Houzz TV: A Couple’s Garage Becomes Their Chic New Home

Houzz TV: A Couple’s Garage Becomes Their Chic New Home

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Houzz TV: A Couple’s Garage Becomes Their Chic New Home

Bryan and Jen Danger left their Portland, Oregon, home for about three years, first moving to British Columbia for Jen’s job and then enjoying a yearlong road trip south through Mexico and Central America. During that time, they got rid of most of their belongings and rented out their early-1970s home. “When we got back, we realized we wanted to be here a significant portion of the year but we couldn’t afford our mortgage, so we talked through the options,” Bryan says. “The garage became an ‘aha’ moment.”

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Natalie Gonzales

Awesome project. Nice to see people enjoy one another and live freely. They always say do what you love and the rest will follow. And it looks like this has lead to a business. Really made me think about adding on a small adu over my rental property that I can live in. Thanx for the wonderful idea.

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Queen Bee of Honey Dos

This is a fabulous job! Basically a tiny house inside another house. The tiny house market is soaring right now, and for all the same reasons as this article states. Low mortgage stress, easy lifestyle, downsizing for simplicity, etc.

I think this is also a great alternative for a vacation home. If you haven't seen the inside of an actual tiny house, take a look at this article.

Tiny Houses Make a Big Splash!

PS. Love the screw number sign!

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stephen55
Great job on living the life you want and having the freedom to do so. Thank you for sharing your story.
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leslieg2013

Ooh, the kitchen is my fave! And house numbers made from screws?? Awesome!

Our local building codes limit accessory dwellings to 120 sq. feet. Bummer.

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comfy by design

This is a smart option to pay a mortgage. The amount of space that was used is a comfortable amount for a couple. I like the use of high ceiling heights for the bedroom.

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Eva Tuersley
Absolutely love it!
I'm on my fourth major purge and still not done.
More people should live like this.
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SD Design Studio

Interesting! but...is that an exposed OSB countertop next to the gas range? fire hazard?

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tippingpoint

There are no windows. That door can't be open in a Portland winter. How dark and glum that would be.

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mggrz

This is an awesome project! I will definitely use some of the ideas in my 70m2 ADU that I swapped my large house for a a few years ago. I am on the path to mortgage freedom in 5 years. and the funny thing is, Its the best house Ive lived in. You really dont need much to have happiness. freedom from financial burden is certainly one of the secrets.

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simps214
Paying off your mortgage and traveling around the world? Bravo! :-)
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Mr Tv Installations
Very beautiful
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Kivi
Awesome all around. There is much to be inspired by from the lifestyles you have chosen to embrace.
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Linus Reimann-Kaißer

great

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raphaelafoxx

Oh! how heart thumping! I love it so much. I am re decorating a small studio. I adore small spaces, I think they squeeze all the creative out...like a good fruit juicer!

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raphaelafoxx

Congratulations to you both.




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Jane Fowler

Fabulous! I simply love everything about it!


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apstrong1

Some clever ideas but it's way to dark. I have a demolition saw you could have borrowed to add a window or two.

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couleehill1
Where do you and your renters park ?
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whistlebritchess

Definitely different strokes for different folks. I would find this a very depressing place to live. Way too dark with the grey and metal. For a couple, too much space used up for the kitchen. My eyes were immediately drawn to the unfinished OSB with all the metal framing around it. Looks like it is waiting to be painted. They actually need another source of natural light as well. The Lab is the best part of this dwelling.

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Warren Phillips

great idea - I think I will do this for retirement - in Oz we call that an ancillary dwelling rather than accessory.

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lobster_carter
this is absolutely lovely. I would have loved to see the bedroom
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Jeff Hangartner

How are the bugs, critters etc. while door/window is wide open? I guess the folding doors give you some options. I built a 20' x 20' cabin once. It was all the space I needed. Kudos!

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D.R. Long, Architect + Associates

Glad to see that right up front the article details that the couple went through the review/approval process with the local code office. This is something akin to the reversal of the role many lakeside properties have undergone: convert an out building into a rental to offset or maximize income to offset the costs of taxes and mortgage. I have to say it's an ingenious take on the income property situation!

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Gerald Lorentz

This is a "Wow" moment. . . excellent article of an efficient, modern, space inhabited by a couple that has lived by their philosophy. Great job!

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Dianna

Good for you....looks great. Blessings, Good Health and Happiness to you both!

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wallacegal

The design overall is wonderful, but I have two problems with it. The loft. As cool as it is, there will come a day when the homeowners no longer want to or can climb stairs. And there is no minor guard rail along the edge. What happens if you roll too close to the edge and fall over the side? For those two reasons alone, I could never live there, no matter how awesome the overall design is.

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The Highland Lace Co.

Amazing! Beautiful commitment to their ideals and way of one wild life ! Would love to see tactile textiles in there just to soften the edges a bit.



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Lynn G

Too bad zoning laws in most areas still prevent such sharing/splitting of homes.

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mariatstadt

a home with great intentions manifested in cool design. Inspiring! (btw, let's give credit to the great poet Mary Oliver for the quote in the kitchen.)

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rankosgd

Beautiful and smart. Love the quote. What is the source and price for the folding door?

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loniluna

Very tastefully done! Here too we cannot have more than one home on a property, so this option would be out. However, you can achieve the same cash flow effect through a variety of different mechanisms.

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grammasal98

Nice job! My imagination just refuses to go there, no matter how hard I try. I'd love to see some of your other projects.

