I have a separate garage with an unfinished upstairs. Its a pretty large
garage, a big 2 car with a single "attached" for my tractor, etc. The
apartment has a large main room and a nice "cape" style side room. I would
like to make it into a studio or possible one bedroom apartment. Does
anyone know of online plans? I've found plans for garages with apartments
but they are very specific to each garage. Maybe just some sites with pics
or ideas? I'm just trying to use the space the best way possible.
Before you expend time, money, and effort on worrying about layout and
interior design, first 3 steps are to make sure the basic structure there
meets local code for living space (floor strength, fire breaks, egress
requirements, that sort of thing), that there is a practical way to get
utilities (plumbing and HVAC) up there, and that local zoning and the
covenants for your neighborhood or subdivision (if they exist), allow for
rental units and/or 'granny flats', aka 'mother in law' apartments. For
example, on the egress, most of the areas I am familiar with require an
exterior stairway, and most areas require a full fire break between the
garage area and the living space.
If none of that is an issue, like you said, it is a <very> site specific
thing. If you don't have the expertise yourself, spend the money for a site
survey by a residential designer or architect. A good one will have the
expertise to answer the engineering questions, and have a grasp for what is
needed to make a livable space that someone would actually be willing to pay
rent on. Even if this is for guest or family use, think about who you
envision sleeping up there- will they be willing/able to deal with stairs,
especially in bad weather? If they are older, how about in five or ten
years? A glorified tree house for a boomerang adult child to use for a
couple of years is one thing, a safe place for a mother-in-law is something
While all those are good caveats, I don't think you necessarily
need an architect/engineer to desing the place, unless your
municipality requires stamped drawings.
Find a website on which to stick measured drawings and a couple
photographs each of the inside and outside, along with an
order-of-magnitude guess as to how much money you've got
to spend. (Raising the roof is going to cost a bit more
than adding a skylight...) and then ask again.
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