Small Living SolutionTurn a Garage into a Small Home
As much as we love small homes, let's face it, we live in a nation that thrives on large. When in the market for a new home, we’re unlikely to find small homes readily at hand for purchasing or renting out – particularly if you prefer certain cities over others.
One easy solution is to consider renting out or purchasing garage units, lots for mother-in-law sized homes, or even converting sheds into livable spaces.
With all of these choices, garage conversions are the obvious go to solution for small living enthusiasts.
Nowadays it's easy to convert a garage into a small home. With a few careful considerations and an easy to follow checklist, you can be well on your way to a fantastic small home.
Before you begin hammering and chiseling away, one thing you need to consider are your city’s zoning laws.
Most cities require homeowners to have a building permit if they want to convert a garage or shed into an extended residence. In order for smooth sailing renovations, you’ll need to show that the building structure is up to code and you’ll also be required to submit the set of plans for future renovations and construction.
Something else to keep in mind and sort out in the beginning stages is that some cities require a minimum room size for a garage conversion. This depends entirely on the zoning ordinance in your city.
Of course, if we could have it our way, we'd have the room of our dreams for the cost of pennies on the dollar. However, realistically, you should expect to spend anywhere between $25k to $40k (a lot, but much cheaper than a house!).
The cost can add up quickly if you consider all that goes into it - insulation, installing windows, electrical, plumbing, flooring, energy-efficient heating, paint, fixtures, furniture, and so on.
Your ultimate budget will depend upon such things as whether the garage has access to existing utilities, heat and/or air conditioning. You also may be able to cut costs by doing some of your own carpentry work or other tasks - but this is only recommended if you know what you're doing.
The last thing you want is to put in all that time, effort, and money, only to have it look like a completely failed attempt. In this case, it might very well cost you more to fix it - so why not do it right the first time (and hire somebody to do it for you!).
While it’s great that your new small home will be practical and efficient, there still remains the question of how you’re going to get it to look great.
Small home dwellers know that how your space is organized and decorated is an important challenge, but with a few key tips, you’re well on your way to being aesthetically pleased:
Visually lightweight furniture offers a more open feel
Vertical emphasis gives height to the room
Take advantage of natural lighting
Use multi-tasking furniture
Carve out niches for different activities
Make use of built-in storage units
Conversion Checklist at a Glance
1. Get architectural plans
2. Apply for and secure permits
3. Frame the room and connect to the existing plumbing
4. Do electrical wiring
5. Connect to existing HVAC unit if necessary, or invest in a garage heater
6. Add insulation if necessary
7. Put up drywall
8. Install flooring/carpeting
9. Finish up carpentry, paint and any finishing touches.
Photos courtesy of: This Old House
Article Submitted by: Shireen Qudosi, Content Writer, http://www.air-n-water.com