How a smart garage conversion can add value to your Cambridge property and create an enviable social area
If you are thinking of converting a garage, then join the queue – this is currently one of the most popular home improvement projects. Over the last six months, our scuseme builders have seen numerous enquiries from homeowners in and around Cambridge for garage conversions. A lockdown-induced focus on making more out of our homes has heralded garage conversions to gyms, offices, bedrooms or studio flats, or extensions providing additional space over retained garages.
So, take a look at your garage and see if you’re making the most of it. If it’s just being used as a storage room, and you don’t need it for your car, perhaps you could make some exciting changes. There are some straight forward ideas you can implement with minimal disruption to your life.
The word garage comes from the French ‘garer’, meaning ‘to shelter’. It was first used to mean ‘motor home’ at the end of the 19th century, when the wealthy lodged new automobiles alongside their horses. But as their shiny machines started to assume the odours of manure, they demanded bespoke buildings, which we now know as garages.
To this day, a garage is high on the list of desirables for any homeowner, and they will always add to your home’s value. So if this is important, consider if its conversion might offset any change in house value. However, as we are diverted from our car-centric lives, perhaps conversion to another use makes more sense. Indeed, current thinking suggests that a distinct space that adds a ‘point of difference, escapism, or an improvement to well-being’ are now deemed a premium. As a result, these areas increase their potential to add value to the overall property.
As garages were originally built to house cars, they are often long, slightly awkward spaces, so, combining a garage conversion with a complete remodel of your ground floor space could be a sensible idea that allows you to better integrate your garage into a full ground floor remodel.
But the existing smaller space can be transformative. For example, you could create a useful den, quiet snugs or downstairs WCs. Perhaps even a ground-floor bedroom with an en-suite shower room.
Rules and regs
Garage conversions may qualify under permitted development rights, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building. This avoids the need for planning permission. However, other consents may be required if your house is listed or in a conservation area. If you plan to convert your garage into a separate house (regardless of who will occupy it), then planning permission may be required no matter what work is involved. And the conversion of a garage, or part of a garage, into habitable space will always require approval under the Building Regulations.
An experienced design and build contractor can work with you to design the areas, or you may want to enlist the services of an interior designer or draw on your own strengths. Unlike building an extension the costs associated with a garage conversion are significantly lower.
16 inspirational garage conversion ideas
So now that you know what you have to do in order to start. I have reached out to my contacts on Instagram who share their inspirational garage conversion ideas. I hope the photos give you plenty of food for thought and inspiring ideas.
No 1: Home Office / Study
No 2: Gym
No 3: Library
No 4: Yoga Studio
No 5: Snug
No 6: Playroom
No 7: Crafts/Hobby Room
No 8: Utility Room
No 9: Bar
No 10: Bedroom
No 11: Home cinema / Media room
No 12: Teenage Den
No 13: Sun-room/Annex:
No 14: Games room
No 15: Beauty clinic
No 16: Downstairs loo
Image: Getty Images
Find local builders in Cambridge for garage conversions
Local builders to discuss your garage conversion ideas.
Find local tradespeople in Cambridge
Register with scuseme to save time and remove the hassle of finding local tradespeople and home services you can trust. So the next time you need a builder or a handyman or any other tradesperson, scuseme has you covered.
Prefer to have a chat?
Call 01223 520373
Dawn Giesler, is the founder of scuseme Cambridge, an online community that helps your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advice based on her own experiences. For more information about all the services and tradespeople they recommend, visit scuseme.
If you would like to hear more from scuseme including helpful links and local advice, you can subscribe here