Front Exterior & Front Yard Kristi's Studio

Garage-To-Studio Conversion & Siding: How Much Has It Cost So Far?

Last Updated on January 14, 2019 by Kristi Linauer

The siding installation on my house is finally finished! The exterior itself is still far from finished…obviously. The siding still needs to be caulked, the whole house needs to be painted, and there are loads of other projects I want to do to add curb appeal to the house, but here’s the progress so far.

finished siding - 1

One of my favorite changes is that the second door on the front porch has been closed up now.

finished siding - 2

Even with it far from finished, it’s already feeling like a different house from what we started with in 2013…

Exterior - front of house 01 - resized

So with the siding installation finished, the workers are done. After six weeks of having workers at our house almost every weekday and even some Saturdays, we finally have our house to ourselves again. And now that we’re finished with “phase 1” of the garage conversion and exterior changes, I thought it might be a good time to pause and talk about just how much all of this really costs. Here’s how it all breaks down…

The original estimate we got from the contractor was for $18,900. That included all of the major framing, like raising the floor to be level with the breakfast room…

7-10-17 - 3 - garage conversion to studio progress - all of the floor joists in place

…and framing in the front wall of the studio where the garage doors used to be.

garage conversion to studio - week 1 - 3

It also included reframing the ceiling to remove all of the ceiling joists and give me a vaulted ceiling with a large LVL beam.

studio ceiling after vaulted ceiling

Other items included in that price were:

  • Four custom size windows (including framing and installation)
  • French doors (including framing and installation)
  • Plumbing rough-in for the half bath
  • HVAC ducts tied into existing system
  • Two skylights (including framing and installation)
  • Final cleanup and haul off of construction debris

During the process, I added a few things and removed a few things from the original estimate. I’ve already shared some of those details here. The additions included a concrete footing needed for the front wall, a special toilet required for the bathroom since they didn’t have slab access for plumbing, two additional windows plus installation, additional framing work in the area that was previously the storage room, etc. I decided to omit the skylights, and the original plan to tie in the HVAC ducts for this area to the main system didn’t work out.

Those additions and subtractions resulted in a net price increase of $1177.50.

But that left me without an HVAC system in the studio, so I purchased that separately (i.e., not through the contractor), which ended up costing an additional $3900.

The original plan also included just cutting openings for new doors and windows into the existing siding, and then patching it up as much as possible until some future date when we would focus on the exterior of the house. But the more things got torn up, the more I realized that trying to do some kind of temporary patch job on the exterior was unacceptable. The house looked bad to begin with on the exterior, and I couldn’t imagine living with it looking even worse for any amount of time. So we decided to add the new siding to the project as well.

The cost for the siding installation (labor only, not including the actual products and supplies) was $4000. That included the removal of all of the old siding (two layers — vinyl siding and the original wood siding under it), new OSB sheathing, Tyvek, and siding. They also replaced all of the eaves, most of the drip edge flashing, and all of the step flashing on the breakfast room roof. And of course, they removed the stone on the side wall of the living room and reframed it for siding in such a way so that the windows wouldn’t have to be removed and reinstalled.

The area they covered was from the back of the pantry, back, side, and front of the studio, front of the breakfast room, side of the living room, and front porch.

house floor plan - new siding

I purchased the siding and supplies myself from the local building supply company and had them deliver it. The siding and supplies came to $1793.46.

One final cost was the haul away of all of the old siding, which cost $350.

So the grand total so far on the studio and exterior changes comes to…


That’s a lot of money, and the studio is still far from finished. It’ll be interesting to see how much it costs to finish the studio/bathroom/mudroom completely.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I love how you are always open about all the costs. Thank you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

    WHOA That is a huge chunk of change! But, I am sure that with all of that your house has increased significantly in value. Going for it was the right thing to do. The front of the house is totally ..well almost except for the stone front…FAB! What a change and for the better. Tough to part with that much $$$ but in the end so worth it.
    Can’t wait to see the total transformation and now that you and hubby are back “alone” you can work at your own pace and complete the outside at your own time frame. I can see flower beds and flower boxes and landscaping. I would have a blast doing that part of this project…and now that fall is just around the corner time to ponder that step.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

    It looks fabulous, but ouch! Can’t wait to see the final “after”. I guess I’ll be keeping my vinyl siding.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Kristi, that may sound like a large number, one you are not used to, but look at what you have done and accomplished. I applaud you for managing the project so far and keeping your priorities straight and budget in check. in southern Ontario, it would have been MUCH more! I look forward to what you have planned with progress going forward. Great work!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brad W.
    August 14, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Without a doubt – every penny was money well spent! It already looks terrific.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 11:09 am

    $30,120.96 is a lot of money, but imagine the money you would have spent thus far had you not been the amazing wonder woman diy that you are. So glad you are sharing all of this info.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carla from Kansas
    August 14, 2017 at 11:10 am

    So Kristi, I am assuming that this is a “good” price since you are savvy about what building construction costs. Can you comment on that?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Wow! The facade now presents such a nice clean organized look. Nothing about it looks “added on”, which is the true mark of success.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Matt "The Hubs" Linauer
    August 14, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I am so happy that Kristi now has her own special room. She needs to make it her own special oasis.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Now, “I’m” wanting a door out of the left side of the studio to that inset – creating a patio to rest after working hard in the studio all day 😀😊😊

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 11:21 am

    May I ask a money question? If it’s too intrusive, just say, “mind your own business.” Are you able to financially support you and your husband completely from blogging? Do either of you have side businesses?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 14, 2017 at 11:40 am