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Delora Dickey

Seems perfect for a young, agile couple with no children. Admit to extending a chuckle about the "privacy fence" that is closely surrounded by 2 story homes peering into the hot tub side yard (clothing is NOT optional, but mandatory!). ha, ha

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livengoodelaine
Very beautifully and cleverly realized. I have downsize envy
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Bob Anderson

Brilliant. These people are consciously living, redefining everything as they go along - and it works! Impressive couple, impressive design. I couldn't do the sleeping loft - but all else is just great. Kudos. Next for them: a book :)

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hiveandhome
Wow! That rolling kitchen bar table is just what I've been thinking about for my small kitchen. Is there a certain piece of hardware that was used on the cabinet side for rollers? Thank you.
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rainigirl

Clever! Clever! Clever! You two have it in spades:) I "Love" your wall map idea. Have a blast with your life.

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silviakunst
It proves that All you need is Love and a little space that works for you !
What a great story ! Looking at my Garage now ....
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triebe18
Can you please tell me which company makes sliding folding doors ?
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Louella Parsons

Beautifully done. I love it.

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Vicki Capstaff

I love the shower! Concrete! Who would of thought of that? I'd love to know how you did that and what all it entails. Did the contractor do it or you? How long does it last? Gosh, I have so many questions cause I want this in my house!!! Sealed and with what? Is the floor entirely concrete as well, looks like it?


Also, we had considered OSB for our flooring too, what did you use and how did you finish that?


Thanks!

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nicki777

really inspiring! I'm in the process of relocating and simplifying my expenses. This has inspired me to look at even more housing options!


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David Hurtado
Well done Bryan and Jen. The space is great. I can't say what I like because this comment would be too long, but top on my list is the shower, wow!!!
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maunyk

BRILLIANT!! Have been wrestling with ADU possibilities in our suburban (albeit handy to the city) 1970's tri level with large garage.


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Lezley Barclay
I can't see or figure where the entrance to the bathroom is - I see the big area behind the kitchen for the bathroom, but where is the access? Thanks
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Wharfside

What a clever and fantastic idea.

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mmckissack

Clever, lovely design but I'm curious to know where everyone (homeowners and renters) park their cars? I guess there must be ample off street parking?

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cecuadorg

I'm curious to find out what the renters in the original house are using as a garage...?

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Karen Dumont

I love the way that every bit of space was used creatively and efficiently. What an inspiration!!

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AgentOwned Realty / Signature Premier Properties

What a great way to make excellent use of a relatively "small" dwelling. I hope they both get along really well.....no place to "hide" when he forgets to do some chores.

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sherihorvath

LOVE everything about this home. I would love to convert my garage and it definitely gives me some great idea!

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Tina Brown
how awesome is that. very smart economical. as Americans we have too much stuff as it is this is a smart way to minimize absolutely love it. I only have a one car garage I would absolutely love to do that. please send info how it's done. thank you
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Allure Environments, LLC

Great project!! Enjoy!!

   
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gonta1

Good on ya!

   
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kristinanadreau

very very nice. I really strongly dislike OSB anywhere I live, because I think the glue is harmful. that said, I really really like what they have done here and the other materials. Visual and functional decor seems optimum to me. Congrats to them.

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Eric Meglasson, Architect

where do you store your bikes?

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Juanita Bowen

Great idea the house number made out of screws.

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susanaikman

Love everything about this. Very clever use of space. The kitchen and bathroom are my favorites.

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Allison Hoyt

Looks fabulous! Happy life!

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Capital Builders, LLC

Well done!

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islandlark

The quote in the kitchen is from a Mary Oliver poem - one of my favorites!

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marmarmish

Great example of thinking outside the box! Looks like a great place!

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shawn delaney

"We want a zen life". I like these guys! Great job on the ADU.

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constantholiday
I would've waited until the project was completely finished before unveiling it. I see a lot of plywood which doesn't make for a good finish. Also, I'm all for adding more space in to any home; but when you take the central area of your home and place it in an area missing a whole wall that's now over looking the street I think this couple would be better off just purchasing a larger home that still has a garage that functions. Also I think the bathroom needs a lot of help. I've seen bathrooms 40 feet deep in bunkers that have more light, colors and warmth. This one looks like they couldn't decide what to do, so they made it as dark and bleak as possible so you can't even see anything when you're in it.
And I'm not sure if anyone else noticed- but that "privacy" fence around the hot tub--- they're surrounded by two story homes.....
I think if this couple was going to try and create a warm open home to entertain it should've been based around an area that everyone would like to hang out in like the backyard, not the driveway. The kitchen is for creating food not breathing exhaust from the car 5 ft away. If they were adamant about keeping everything as is I would at least replace the opening glass wall with a large bay window for light but something that would keep the car fumes out. This project definitely looks like a D I Y
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martanyc

I absolutely love this idea! What a brilliant way to live your life freely and let someone else pay your mortgage! The whole space looks awesome and I love the minimalistic approach to the shower area! Just brilliant.

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yvettep22

How much did all this cost the home owner?

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dani campion

We are converting our attached garage to living space. Had the same ah ha moment 5 months ago, when we needed just a little more space for our growing family, but didn't want to take on the burden of a move and too more space to manage. Our 2 car garage will now give us a family room, mudroom and storage room. Maximized it to the fullest! Can't wait until it's done.

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Judy Bath

Next house I buy I will look for one with a huge garage! Pretty genius.

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hangmyhat
One would think that you would be squashed into a space of this size. How nice that this couple proved us wrong!
Thoughtfully laid out, versatile for entertaining, great use of private sleeping space, good storage and very attractive to look at. And they get to travel and enjoy life. Gets one thinking doesn't it?
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hp716500

Fantastic & so inspiring! Thank you!

