Before and After: See This Little Garage Become a Guesthouse

Can this humble, crumbling little garage be replaced by the hottest place to stay in town, all in just six short months? With a little help from trusted architects and contractors, anything is possible!

Let’s let Jude Green of That Homebird Life explain how this family decided to go from a useless garage to a multi-use guesthouse:

We pulled down an old rotting garage and constructed a guest house (with attached storage room, loft and bathroom) in its place. We’ve maximized our small lot by creating as much livable space as we can.

Our house is relatively small (1400 sq feet) which fits our family of 4 perfectly. However, our parents visit from the UK for a few weeks at a time and there really is not enough space for guests to stay in our home. We wanted to create a separate space for them to enjoy, as well as a space to double as a music room for us to use. It feels like such a luxury to have a second living space that is truly “grown-up” and doesn’t have any kid clutter in it.

So smart—it’s like having your very own boutique hotel!

So, so lovely. It is truly grown up, sophisticated without being fussy or uncomfortably fancy. That sofa looks like the perfect spot to sip a cocktail with your feet up on a pouf while your spouse serenades you on the piano.

But, as Jude reveals, creating a living space this elegant was not a completely elegant process:

We first started talking about the project in the summer of 2016, and had our architect friends (Noah & Sarah Marks) draw up the plans. We hired a general contractor for the construction (Zeke Stewart), and he began in July 2017. The project was more or less completed around December 2017.

The biggest setback (aside from Hurricane Irma) was actually before the project even began – there was some confusion over our property line which was not a fun process to figure out. It turned out that our survey was inaccurate and we didn’t realize until we tried to submit permit applications to the city.

We almost gave up on it a couple of times, and considered moving to a bigger house. But the stress is all a distant memory now and we are so glad we pushed through and kept going with the project!

Six months doesn’t seem bad at all for the construction of a new house, even without a hurricane complicating matters! And while a bigger house might have provided enough room for guests, having a totally separate structure on-site is the absolute dream: you get tons of together time, and plenty of alone time.

This is such a cool guesthouse! The piano and the deep blue walls have such gravitas, while the white walls and ceiling are so light and airy; the combination works well together. It’s rare we see musical instruments on display, let alone several of them in the same room. Jude has a musical family, so it makes sense that their second living space would double as a music room for jamming and practicing.

I love the dramatic navy walls (Benjamin Moore Hale Navy) and the high ceiling. The paneling also turned out wonderfully, and I think it adds so much character. I love the color scheme, and the layered textures. The room feels peaceful and a place that we can go to unwind and regroup.

A place built purely for enjoying being together—no laundry, no homework, no unfinished projects in every direction you look—sounds completely dreamy.

Here we can see the new paneling and the graceful chandelier, as well as the generously proportioned new windows. If I were to build a house from scratch, I would add a ridiculous amount of windows (you don’t read the Little House series as a kid without internalizing the fact that windows are the greatest luxury). In this house, it was especially smart to include large windows, knowing that half of the walls would be painted a near-black hue.

The navy, gold, and white palette is really sophisticated, and it truly suits all of the musical instruments. I especially love the way the leather pouf and pillow and wood chair have their own gleams that complement the chandelier, and the golden hues of the curtains and shades play along as well.

Check out that adorable little kitchenette! I spot a good-size mini-fridge, coffee maker, and drink essentials. Making it possible for your guests to take care of their own morning coffee, tea, and/or breakfast makes everyone’s lives better during a stay. You won’t get in each other’s way, and nobody will have to have the most important meal of the day way earlier or later than they prefer. (Same rule applies, to a lesser extent, to evening nightcaps.) And if anyone is concerned about guests having to navigate that ladder in the middle of the night, don’t be: the loft is simply a hangout spot; the bedroom is on the first level.

Jude leaves us with a few words of wisdom to share with anyone contemplating a major home project:

If you are working with a contractor, communicate often and SAY SOMETHING if things are not how you want them to be. Check in daily and keep your own punch list that you can cross check. Be patient, be thankful, and find things that are life-giving to you along the journey.

That last sentence is good advice for renovations and for life. If you’d like more photos and information about this project, be sure to check out Jude’s reveal post!

Thank you, Jude and That Homebird Life!



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