Sneak peek: the Nook

Sneak peek: the Nook

Our guest house was looking dire for a while -- more like a jail cell than a guest house. Over the last few weeks, though, the Nook has blossomed into a proper living space. It isn't finished yet, but have a sneak peek and tell me what you think!

What we started with

The building started off looking like a normal garage. It was a windowless cave with stained floors, drab oak cabinets from the eighties, and inefficient heating/cooling. It had been "decorated" with commercial-grade and second-hand fixtures, and it was full of oddities like Ethernet ports in the bathroom.

Despite the obvious cosmetic problems, we saw potential. The garage was well-constructed and built to code, with extra insulation and framing for future windows.

A temporary home

We unexpectedly ended up living there for almost three months. At that point, all we'd had time to do was scrub, vacuum, and remove the horrible kitchenette. I tried to pretend we were living in a hip industrial loft in Williamsburg.

We made the best of it with furniture and summer weather. I was pleasantly surprised how nice furniture can make even a terrible living space feel tolerable. Regardless, I do not recommend living in a garage.

Construction

How do you turn a garage into a guest house in one week? Our baby came early, compressing our time frame before my mom arrived. Our contractors tackled the biggest, most pressing issues:

  • Temperature control. We ripped out the outdated wall heater and AC unit in favor of a Daikin ductless minisplit that provides both heat and AC. It's low profile and very efficient. The building's great insulation keeps it temperate.
  • Light. The worst part of the garage was the lack of natural sunlight. We added a large window and replaced the metal commercial side door with a glass door.
  • Walls & doors. We patched the drywall, added interior doors, and painted the whole thing. It looks much more finished this way.
  • Fan. The garage originally came with a granny chic fan, complete with scalloped lights. We installed a sleek chrome fan.
  • Cabinets. We installed a wall of sleek, modern cabinets along the rear wall. To get an upscale look at a mid-range price, we "faked" custom cabinets by installing solid wood doors in front of an Ikea Pax closet system.

Sneak peek

My favorite parts of the Nook are the windows that look out into the backyard and the wall of cabinets along the back.

 The rear wall cabinets, next to the new glass door.

The rear wall cabinets, next to the new glass door.

 A glimpse of the furniture, with the wall of cabinets behind it.

A glimpse of the furniture, with the wall of cabinets behind it.

The wood on the cabinets serves as a nice contrast with the concrete floors. The cabinets look either warm or cool, depending on how sunny the day is.

Next steps

In January, we'll tackle the last two big projects and complete the conversion. First, we're going to seal and stain the floors. They floors will be sealed with a glossy, dark gray, moisture-resistant finish. Next, we're going to install floor-to-ceiling french doors to replace the overhead garage door. Once that's done, we can hang artwork without fear of dust.

I'm so excited to have the end in sight -- it'll call for a sleepover!

A 1928 time capsule

A 1928 time capsule

Tiles and tribulations

Tiles and tribulations