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dmrutter
Very impressive! We live in Marin County (near San Francisco) and have a 3 car garage of 550 sq ft that we are looking to convert. Do you know anyone who designs similar structures as you do in the Bay Area? What were the per Sq foot costs to build out your space? Thank you for this inspiration.
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E4 architects

Unfortunately, most city's have off street parking requirements which restrict garage conversions

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eaustin26

Love the space. Two questions: (i) who made the doors, and (ii) do they have any curtains, shades, other for privacy at night? Thanks.

   
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vladbike

I learn a lot from DIYers. Thank you for sharing. I liked the "what's on the menu" part.

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purestyle1303

First article I read this morning and zipped it off to my 30-something son who has been thinking along these lines. Just love it! I would do it in a heart beat, but building codes here prohibit. What a happy, colorful, creative endeavor. Very inspiring!

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Mary Dillon

Stairs that slide out!! Sounds clever, I wonder how that works to save space...

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MIMI SOF

Just beautiful. Room enough for the necessities (a great kitchen to cook for friends in) and a hot tub. I lived in a converted two-car garage myself. It was adorable, and I had a huge yard for my 4 doggies. I can't take the credit for the design, but I had a spacious walk-in closet! What?!?!?!?! Enjoy your life together. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to see such a lovely and positive solution to a need to maintain a peaceful and fulfilling lifestyle. Congratulations.

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Sarah Wolbert

Was there any rebuilding that had to happen to remove odors from its use as a garage? particularly with respect to the slab + exposed wood elements...?

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Fathi Layas
the best thing you did enjoy your time
   
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Leslie Worsech

I love the creative use of small spaces and the freedom they provide. Very clever use of space and materials. Love the retractable "garage door".

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threepears

This looks great. Would love to do it. Where do you keep your childhood dolls, grandmother's journals, your mother's piano, your photo albums, your knitting projects... you get the idea. Do you have a storage unit, friend's garage, anything for overflow?

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bosslugger

I don't understand. What do they do with the rest of the house? How is that space utilized?

   
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Covenant Construction

It is always awesome to see (or help) people realize a dream. This is a great project! We currently have a customer who has decided to tap into their unused existing 1-car attached garage and add much-needed space to the living room.

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starmartyr

This is great, this couple did amazing work. Although this garage seemed particularly well-suited to it... how many garages are so huge with such high ceilings? With the trusses in most garage roofs it usually wouldn't be possible to have a ceiling higher than 8ft - if that. It doesn't look like they had to modify it either... either way very cool ideas & results.

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loubelle123
Beautiful well done luv it
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zenbox design

Thanks for all the feedback!
I will try to answer some of the questions (but let me know if i miss any, or contact us for more details):

- the rest of the house (all of the main house except prior garage) is rented out to someone else).
- the countertop next to the range is temporary while the custom concrete counter is being finished (schedules sadly didn't work out as well as we had hoped).
- the size of our kitchen (and bath) is clearly larger than we put in most small homes, but we love to cook and entertain, and when we're in town that is primarily what our home is used for...we lack for nothing in terms of space and storage and wouldn't change a thing.
- the accordion door system is a Nanawall system, and floods the space with light. Sadly, most of these photos don't do the lighting in the space justice but you can see more typical photos here
http://www.houzz.com/projects/566233/zenbox-portland-adu-design-build

- bugs aren't a problem here (one of the beauties of Portland) and we are able to keep the doors open almost year round. Yes, there is also a set of rolling shades for privacy when desired. ;)
- the OSB floors were sanded/finished the same as any hardwood floor would be. We've used this on other projects and it wears beautifully over the years.
- we kept one offstreet parking space in front of the unit, but parking is typically handled on the street. Everything is easily walkable from our location, and walking/biking is the portland way...
- the industrial aesthetic seen here is clearly not for everyone (and doesn't find its way into most of our clients' projects), but its our place and we absolutely love waking up to it each day!

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jtstallings

We love what you have done, very inspiring. We moved from an 8000 sq ft home to a 500 sq ft 2 room apartment and love it. We have bought 2 acreas of land for $15,000, we are building a small house @ 700 sq ft (I am a little worried it will be too big). We are doing all the building ourselves and plan to spend $50,000. The plan is to be off grid. We will have no mortgage, very little expenses, and great freedom, YEAH! Love the no stuff, easy to come and go life style.

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judithkristen

Love what you have created. Simple but cozy, excellent ideas. Absolutely love the shower! You both are very smart to have the free but lovely lifestyle. I wish I had thought like that as a younger person. Blessings and safe travels....

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martanyc

You gotta love the "know-it-alls" criticizing the project without carefully reading the article attached to the pictures first... LOL!!

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alohaainainteriors

As they couldn't afford their mortgage, wondering how they financed this addition and what the total cost was. Financing details are always helpful and educational in re-model projects! Beautifully done - going to do the same to my mother's Seattle garage to pad out her retirement income! Thanks!

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eascaldas
Great job!
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b_randi18

(Not sure if anyone has addressed this but)....To the person who said, "There are no windows" and the 2 ppl who liked the comment...Look at the pictures very carefully. Do you see the pic of them standing in front of full length, sliding doors with those seemingly see-through panels...lol. THAT'S ABOUT 5 HUGE WINDOWS...ppl tickle me! And its absolutely beautiful!!!

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Eve Millington

Awesome plan to make an adventurous life more affordable!

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Cheryl @ Artzzle.com

This is just what Hubs and I needed right now. We are seriously considering selling our home and building a small, one bedroom home, customized to our tastes, habits and hobbies. While it would be just a bit bigger than this at approx. 720 sq.ft. Your project lends many ideas. Helpful, interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

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Creative Interiors
Brilliant!!!!
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robert_eugene

If I was going to own a place I wouldn't be spending much time in, this would be it ...

