Garage Conversion in the Guardian Weekend Space


Garage makeover, exterior

Homes: garage land
How one family transformed a cluttered and neglected outbuilding into a multipurpose studio

The old garage was demolished to make way for a modern structure on the same footprint. Photographs: Matt Laver
Caroline Ednie
The Guardian, Fri 30 Mar 2012 23.01 BST
With a large apartment on the top floor of a converted Arts & Crafts villa in Edinburgh, Marjo McLaren, her husband Chris and their two teenage daughters weren’t short of space, exactly. But they did have two niggling problems. First, to reach the garden they share with neighbours, they had to go down two flights of stairs, through a communal hallway and across part of the neighbours’ garden. “We were constantly running up and down to use the loo, or to fetch food and drinks,” McLaren says. And second, McLaren, an independent travel agent, needed somewhere to work.
The answer was sitting at the bottom of the garden – a run-down garage that stored family junk: trampolines, bikes, skis, surfboards and old furniture. So the couple hired architect Jens Bergmark, who knocked it down and built a modern structure that could function as an office, a garden room and even somewhere for guests to stay.
This multipurpose studio, which cost £50,000, has a living space, a sleeping platform, toilet, shower, kitchenette and wood-burning stove. McLaren works here, her daughters have sleepovers here, and the family use it for garden parties.
To get round planning permission Bergmark built the studio on the same footprint as the old garage. He created a pitched roof designed to mirror the roof of the villa and the greenhouse. This design also created a double-height ceiling space, big enough for a mezzanine level.
Inside, windows face south and east, and large sliding glass doors lead into the garden. A sophisticated heating system provides hot water and underfloor heating, alongside a Morso stove for particularly chilly days. Pull-out ladders access the sleeping platform and are stored in a cupboard to the right of the kitchen.
Finishes and furniture are unfussy, including recycled crushed floor tiles, a lounge chair and stool from Ikea, and a Marcel Breuer Wassily Chair, a reproduction of a Gerrit Rietveld Red Blue chair and a nest of tables from Habitat.
The luxury of owning a home-within-a-home that’s bigger than some flats hasn’t passed McLaren by. “You could happily live in here,” she admits. “We might even rent it out during the festival.” As multi-use spaces go, four-in-one isn’t bad.


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