If your property has a garage but you don’t put a car in it, you might consider transforming it into a space that better fulfils your needs.
Cars are more reliable and robust than they used to be, so most of us are happy to leave our vehicles on the driveway, even if we have a garage. It’s all too easy to use the garage as a general dumping ground but, with the help of your Chartered Architect, it could serve a more useful purpose.
‘Converting your garage is a cost-effective way of adding space as you already have the structure,’
says Ricky Mahy, Technical Director at Create. ‘You’ll probably need to upgrade the floor and ceiling with insulation and add electrics and plumbing. Attached garages are usually well connected internally through a kitchen or utility room and therefore make very good guest wings as they’re integral to the house but are a separate element.’
As well as guest accommodation, there are a number of options for a garage conversion: a home office, gym, playroom, teenagers’ lounge or utility room, for example. If the garage is adjacent to the kitchen, the space could even be used to create a covetable larger kitchen diner. Done right, the creation of another habitable room could add value to your home.
Before you start, you will need to consider what to do with everything you currently keep in the garage. Garden tools and the lawnmower could be housed in a new shed, and maybe your loft space needs upgrading, or the addition of a proper loft ladder for easy access. Alternatively, you could convert the back of the garage into a small storeroom. Hiring a skip or picking up a one-tonne bag will help you to have a good clear-out, and do check out gov.gg/recycling to find out what to do with anything that could be reused or recycled.
As a garage conversion involves a change of use, you will need approval from Planning and Building Control before you go ahead. The Island Development Plan tends to support initiatives to run a business from home as reducing the number of commuters is good for the environment.
Create will guide you through the process and advise you on the measures you will need to take to ensure the existing structure is sound, particularly if your garage has a flat roof and you are thinking of creating an additional room above it. The thermal insulation will need to be upgraded and the room will have to be made damp and waterproof to comply with Building Regulations. ‘Once completed the garage can be the warmest room in the house if it’s made thermally efficient,’ assures Ricky.
Nine times out of ten you will be replacing the garage door with either a solid wall or a wall with a door and window, and the aim is to make the conversion look like part of the original house. It’s also vital that you maintain access to your garden for the removal of waste. Your Chartered Architect’s knowledge and advice are invaluable, and the Create team has lots of experience in similar projects.
La Bouvee is a traditional Victorianised farmhouse building that had a large 1960s extension to the rear, connected to the main house via a carport. When Create remodelled the rear extension to provide extended living facilities on the ground floor, with a new master bedroom suite at first-floor level, the carport was converted into a spa room. A small extension was added to the kitchen, providing light and airy dining facilities and access onto a paved terrace area.
Semiahmoo is a great example of a garage being incorporated into the kitchen. The sleek, open-plan kitchen and dining space totally transformed this bungalow, and plenty of wow factor was provided by the removal of the ceiling in the new kitchen area to create a double-height space which allows natural light to flood in.
Unless you love your car so much that you want it to have its own four walls and a roof over its head, you could be using this valuable space more wisely.
To get some inspiration for your own project, review the projects listed above and contact us to request a free consultation.