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Ed Albers
Congratulations on your new company. What manufacturer did you use on the sliding glass door? I wanted to do something similar, but the prices were astronomical. Thanks.
   
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Erin Vogel
I have always loved that poem by Mary Oliver: "I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, for that is what I have been doing all day." I hate to plagiarize, but I might use that idea and even that quote for my bathroom!!
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Building Memories Custom Contractors
Nice! Original for sure...
   
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Miriam Carney
Just a peek at a work in progress. converted 2 car garage to Mom apt--gave my daughter, son in law and four grandkids the rest of the house (3 bedroom 2 bath, family room,kitchen, dining room, pool) I kept my existing living room and put an "arch way"into a small eat in kitchen, nice sized bathroom and bedroom From concept to laying on my sofa typing this note ... all things are possible
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zx14

love it, love it, love it. Especially the wine rack!

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Becky Harris

Good for them!

   
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giddyup007
Pure genius
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janniejaye

The yellow in the kitchen looks horrible, it doesn't go with the color of the wood, they needed it to be a light gray or white or a deep burgundy color would have looked great, but I love everything else about their design, especially the bathroom, great job!

   
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Mark Beaty
Difference of opinion here.
Garages are meant for CARS!
Not Junk. Not people to live.
CARS!
Where are your cars and your Renters Cars? On the Street!
In my opinion they need to outlaw that and give us bigger garages and more garages!
Yes, I know I am dreaming but, mark my words, you will see a new city spring up or Del Web project that keeps these ideals to itself and it will look so nice!
I know, one of my peevs. (Don't worry, I don't have that many, really!)
   
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zenbox design

the Remodel cost was $68k (not counting a ton of sweat equity as we designed and built almost everything ourselves).

I guess the story should have read "we chose not to pay our mortgage".
The decision to spend the remainder of our travel savings ensuring we could live mortgage free (forever) seemed like an easy choice vs a few more months on the road...

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Fine Art & Portraits by Laurel

Efficient and attractive use of space, but I hope that children, art and books figure into your future, which will require more room.

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Mike Rettig
I love it very creative. I'd love in the mountains as a stand alone small cabin with a big deck! Thanks for the great ideas!
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noor7654
@Eva Tuersley: Why should "more people...live like this"? Why not 'to each, his own'? (Although I do think this is a great idea/space that works on a lot of levels.)
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Cypress Architecture & Design Inc
Many have commented that the little dwelling is too dark and needs windows. Folks, this is Portland - they could have removed the roof and replaced it with glass and they still won't see the sun for more than a few weeks each year.
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Merna Schmidt

I love that table with wheels. Is there a company that sells them? Or did you make it? Would love to know the dimensions too please.

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nasibdar
Nice
   
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Dan Simes

An ingenious way to simplify in a stress filled world. Bravo!

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Fathi Layas
good luck
   
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bugaloomom
This concept is powerful. Their goals about living a stress free life is true. Folks purchase large homes as status symbols, while the mortgage chokes them. This is a great idea, after the kids are out of college and on their own.
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Vicki Capstaff

Hello again, was just wondering if you could answer my previous questions about the concrete shower?


We're remodeling right now and I want to do this if I can.


Previously asked/stated:


I love the shower! Concrete! Who would of thought of that? I'd love to know how you did that and what all it entails. Did the contractor do it or you? How long does it last? Gosh, I have so many questions cause I want this in my house!!! Sealed and with what? Is the floor entirely concrete as well, looks like it?


Thank you!

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Made Up Again

Come on folks, OSB is a great material and a perfect and beautiful accent for this space. Windows? By my estimation, this is an 18’ opening. How much more light do you need? And, if you had windows, you’d have to cover them up so Bryan and Jen wouldn’t have to look at their neighbor’s ugly houses and side yards. Great job!!!

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ccleibee

Where to find out more about those folding glass doors?

   
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Paul
I can't imagine a good outcome of having landlords living in the garage of renters. Did you lower the rent once you decided to reclaim the garage?
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L Ashley Gee
Love this Idea what an incredible space guys!!!!
   
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Studio NOO Design

Nicely done !!!

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Anne Marsh
Bryan and Jen , you are AMAZING ! You have figured out a way to obtain financial security while LIVING THE LIFE WE ALL DREAM OF. I always think , how can I see the world NOW wearing a backpack , going to places off the beaten track , seeing the real world . As opposed to waiting till you are old on a cruise ship , taking a tour bus .
Your personalities SHINE through your quote on the wall , your world map , and your innovative design!
I love it all ! Mostly , you are living the dream ! Making due on less, but , still enjoying all,life has to offer ! congratulations !
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Cyn Con
Love this and love this couple!
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Berna Tippett

What a great concept!

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shelley yoshimoto

This is fantastic for so many reasons. I'm wanting to scale down to one small acerage and build a cabin in the woods. This idea of smaller dwelling works for city or country. Kudos to you!

   
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beautifulquebec

Congrats! Great job! You have a beautiful home. Love the use of reclaimed materials, especially the house numbers.

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capeanner

I think the fact that the walls and ceiling were painted such a dark shade is what is scaring a lot of folks off. If they were white the place would seem much brighter and more expansive.I am totally simpatico with the no mortgage life style. Can't be beat IMO. I built a garage on my property a while back. Designed it to look like a cottage from the rear of the house. Am currently using it as a garage, but am keeping my options open. Able to spend summers in N.E. and winters in FL by utilizing the properties as rentals. Where there's a will there's a way. Big on thrift stores and libraries. I may not be keeping up with the Jones's, but I haven't had to work a full time job in over 20 years! Unless you love your job working just sucks the life out of you. I barely work at all and would never go back. I highly recommend this lifestyle and give this couple credit for pulling it off while they're young. At some point they may decide to settle down in the "big" house & rent out the garage! Having options, low overhead and little stress is a very good thing!

