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Jun 29 2010

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Garage Apartment Studio: Tips for One-Room Living

006G-0078 Garage Apartment PlanLiving in a limited space is tough, but many make do with the space they have. When considering garage apartment plans and studio apartments, one-room living is about as tricky as you can get. This challenge is most often faced by city dwellers, seniors and students. So how do you make the most of living is a garage studio apartment? The Garage Plan Shop has some tips that will help you turn your one-room living space into a functional and stylish abode.


First you must assess how you live. Do you like to entertain? Do you work from home? Will you have occasional or frequent overnight guests?


Next you must edit your belongings. What do you absolutely need in your studio apartment? What items can you donate to charity? What items can be put in storage?


The next step is to divide the room into public and private spaces. Depending on the way you live will determine how much public and private space you need. You’ll probably want a sleeping area, sitting/entertaining area, a workspace/office area, a dining space and kitchen. Try separating the sleeping area from the rest of the room using a bookcase as a room divider or perhaps a folding screen. You may even want to include your desk in the private space.


Now it is time to create zones with the remaining common areas. This can be done using furniture, area rugs or even lighting. For instance, hang a chandelier over the entertaining space and place and area rug beneath it with a couch along one edge designating this space as the entertaining space. This entertaining space might also be your socializing and eating space as well.


From this point, the rest is all in the way you arrange, furnish and organize your one-room living space. These pointers will help you finish your space with style and function.


·         Choose multi-functional furniture such as a coffee table that can double for dining or a bench with storage inside.

·         Select furniture on legs so you can see under each piece making the room feel more spacious.

·         Use a few big pieces of furniture. A bunch of small pieces make a room feel cluttered.

·         Decorate with one color and incorporate different textures through furniture pieces, flooring, rugs and window treatments. A tight palette creates visual cohesion.

·         Choose decorative boxes, bins and baskets of different shapes, colors and textures to store small belongings. Stack them in open spaces at the bottoms of desks and end tables.

·         Think vertical when it comes to storage. Shelves, wall-mounted cubes and bookshelves are must haves.

·         Select space saving furniture and accessories such as a flat screen TV that hangs on the wall.

·         Let your space dictate the quantity of your belongings.

·         Be prepared for company. Incorporate a few movable furniture pieces to accommodate guests. Consider ottomans, a bench or a few wooden chairs that can be moved near the sofa when visitors arrive.

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May 26 2010

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Featured Design: Unique Garage Apartment Plan for a Sloping Lot

051G-0008 Unique Garage PlanIf you are challenged by a sloping lot but wish to add extra living and parking space to your residence, this unique garage apartment plan is worth taking a second look.  Arts and Crafts styling dresses up the exterior ensuring it will blend nicely with your Craftsman style home. The drive-under garage tucks neatly into any hillside with side-entry stalls for two vehicles. This two-car garage offers 880 square feet of unfinished parking space complete with dual overhead doors and a convenient service entry. Furthermore, the extra deep bays easily handle oversized vehicles and work well for boat storage. Handy exterior stairs offer access to the living quarters from the lower level, or you can enter from the covered front porch where sturdy columns atop stone pediments greet all. Inside the living quarters, two coat closets stand at the ready in the entry, which directs traffic to the open floor plan beyond. Here, the studio apartment with full bath delivers comfortable accommodations for weekend visitors, the in-laws or even you college student. Thoughtful extras include a meal-prep island and vaulted ceilings paired with sparkling windows making the living areas feel spacious and comfortable. Stylish and functional, this unique garage apartment plan can’t be beat.

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Jun 19 2009

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Garage Apartment for a Weekend Retreat

007G-0007My family loves being outdoors…biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, and the list goes on. When my wife and I purchased nearly 600 wooded acres about two hours from our suburban home, there was no there was no doubt we’d be spending many weekends there with our kids, extended family and friends. We have a couple of nice fishing lakes and several trails for hiking and riding ATVs and dirt bikes. On long weekends we invite friends and family to the property for cookouts, swimming, fishing and camping in tents. When the fall hunting season rolls around the place transforms into “deer camp” as my brother and a couple hunting buddies arrive with their pop-up campers. I am certain everyone has enjoyed numerous hours and days of fun at our little piece of the wilderness.


