to cover the new baby, but where to put the miscellany…

The Task: Stretch the house’s livable space by converting a portion of the garage. Evacuate old office and make it a baby’s room!

Timeline: How long could it possibly take to convert half of your garage to livable space? Surely I’ll be done shortly after the baby arrives (in 1 month).

The Project: After the plans were settled, I had decided that I would cut my garage in half to have a 10×20 room added to the house, while maintaining another 10×20 space as garage/workshop space. The division, after some consideration, was placed across the garage’s depth as opposed to the more popular idea of dividing it by its width. Had I divided it by the width, we’d still have the potential of keeping a one-car garage. However, we have no need (nor reality) of storing cars in the garage. It currently stores my woodworking equipment and a host of stored items. Also, dividing it that way would have involved taking out the garage door and replacing it with a single door. A cost which may have been offset by the sale of the double-door, but would also have resulted in a lot more work overall. As such, I divided it across the depth and maintain the facade of a double-car garage. The advantage this offers me is that I can open up the entire workshop for the ease of pulling equipment out, loading plywood panels, or general cleanup.

In addition to this most critical of decisions, I also decided to knock out a doorway in the shared wall between home and garage, rather than continuing to use the “garage” door. I want this new room to be an integral part of the house, and a door would not help me to convey this. I also added a door on the erected wall dividing the garage and new office space.

The project’s tasks were not incredibly difficult, though some were more time consuming than others. As it happens, I learned that my mud job on the drywall was not nearly as good as I thought. There were many firsts, but drywall took the cake for being the one that really did require a level of mastery I could not attain during the job. The only other hardship was leveling the garage floor. I doubt any garage floor is level, but mine happened to sag severely through the middle where there might have been several inches difference between the center point and one of the corners. I fastened pressure treated lumber to the concrete floor to build a leveled platform upon. It went a little like building a deck – it just required a lot more adjustments in the way of tapered cuts. Afterword, I put on T&G floor sheathing to tie everything together and wound up hitting a stagnation point.

I had expected that I could knock out a lot of work during the 2 weeks of paternity leave I took after Sorscha was born, but as it turned out, I was only minimally able to work in the room. Over the next few months, I erected the dividing wall, did a lot of site cleanup, and installed insulation in both the walls (the floor was already done) and the ceiling.

In March, I finally put in the drywall. It took a long time to finish the mud and tape job. I really needed four consecutive days to do the job, but it got broken up and so required more time. I finally finished the job almost 3 months later. The walls remained unprimed for most of the rest of the year as work halted while I figured out what to do about the ceiling. I wanted to texturize it to match the rest of the house, but I didn’t want to buy the equipment – I just couldn’t find anywhere to rent it. I finally broke down in the Fall and bought a popcorn gun with hopper and primed everything.

The ceiling application was one of skill mastery that took me several tries to get right. It’s all about the consistency of the stuff. I couldn’t get it right and I didn’t have an example to put my hands in for comparison. It was really messy work, but when I got the thickness correct, it was messier still!

With the ceiling finished and walls primed and ready for paint, things were looking good for the final success of this long-running project. Fast forward to the 2009 Christmas holiday and things finally got wrapped up.

My wife got the room painted and I was able to lay down our laminate floor and finish it off with molding. These last few things didn’t take more than a couple of days to complete, so one would wonder why took over a year to complete the entire process.

For the would-be do-it-yourselfers out there, realize that it’s going to take you longer to do the same job a professional could do, and you won’t have contiguous time to do it either. If life interrupts you, it’s likely that your house job is going to get put on hold “until things ease up a bit.” It won’t happen, so you just have to make the time available you need to finish a specific section or phase of the project. Looking back, if money was not one of the chief reason I am a DIYer, I would have hired out the drywall work. I enjoyed the other parts a great deal and wouldn’t necessarily want to miss out on that fun!

In the end, we have a beautiful room to enjoy as an integral part of the house. Today, it houses my office stuff, studio grand piano, and a myriad of toys and activity center things for the kids. Sorscha has her bedroom all to herself and it is quite lovely as a baby’s room! Now if I can just get started on my workshop space, things will pretty sweet around here.

-- It takes a viking to raze a village.

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Olaf Gradin

12 posts in 5350 days

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home office garage remodeling

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22 comments so far

View Janice's profile


103 posts in 4918 days

posted 01-10-2010 02:27 AM

Well, it looks like it turned out really nice! I wish I had a garage that I could cut in half.

-- Janice

View jerome's profile


1 post in 4890 days

posted 01-10-2010 06:14 AM

Great job!

View Vickie's profile


1 post in 4888 days

posted 01-12-2010 03:11 AM

Curious about an estimated cost….We are looking at doing a similar project this Spring with the exception to building up the floor and opening it up to the existing living area. Also curious why you added insulation to your existing exterior walls…did they not have insulation already? Thanks for any info you can give.


View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

12 posts in 5350 days

posted 01-12-2010 05:38 PM

Ugh. I owe it myself to figure out the expense of this project. A portion of the reason I DIY is for the savings. It’s only theoretical unless I actually figure out the costs, however. I’ll try and put some effort behind that to estimate what it cost me to build out this addition.

As for the insulation – no, there was no insulation in the exterior walls. As it was garage space, insulation was only installed in the walls adjacent to living space. So two walls did have insulation in them, but the new wall I erected and the outside wall were without any. Of course, the outside walls – including my added wall – had external rigid insulation. For my part of the country, the reflective side is on the inside.