@annmarsh, you can do it if you put your mind to it.

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Sherry Payne
Must the two residences always be sold as one property, or separately!
   
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Maggie Brooks

Love it ! We are planning on turning our garage into a family room/living quarters...that's just fabulous !

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Garces Waterjet

You two did an incredible job! I would live to see this concept incorprated with our waterjet designs and cutting. Simple, clean and chic!

   
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Juanita Bowen

You did a fantastic job.

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Mary
Love it! I just downsized from my owner's unit (875 sq ft) into my rental unit (438 sq ft). My renter pays my (refinanced) mortgage and I travel the world. My apartment is a vacation rental while I'm gone for a little extra income. But the best part? After a few months traveling, my little apartment feels completely luxurious! I deliberately made this choice to follow my dreams, and when I'm job hunting again, I can take my time since I'm living mortgage free. I love the Mary Oliver quote as well.
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Oumf design

Very nice project ! Congrats ;-D)))

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Log Homes of America

Awesome! This is impressive. I love the screws used for the house numbers. And, I think the garage door (or folding glass doors in this case) is the new fad!...in the right location/climate. Nice work.

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Гунай Рахимова

nice job .


   
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gissmf

Love it, well done - definitely a groovy place to live

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mcjr75
Looks beautiful,I love it, that's what I would like to do .I've sat down with my wife to down size even though we don't have a home.But something to live by in our budget.Still not convincing for her.
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Anina Salerno_Aita

I have a smallish house with two bedrooms and two baths,and it has an attached two car garage plus a storage area that adds an additional 7 feet of depth. I would definitely consider doing this with the garage and renting out the smaller space, while living in the original house. The layout would give both units private front and rear entries, and there is already a driveway, so parking would not be a huge issue. The house next door already has an income unit, so I know the zoning would allow it. If you like to travel, it gives you the added benefit of someone onsite at your house, without the need for a house sitter. It would probably cut my housing costs in half, which is no small thing!

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Charlotte

Wow! Thank you for restoring my faith. I'm glad to see so many positive comments for you on your transition. I'm new to Houzz and almost immediately decided it wasn't for me because of the all the ostentatious "dig me" places featured on here. I have lived among those caught up in the flaunt-it mentality, never thinking about how spoiled and entitled their kids become, the burden of keeping up pretenses when there's always someone who has two more square feet than you do....it's kept me single and in small places, and I'm glad I learned from observing others. I'm glad to see Houzz recognizing we enjoy lifestyles we can relate to, not just those well out of our reach, and enjoyed your story very much. Guess I'll stick around.

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joanie_97

Way back in 1950 my uncle decided to build a house while living 40 miles from his job in town. My aunt was stuck in the far out suburb by herself when she became pregnant with twins. He couldn't possibly finish the house in time so he finished the two car garage first and made it a temporary house. They lived in there for almost two years with the twins, grandparents and me staying over night as much needed babysitters. My poor aunt almost had a nervous breakdown with everything so squished in such a small space. The good news is he finished the house and they finally had a great place. Thing is though, that over the years he never stopped renovating. Drove my aunt crazy.

This story brought back a lot of memories. Good to see now that this garage seems to be better designed and is a lot more comfortable. On the other hand you don't have twins. Ha!

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Dayna Keil

Excellent and amazing ideas from the beginning to present...cheers to living a great life! Absolutely inspiring!

   
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jpp221
To those commenting about the lack of windows: note that what was the garage door has been replaced by huge glass panels
   
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victoran

Love the concept and all the creative ideas in making this garage a home.

We, too, plan to 'downsize' in the near future...get rid of EVERYTHING that we rarely use, and simplify. If we were allowed, we could make a lovely home out of our 3 car garage but not legal here. So we will move into a small place. Portland sounds wonderful! No bugs! And not 100 degrees all year...and they have RAIN!

Love the door that opens all across the front. Here in California they are very popular but cost around $15,000 up to install. I also agree about dark and only one side with windows, skylights would help but every home I ever want to live in has at least 2sides in every room windows and prefer 3 sides windows...love light! Skylights would be good, too.

Thanks for fabulous concept and as more of us "baby boomers' decide to downsize, more small home ideas will flourish. It is just so hard deciding on what to get rid of!



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NanaWall

A very creative use of space and of our folding door system! The homeowners also submitted this project into our annual Photo Story Contest. Their home won "Best Conversion". Take a look at their submission, which provides additional insight: http://www.nanawall.com/photo-story-contest-winners-2013/best-conversion




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capeanner

Interesting to see the NanaWall photos looking out towards the street. This would be like living in a bodega. I couldn't do that for many reasons and would have had to make the opening on the side street side, but obviously this is a gregarious couple that doesn't mind close proximity to parked and moving autos! I have a hedge around my yard that blocks even the sight of my own car. I also couldn't sleep that close to the ceiling so I guess I am more claustrophobic! (But I have certainly lived in 500sq ft.) I find the psychological implications interesting.

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Nnenna Pastor
Gorgeous!
   
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Derek and Tara Merrill


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Derek and Tara Merrill

Here is a studio apartment with upscale kitchen, granite counter tops, stained concrete floors, gas log fireplace, semi-formal dining area/bar and full bath....turned out pretty nice :-)

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capeanner

Look good to me. Are there any windows?