However, my wife and I do have an eye focused on our retirement. This is the place where we’d like to build a home, the place where we will grow old together and spend time with our grand kids. But in the meantime, we are not getting any younger and camping is getting to be a little bit harder on the body. Plus with teenagers now, no trip to the woods is easy. We strategically load the ATV and dirt bikes on the bed of the truck and pack everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) around them until the truck cannot hold one more thing. Then we hitch up the boat and trailer and away we go to our wooded getaway where we will spend at least a few hours unloading and setting up camp before the fun can begin.


It seemed to my wife and I that there had to be a better way. That’s when we decided to build a garage apartment. It was the perfect solution to our packing challenges and it makes spending the night more comfortable. We chose a garage apartment that would accommodate all of our needs. With a large garage area, we now have room to park the truck while we are there and also have a place to store the boat, ATV and dirt bikes safely while we are away. With so much storage space, we’ve expanded out “water toy collection” a little bit. Now we have a canoe and a pair of kayaks that hang from the garage ceiling when not in use. But these aren’t the only things we needed to store. We didn’t want to have to pack up and bring our fishing poles, tackle boxes, life jackets and hunting clothes every time we left suburbia for the woods. With a little research, I was able to find garage organizers for all of these things and now we can just put everything away at the end of the weekend leaving all of it in the country. Better than that, we don’t have to spend hours unloading everything each time we arrive in the country. We just pull up, jump out of the truck and enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods.


The upstairs living quarters of our garage apartment are modest, but comfortable. The compact kitchen allows us to easily cook meals even when an unexpected storm puts the campfire out. Two bedrooms give my wife and I our own space and the kids a place to crash too. A full bath accommodates our needs. If we invite guests to stay with us for the weekend, the open and flexible living area allows room for a pull-out couch and a couple of sleeping bags. The laundry closet is something I thought we could do without, but I am sure glad my wife talked me into it. It is nice to be able to throw a load of towels in after spending an afternoon swimming in the lake or wash and dry some of the basics after hunting in the rain all day.


The garage apartment is a far cry from “roughing it,” be we can still sleep under the stars on a nice night if we want to. Besides, there are other advantages. Some have asked if we plan to build a house here in the future, why didn’t we just build the house to begin with? For starters, we are still saving up for our dream home, and we still don’t know exactly what we want. This gives us time to live with the land and figure out just where we want to build our house to get the best views and take advantage of the landscape. And when the time comes, I’ll feel lucky to have temporary living quarters at the jobsite during construction of our permanent home. It will sure beat sleeping in a tent at age sixty-something or having to drive two hours to check on the progress of construction. And when our dream home is finished, this cozy little garage apartment will be a perfect guest house and no doubt it will still be the storage space for everything it holds now.


Looking forward to living with Mother Nature for many years to come…

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Jun 03 2009

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Your Garage Apartment: How to Rent it Out

030G-0002There are many benefits to owning a garage apartment. You’ll have the additional parking and storage space you need and potential income from a tenant who might otherwise be paying rent somewhere else. Better than that, charging rent gives you extra financial means to pay off the construction of your new garage. It is a win-win situation unless you don’t know how to go about finding a tenant to rent out the apartment. Below are a few tips that will help you rent out your new garage apartment.


1.     Check with your local government. Many areas and subdivisions have restrictions against renting a portion of your property to someone else. While city laws may allow you to use your garage apartment personally for perhaps a guest suite for overnight visitors, many municipalities have laws preventing you from using the apartment as a source of income. So before you even start construction on your new garage apartment, make sure renting is permitted in your area.

