Crumbling Garage to Airy Living Space

Caitlin Bigelow
by Caitlin Bigelow
5 Materials
10 Months

After the great success of my mom’s garage conversion ADU, we decided to help out our friends Becca and Anthony convert their own garage.

For those of you that don't know, an ADU is a structure that has its own entrance, separate from the primary house, as well as a kitchen , bathroom and living space. You may also have heard them referred to as granny flats.

Becca and Anthony's garage looked like it was on the verge of collapsing, but a structural engineer assured us that the damage was mostly cosmetic. Phew!

But still, we had quite a project ahead of us. Here's what the garage looked like before we worked our magic.

So what's the procedure?

1) Figure out a game plan. You need to ask yourself what is your timeline, what is your budget, how big do you want to build, what is your vision? Don’t go into a big project like this blindly.

2) Go to your city’s permitting office to find out what permits you need and what regulations need to be met. This is a very long process but patience is key!

Tip: Make sure to bring blueprints and an aerial view of your property to ask if building an ADU on your property is even allowed!

3) Find the right contractor. As much as we’d love to DIY, this step just can’t be skipped. You must have a licensed contractor. Never run the risk of hiring someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications. You need someone who is professional, experienced, communicative, and reliable.

4) Build. The time has come to start construction on your new ADU. It’s a scary but exciting moment to finally watch your structure take form. Just look how much the garage has transformed already!

Tip: Before you start hammering away, we highly recommend notifying the neighborhood about the new project. This will hopefully lessen tension should you have a disgruntled neighbor that’s angry about the noise and debris.

5) Design! This is the home stretch of your project, but also the most exciting part in our opinion. Luckily, Becca is an interior designer so she knew just how to make her ADU beautiful inside and out. Just look at this kitchen!

6) Enjoy!

We absolutely love how this ADU turned out. Becca decided on these really great accordion doors to promote indoor and outdoor living taking this living space to another level.

We can absolutely see ourselves living in this home.

Let's breakdown some of the costs:

  • $11,000 for accordion doors that create beautiful flow
  • $6,500 to restructure the garage
  • $17,000 for a credible licensed contractor
  • $1,500 for outdoor patio furniture

Other costs:

  • $10,000 for design plans
  • $6,500 for permit fees

The grand total: $150,000

Don't be put off by the hefty price tag! An ADU likes this will bring numerous financial and life benefits.

Happy building!

Suggested materials:
  • General Contractor   (Maxable)
  • Accordion Doors   (Panoramic Doors)
  • Funky Tiles   (La Fuente Imports)
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