   
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Derek and Tara Merrill

Yes, there are three windows. One in the entrance door, the


bathroom and one in the living area. Here are a few looks at the project during the final stages of construction.


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Monogram Interior Design LLC
I'm curious about heating/cooling the space. Portland has wide temperature variations: Summer can be 85+ degrees consistently with many 100degree days in the mix and Winter is mid to low 40's with many many below freezing days and nights. I assume, because they used OSB on the floor, that there is no floor heat. I didn't see a ceiling fan for air circulation or any additional windows for cross ventilation, just the large glass folding entry doors.

I saw that the toilet and shower are using a common space, but where is the sink and mirror? Did they use floor heat in the shower/bath area? An all concrete space is very cold and concrete can retain moisture in a damp environment leading the space to feel colder still.

Where is the storage for clothing and shoes? Where do they park their car/s, if they have any?

In traditional home remodeling/construction an occupancy permit would not have been granted with an exposed OSB underlayment countertop next to the stove (heat source). I would like to know why that was allowed.

I think it's awesome that they are thinking outside the box, and finding alternative ways to live. Downsizing is definitely the wave of the future in urban areas. As a Design Professional and Construction Consultant in the Portland Metro Area for 16 years, this new way of thinking is exciting when done correctly.
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minperkins

I'm amused that in this tiny home, they dedicated previous storage space to a wine rack. Priorities!

   
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Denise

They said in the article that the kitchen island still needs to have a concrete top poured! That is why there is raw wood OSB(?) next to the cook top but you're right, they need to address that danger right away and pour that top. They said, there is a storage wall shown covered in reclaimed wood, that is where they no doubt have their clothes hung up! However, I could not live there without at least 3 windows added for ventilation sake because that huge wall of window doors can not be left open in cold weather. They should have put in 2 fixed side windows with screens flaking the front wall and reduced the length of that front wall. That way they can open up those 2 windows for a much needed breeze when the window wall is closed. Also, a large window is definitely needed in that concrete bathroom to help dry it out, a skylight is not enough.

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bbrod15
The kitchen quote is from a poem by Mary Oliver. It's important ( and legal) to properly credit all writers and artists of every genre. It's a great quote and definitely appropriate for this couple's creative studio home and lifestyle. Well done!
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Billie Hughins-Prestel
Your nest is awesome, and how great the local planning dept. allowed you to bring this fabulous home to fruition!! Thanx for sharing!!!
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URBAN LUMBER Co.

Incredible innovation! I love the mix of materials.

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steve_suttie

Great story loved what you did and what you feel about life,

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Den of Interiors & Direct 2 U Pond Emporium

And I thought I was such a good designer! You win the award as some of your ideas are so absolutely fantastic I wish I could incorporate them in our new home. Maybe in the next life! congrats guys

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Pasadenaville | Mercantile & Woodworks

As a proponent of small space living: L-O-V-E this!!!

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marlenethree

Beautiful!

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Koe Greene

I am doing the same thing- but I am living in a livestock barn- in a human space. I downsized ( I am empty nester) and plan to snig down in my 500 sq ft home and build a series of "tiny cabins" for all my kids a guests on my property (80 acres) YES!!

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JEB JEB

Really great and practical. Design and function

   
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Lynn G

You're lucky you live in an area that will allow you to turn your single family home into a two family. So many places have zoning against that, but it used to be pretty common. My first house was a single family that converted the attic into an additional apartment. I loved having the added income, and especially, when my employment condition was changing I moved to the attic apartment and got more income from the downstairs. I was living well below the poverty level but didn't loose my home due to having a renter.

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culpepperjb

Very resourceful use of space and amenities. My only suggestion would be to paint the panels that are pressed wood (plywood). This would enhance the appearance of the panels and improve the overall ambiance.

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territheresa

Livin' the dream. Well done!

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Jim & Karoline Sheldon

Excellent!!!!!!!!!!

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sutheera

Thank you to share your ideas and story with all people that looking for their such dream. Love your idea and life style story that you both bring to life. It inspires me a lot. I wish I can do a small project like this. You don't need to go back to work. I think you can be a garage home designer as part-time job and write the story about your travelling.

   
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Susan Biesecker

As each year goes by I purge more and more! Simplicity seems so inviting! Once the kids are off to school this is the ideal life!

   
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Mary Lee

Not for everyone BUT the comment of downsizing, put everything in a container and if nothing is needed, already packed to donate. Best idea I have heard.

   
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HU-729153

Wow!! This is a "power" couple if ever I saw one. Two people working 70 hours a week in jobs with so much innovative talent between them that might never have emerged had they not had the courage to strike out on their own. Mighty impressive and inspiring.

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jfutral

Stunning. Love the wine rack!

Joe

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E.O.S -Esther J Blair 진수기

Awesome ,Wonderful ,Beautiful..it makes me think our future retirement home base camp,we do love road trip and camping ,we have and living on Bus conversion and we'd talk about living like this way go trip and some time coming back to our small cozy home for while and trip again...Your living and its very inspiring plan for us..

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grammat

This has got to be one of my favourite homes! Not only is the layout simple and sleek but beautiful and comfortable. Thank you for sharing.

   
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frantastic1

Well done! I love it and the minimal garden as well -- more time to travel, less garden to keep up! I renovated a 326sf studio with a low ceiling (it was disgusting--like a leaky shed when I bought it, smelly and grungy with bad air circulation). While totally renovating it, I designed a queen size Murphy bed that has a couch in front of it and the bed drops sideways over the couch. The bottom of the couch has storage, the inside of the bed has shelves, and the side is a closet with drawers and the bottom of the couch has storage like a trunk. I still need much better upholstery as I thought I could use an existing couches cushions and slipcovers but it doesn't really work. It's a little studio at the beach in FL (Melbourne Beach) so I used deck cleats as hooks for bed, bathroom, and to hang jackets. The bathroom and the kitchen came out beautiful and highly functional too ... used nautical theme with chrome porthole mirrors and boat rope as towel racks. Nice and comfortable little nest at the beach!