2.     Do your homework. Find out if there are any zoning regulations in your area. Some cities and neighborhoods require that you get approval from neighbors before you can lease your property to a renter. In most cases a notice is sent to your neighbors (i.e. anyone whose property boarders yours or anyone who lives within a specified distance, such as 500 feet, from the dwelling you plan to lease.) These people will be given a specific amount of time, such as 30 days, to object. If there are no objections you are given a permit to lease the garage apartment. If someone does object, your request will be denied.

3.     Ask a competitive price. Take some time to research other garage apartments and apartment buildings in your area. Go look at them so you know what is being offered. Find out what price each one is renting for. Make sure your price is comparable to other units in the area of a similar square footage and amenities. If you price your property too high, you won’t get any potential renters.

4.     Use strategic advertising. While garage apartments can be quite accommodating, they generally have a small square footage limiting the number of potential renters. Advertise in areas where there are a lot of singles and college students who may not require a great amount of space or will be just fine with the basics. Get permission to put of flyers on college campuses and in other areas where young singles are likely to gather.

5.     Interview your potential renter. When someone shows interest in the garage apartment, don’t just offer it to them on the spot. Make an appointment for a formal interview with the perspective tenant. After all, this is your property. You want to be certain you will lease the apartment to someone who will respect your property as you would, otherwise you may be headed for trouble in the future. Get to know the person so you can get a good feel if this person is the right fit for you and your apartment.


Leasing your garage apartment is a wonderful income opportunity for you, and it is the ideal way to pay off the construction of your dream garage. With these helpful tips, you should be well on your way to renting out the living space of your new garage apartment.

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May 13 2009

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Build a Garage with Living Space


If you’re going to add a garage to your home, consider a garage apartment. One of today’s most popular trends, garage apartments offer the parking space you need and an added bonus: living space. Garage apartments are available in a variety of sizes and floor plans and come in a wide range of architectural styles ensuring you’ll find one to match your home.


What is a garage apartment? It is a garage design which incorporates a modest yet fully functional living space. Typically, the living space delivers one or more bedrooms and baths, a compact kitchen and a living area. Some even offer other features like an eating bar, a porch/deck, special ceiling treatments and more. Garage apartments are typically designed with the parking areas on the first floor and the living spaces above. However, some floor plans are designed all on one level.


So why should you consider building a garage apartment? Many of the top reasons are listed below.


  • Add Value to your Home: A functional garage apartment adds value to your property and extra curb appeal. You’ll have plenty of sheltered parking and flexible living space to use any way you wish.
  • Guest or In-Law Suite: Your overnight visitors and weekend guests will have comfortable accommodations and plenty of privacy in the garage apartment.
  • Independent Living with Assistance: If you find yourself helping care for an aging relative who needs minor assistance but prefers independent living, consider one-level garage apartment designs. These floor plans offer all the comforts of home without the challenge of stairs to climb.
  • Office Space: If you have a home based business, you’ll find a garage apartment provides the right accommodations for a home office and plenty of space to meet with clients, etc. Convert the bedroom area to an office and use the living areas as your conference area. With a full bath and a kitchen, you’ll feel as if you went to work without ever leaving home.
  • Entertainment Space: For those who enjoy hosting get-togethers and have the extended family over for dinner on every holiday, the apartment area is perfect for a game home, home theater or recreation area. With the compact kitchen it is easy to serve drinks and snacks. Better yet, let the kids hang out in the apartment while you enjoy adult conversation in the home.
  • Rental Property: If you’d like extra income to help you pay for your dream garage, consider renting the second floor apartment to a college student, a single or a couple. You’ll easily pay off your garage without having to pay for all of it out of your pocket.
  • Hobby Area: Perhaps you have a hobby that requires a workshop and craft area. Use one stall of the garage for all the dirty work like cutting wood and painting, and use the living areas to add the finishing touches.
  • Flex Space: As your family grows and changes, your garage apartment can change with you. Use it to satisfy your needs at any particular time. Do you need an exercise area, a quite place for your student to study or an sewing room? An open floor plan might satisfy your needs best. Just change the room arrangement as your lifestyle or needs change.

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