You mentioned that you’re not building up the subfloor – I’ll just mention that one of the reasons to do this was to put a moisture barrier between the drywall space and the concrete. That concrete will leak humidity into the room at a pace that may cause real issues with mold and your drywall.

-- It takes a viking to raze a village.

View Todd Thomas's profile

Todd Thomas

735 posts in 5277 days

posted 01-21-2010 11:57 AM

looks good well done

-- Todd- Oak Ridge, TN

View thehis's profile


6 posts in 4869 days

posted 01-31-2010 03:02 AM

Have you thought about putting up a garage screen or shade – you can get privacy while looking out and keeping your view.

-- http://www.thehis.com

View MattFNC's profile


4 posts in 4640 days

posted 09-27-2010 11:19 AM

Obviously a very clever man to do this in the time frame that you invisaged is fantastic. I also like the fact that you have allowed for flexibility in the future. By retaining the facade, any alterations will be simple and if you sell, buyers will be able to convert should they choose. Well done!

Flooring North Chicago

View DebbieGartner's profile


2 posts in 4612 days

posted 10-15-2010 04:06 AM

Yes, anytime you attempt to do-it-yourself, it always seems to take longer than you think.

-- Westchester hardwood flooring

View tenonitis's profile


1 post in 4612 days

posted 10-15-2010 01:19 PM

With respect to the timing of a project, I have through long experience come up with an accurate method of calculation. I carefully determine a projected time, then multiply by 10 and use the next larger units.

View Radicalfarmergal's profile


10 posts in 4617 days

posted 10-15-2010 01:47 PM

Beautiful room you created.

View seane360's profile


4 posts in 4641 days

posted 11-10-2010 12:01 PM

I’m wondering if there is enough space to put your piano and drums as the new space (not the baby’s room) doesn’t look too big to accommodate them.

Great project btw, looks like it was finished beautifully – really like that funky ceiling fan you’ve installed.

-- Seane - http://www.360rugs.com/Large-Area-Rugs/

View RustyGoldman's profile


2 posts in 4497 days

posted 02-07-2011 10:50 AM

One month! That is a fine line. Sure it is possible, however you will need to work very smartly and probably long hours. I hope you have succeeded as it is a fabulous idea and you will certainly create a very livable home for your young family. Good luck!

-- Rusty - http://kingwood.floorcoveringsinternational.com

View MattOD's profile


2 posts in 4489 days

posted 02-15-2011 05:35 AM

I guess it is achievable if you do not run into any difficulties. I would be interested in knowing what flooring you used and if you did in fact meet your tight time line.

-- Matt - http://www.plastmo.co.uk

View BrianLuntz's profile


5 posts in 4500 days

posted 03-25-2011 04:30 AM

I’m not much of a DIY or big-project person but I’m amazed that you are able to do this all by yourself, but I would put in the money for the drywall work because I’ll just make a big mess!

-- Brian - http://arlington.floorcoveringsinternational.com

View Paddyhere's profile


8 posts in 4839 days

posted 06-06-2011 06:38 AM

Great home improvement you’ve done and I must say the results look amazing!

-- Paddy | http://www.eurocell.co.uk/

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


204 posts in 5045 days

posted 06-07-2011 03:13 AM

Well Done.


View joeCommercial's profile


5 posts in 4495 days

posted 06-07-2011 09:39 AM

The room looks extraordinary! And the ceiling fan/lights, compliments the entire room. I must get me one of those!

-- Joe - http://www.litecraftcommercial.co.uk

View davestone1's profile


2 posts in 4374 days

posted 06-10-2011 06:37 AM

DIY is an intristic activity that can give a lot of meaning to the space you have created, through your own hardwork and sweat. The effort and attempt to achieve professional job standards are an uphill task, but it is possible to some extent. Flaws are unavoidable but it definitely cuts cost on employing an external interior designer to manage your home.

-- Dave - http://www.bristol-garden-design.com/

View joeCommercial's profile


5 posts in 4495 days

posted 06-15-2011 09:59 AM

Congratulations on the newborn. It looks great! You did a really good job with the room I must say. I see that you kept the green color; it makes everything look relaxing and peaceful. I think the room is going to be just perfect for your baby.

-- Joe - http://www.litecraftcommercial.co.uk

View webbizideas's profile


1 post in 4368 days

posted 06-16-2011 03:22 AM

Now that’s definitely a proud piece of work any owner would gladly acclaim for.

-- Jim - http://www.ownerbuiltmn.com/

View Kaitlyn's profile


66 posts in 517 days

posted 02-03-2023 08:37 AM

This garage conversion is a great way to create more livable space! It is an ideal option for those who are looking to add value to their property while also making their home more comfortable and enjoyable. The project can be tailored to fit any budget and the results can be incredibly rewarding. garage door installation huntington beach With a successful conversion, you can create an extra room, a separate living area, or even an entire apartment. If you are interested in taking on this project, it is sure to be a rewarding experience that will add value to your home and provide you with more comfortable and enjoyable living space.

View cathyA's profile


43 posts in 78 days

posted 03-28-2023 07:08 AM

In this picture, we can see a messy room. While going through the article, we can understand that they are expecting the arrival of a new baby and that’s the need to peter veres artistic photography arrange these room beautifully. Making a babys room needs more care and it also requires more space. Good to see this arrangement here.

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