Here's a pic if anyone is interested. My carpenter who built this is amazing!

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carolinamp

What a beautiful place you two have build, congrats!


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hetherfether

much to be proud of! i'm especially impressed that the homeowner learned new skills. don't understand why the nimbys have to be so critical. my mom taught me that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. thanks for sharing your home which is obviously inspiring to many others! (including me)

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Cosmos Wallpaper

Oh..that is total freedom of life!! I miss Portland, OR where I used to live about 15 yrs ago..

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Robin
I am so inspired by all the positive change occurring in the USA regarding real estate developments. It's about time. One hundred years ago development wasn't over-regulated and owners ran boarding houses to accommodate all the immigrants. Owners probably paid a boarding house tax but they were free to create wealth out of what they had, and the boarders could get on their feet and begin to create their own wealth. This property ownership structure revved a powerful economic engine.
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Amin Banijamali
that is so nice, congrats.
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Yimi Zhao

Just wondering, is it allowed to add an extra living space in New York city? This project reminds me our vacant shed on the back yard, almost the same size.

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Resale Unlimited

This is awesome. Love it

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oldblackdog

CLever use of every resource you had. I really like the rolling bar/seating solution - it could work in many places.

The accordion doors are wonderful - but I think they wouldn't be so useful ( insulation issues) for a really icy climate (or maybe a really hot one} where minimizing air intrusion is important for a good portion of the year

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Christie's Design Build Remodeling

I love this. I have been thinking about small living myself. I have children though so it may have to wait till they are off on their own.

   
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chopperdoll
Amazing ! Just amazing!
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Alan Brookman

Many jurisdictions require two covered parking spaces, so be careful when thinking about this sort of conversion. I've yet to see a city in California that would allow this without having a carport or garage elsewhere on the property. That being said, it's a wonderfully clever use of space! I love the swing-out eat bar.

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sveadubell

This is AMAZING!!!! I mean, fold out bar, retractable stairs, loft, all of this is awesome, and I am stunned by how creative all of this is!!!

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katori

Very nice. I like the accordion doors but always wonder about mosquitos and other pests getting in.

   
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tj2639

Thanks for sharing this. I have been thinking about converting my garage into a living space for a few years now for similar (freedom oriented) reasons. I know it is hard to generalize but can you give us any idea at all about the general finance aspects of this; i.e. approximate cost(s), did you subsume this under your original mortgage, etc.? What is the best way for a homeowner with an existing mortgage to approach this? Thanks!

   
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Corinne Smith

OMG. I have looked at many small space home designs but this is the ultimate. I also love outdoors and this combines the best of all worlds. Thank you for the inspiration!

   
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redoredone

Congratulations on choosing a lifestyle that works for you, not something that you're "supposed" to pick. It's good that Bryan still considers the future when planning finances, too. A healthy balance. We couldn't have that open door here in the South, but I'd enjoy it if insects weren't a factor. As far as not having it open in cold weather, it sounds like you two can pretty much take off for whatever climate you want whenever you choose. Like your dog, too!

   
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LANZ CABINETS

Great use of space for functional living to capture how the couple lives--and not how anyone else would live. The couples asked excellent questions of themselves of how they use space and what their and their dogs' needs would be; those answers make up their new home. As a Northwest cabinetry company, I love seeing how Northwesterners personalize their space according to their unique needs.

   
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lschindler780

Very impressive! Great design, love the folding wall of windows, love their homemade cabinets and so impressive that they made a business out of this!! Woohoo...smart couple!

   
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Jeremey Stewart

Many people here comment that their town would not allow them to do this because of zoning laws... well, I think it is time that property owners ban together, start petitions, etc. to force their towns to change with the times. Too many people cannot afford to remain in their homes, but this option would allow them to either stay in their home and rent the converted garage (also providing affordable housing for younger population struggling to start their lives and go out on their own), or to live in that space themselves and rent out their homes until they get back on their feet! Though I don't like all the OSB or the steps to the loft the idea is still a good one!

   
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aFloridianInTheDeepSouth
What an inspiration! Great job!
   
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reidneu

I think the design is great as well ... with one exception. I lived in Portland for 2 years, and it is not warm most of the year. Having the indoor-outdoor living space is fine in concept, but would be very uncomfortable much of the time. You'd either be bundled up and cold or wasting tons of heat that flows right outside. It's not the comfy, barefoot climate that is portrayed.

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B. M. Root Company

This place is Awesome!

To see a similar small "garage" home, (but with more traditional aesthetic...sort of) check out http://www.homepower.com/articles/home-efficiency/project-profiles/modern-small-solar.

This place was supposed to be the garage for the future trophy home, but the owners decided to skip the trophy, and just made the garage absolutely beautiful/perfect. Similar mobile/modular elements, including a roll-out dining table. And these folks are empty-nesters, planning to retire in this space (no sleeping loft for them).


   
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bkb404
Work to live vs. live to work. Big choice for all of us. This couple has total clarity. Go for it! ;-)
   
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Patricia Earehart
I love their names...they can call their house "The Danger and Karma Home" ! The garage nay "tiny house" is spectacular!
   
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هيثم ابومجد
مرحبا ياااااااااااااااورد
   
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Victoria Brown

Kick-ass AWESOME! Love everything about your Zen Box!

   
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Pete Wascher

love it! and it's capped off with the saying on the wall.

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Dee Tchalov

I love it; however, I dont see living like this with 3 toddlers. :-)


   
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jlrhodes

This is a great idea! What a great way to live. I have been searching for accordion glass doors. Please tell me if you designed them or where you got those.

   
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Banner Garage

Great Story! We can help homeowners improve their space in the garage and make it more live-able, but this is taking it to the next level. Thanks for sharing your story!


Dave & Penny in Leawood · More Info


Jim & Jeanne in Lenexa · More Info


Rick & Sue in Raymore, MO · More Info


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Shawnda Cooper
I adore the industrial look of the place. Life Goals...
   
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Pierre Fleur
Really nice project! Congrats! and nice couple.
I'm wondering of how much is this wide-open-folding-sliding-door? In my country they are very expensive. USD5000 a door visibly way less in dimensions than this one.
   
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geraldpeters
great project. it only takes creative thinking.
   
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celiaroman_mom
That walking shower is awesome!
   
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joasiahuc
Great idea in warm climate. I can't picture myself living in my garage no matter how swanky it could be made in the dead of NJ winter.
   
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E Tro
wow! a year in a van! ain't love grand?
   
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Dorene Eggink
love this
   
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Antwon Ford
So Cool
   
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Rachel Aldy
I'm looking for these doors. Where can I find them?
   
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Ariana Designs LLC
Fantastic job!!!
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Bronte Nelson

Your plywood floor boards at compressed wood using glue. Do you have a lot of chemical off gassing? Did you seal it and did that seal in the chemicals? If so, what did you use to seal them with? I want to do the same thing only when I brought the plywood home it stinks so bad and I'm very sensitive to chemicals and mold. Your answers will help me decide if I need to return it and get something more expensive or if sealing will do the trick. Thx so much!

   
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wluster
life should be enjoyed at the highest level because God gave it to us. I have never seen a project this creative and it doesn't matter if it doesn't work for someone else. It makes you happy. Congratulations and God bless you for sharing.
   
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Lynne Parsley
Love the whole set up. what a great idea!
   
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Popi Papakonstantinou

amazing! daring and inspiring life lesson!

   
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Mahmoud Anwar

this is so perfect!! just remind me of the colors of this

   
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STAREI
Awesome!
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chloemay18
Love what people can do with buildings! i love this so much☺
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julievilla

Wonderful. Was it complicated to get the foundation to pass code? That is anxiety I have over starting this project for us. Thank you for the great idea. Beautiful. I want to do it.

   
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zenbox design

So appreciate all the kind words about both our story and our home!

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Linda Miley

So enjoyable to watch the video. Such amazing solutions displaying fine art & imagination living in your home.

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Charco DESIGN & BUILD Inc.

Amazing story! Extremely inspiring and eye opening. Also the garage looks amazing, great minimalist taste!

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Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors

I can't help but smile after watching this. I want to be friends with the owners!

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loishapi

The way of the future - right on! Many life lessons, many levels. Thanks for sharing a courageous love story. Long happy life!

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bausler

What is the bathroom shower wall/floor finish surface? product and brand?

   
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Stecki Construction

Love this story! Small living in garage space. I love the design! Congrats on your new living space!

   
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Grand Realty

Hi Bryan & Jen, I live in Calgary, Alberta and here there are zoning restrictions limiting the number of household in a property. How did you guys get around having the property lived in by two households? Have you gone through re-zoning?

   
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zenbox design

Hi Grand. Luckily Portland is pretty far ahead in this arena. Not only has the city already changed the planning/zoning to allow ADUs (accessory dwelling units), but they are actually waiving development fees to promote them!

   
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Randall Lawkin
wow this is great! going through this whole house buying process and all makes my wife and I realize yeah we want to be free be able to travel see the world but we have two kids and working on another. Balancing this will be a challenge.
   
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Jayson Sunga
I wonder what wood stain did they use here? Looks pretty neat.
   
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zyazdanzad
great ❤❤
   
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Mk Abbasi
Beautifull
   
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sal d
incredibly inspiring...it looks so much more doable to us more conservative types that can't quite get a grip on a home on wheels but do get a grip on little living. or big living. whatever it is. good job guys.
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celestina89

OMGosh - unreal! Such minds you both have. And such marvelous ideas. Very clever ideas that are workable. Your dog is so cool - adapts to a 47sq' moving home to a garage. I bet that garage space felt like a castle, too. All the best to you - what ever you get into! :)

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strongrohdy
Smart idea
   
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Amye Wibberley

I love this! Beautiful, functional and flexible. Simple living is definitely a "freeing" experience not having your life cluttered with "stuff." Unfortunately this would never work with our family though. Six people would be an unpleasant crowd plus the inability to be able to have our 15+ extended family members in. Having friends come around for formal dining and to stay would be a no-no.

   
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mpajot
I'd like to ask how much a renovation like this cost this wise, young couple? I like everything about it and my style generally doesn't gravitate to the industrial look such as this one.. BUT, this works for me!!!!
   
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celestina89

@mpajot: This was a DIY project. Costs depends on where they got various materials to use and the size of the garage, etc. They probably got some things for free and some materials they purchased. They built and designed everything themselves. The cost?: Priceless :)

And look at this linktheir actual "door glass wall" mfg. It was in the above messages by other poster.

   
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fenimoreplbgsup

SOOOOO COOOOOL!

   
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Sofia Volosatova
I love how you fit everything in just one garage. It is perfect. I hope you have a nice time living in your super awesome garage/home!
   
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PCEI On The Move Inc.

Inspiring!!!