      I do completely support our household with my blog. No side businesses…yet. 🙂

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Rebecca Neustel
        August 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        Do you plan to sell your furniture makeovers that you create in your studio? Sorry, I’m fairly new to your blog?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Barb Dunlop
    August 14, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Where is your laundry room? And does it or will it have a deep sink for paint brush washing, etc. Where do you do that now? and what is your plan for a working type sink for projects in your studio and repotting plants, etc.?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Right now, our washer and dryer are in the sunroom. The laundry room will be part of the addition that we’ll do in a year or so. It will have a utility sink, but so will the half bathroom at the back of the studio. Right now, I wash my brushes at the kitchen sink.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    August 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Given some of the work that we have done on our house (and paid a contractor to do), I actually don’t think that is that much. So much of that price is materials (pressurized toilet, HVAC unit, windows, french doors, lumber, concrete, tyvek, flashing, siding, etc.). Maybe this is the wrong way to think about it, but in your case it seems like the “real” “cost” to you is the labor cost. You would have paid for the materials, even if you had DIY’d the work. Are you able to break it out into materials vs. labor? That would be interesting to me.

    Super exciting to see the change! The painting and landscaping will add so much!

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheila F.
    August 14, 2017 at 11:44 am

    The house looks FAB! I know this was a big chunk of change. However, this has always been in the plan from when you bought the house. To some it may seem like a big expense but I have been following you since you lived in the condo and I know that you have always had a long term plan to complete these steps. Also, this is your JOB! This is what we readers LOVE to read about. You actually make a living by sharing your life with us. AND I FOR ONE LOVE IT!!!!!! It will be so worth it when it is complete and you have a Studio to work from. I think I would be tempted to use the next few months to do landscaping and painting on the outside of the house (Texas has more fair weather to work outside). Then use the cold months to do interior work. As I have said before I only follow your blog anymore and I would definately follow you as a Vlogger. I think we could be friends if I did not live half way across the country. LOL So glad for you and Matt that you have you home back to yourselves and I look forward to whatever projects you work on next.
    Sheila F

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    August 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I just thought of a question! The front view that you posted made me wonder… Will you be able to get the city to move your driveway access over to the right when you go to put in your new driveway that will lead around to the back? Right now the break in the curb lines up with the converted studio. I’ve never thought about that issue before. How does that even work? Anyway, I’m sure there’s an answer. I’ve just never asked.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 14, 2017 at 11:48 am

      I’m actually not sure about that. If it can’t be moved, then I’ll just have the driveway poured so that it’s curved and goes around the side and to the back of the house. But I am hoping they can move it over a few feet so that it’s not perfectly lined up with the studio. I’m also considering putting in a circular driveway in front, since we have such a big (wide) front yard and plenty of room for it.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Theresa P
        August 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Oooooh! A circular drive would be really nice. It would give so many opportunities for a mix of hardscape and landscape! Good idea!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        August 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Circular Driveway!! YESSSSS!!! Since you’ve started working on the exterior I’ve been thinking a circular driveway would be the ideal solution for your situation, but hadn’t got around to suggesting it. So I’m thrilled to hear it’s something you’re considering.

        I think it would work beautifully for you. A circular driveway would 1) reduce the area in front that has to be landscaped with plantings and then maintained, 2) make a statement, feel really gracious, and look great, 3) be convenient for getting automobiles close to the front door (a benefit for wheelchair access I would think), 4) be super handy and useful for client and visitor parking. My parents installed a circular drive in their (much smaller) front yard and it was wonderful.

        So a big thumbs up for Circular Driveways!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    It looks so great, Kristi! I think it’s money well spent- good job. The cost for that work here in California would have been much higher. I like your idea for a circular drive. It makes life easier for dropping off and picking up. Plus, they just look so gracious!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carole Prisk
    August 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    It is looking fabulous. Sticker shock is part of every home improvement plan, but you are going to have a home that’s personalized and perfect for you both. Hang in there; you are doing wonders in such a short time!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    To me, that is a lot cheaper than I would have thought! That is a heckuvalot of major work done AND a lot of quality materials for just about $30k. It is really helpful to see that broken down. Thanks!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      I agree, here in California it would have been 3 times as much plus the city would have charged another 10% of the contract price as a permit fee! Easily an $80-100k project.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Jo Bonds
    August 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Hey Kristi, I tried to send you a message but it didn’t work. I have been looking for a table similar to yours and wondered if sometime you’re going thru Craigslist, or some thing similar, you’d keep an eye out for me. I’ve tried all the places around me. Thanks, and I know you are excited about your home getting closer and closer to being finished.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    We live in the midwest and in 2014 we had an estimate to remove vinyl siding and replace with Hardiplank in a 2000 sq ft 2 story home. The first estimate was for $34,000. Thinking this seemed completely outrageous we got a second estimate and it was $36,000. Neither estimate including the recommended 2 coats of paint for the siding either. So even though you have spent a lot of money I think it seems reasonable for the work you have had done.

    I think you are doing an incredible job on your home and I am always excited to read your posts.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Barbara H.
    August 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I think you were smart to get as much done as you could and did now. Every time you come and go you will be reminded how far along your house has come. The cost is always a shock, but now you have a cohesive exterior. Congratulations!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    August 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    That’s a huge expense, but I think I would have done it if I were you. Shoot, the “garage” was practically built to “new”, so if you think about it that way, it isn’t out of line. A new 2 car garage in our area would cost that or more, and would not be finished on the inside. I’m sure you anticipate your overall costs for the whole house redo to be pretty large, and as long as you go in stages, it will be manageable. Let’s just hope the economy keeps going well, and that housing costs maintain a steady course!
    Hope you are mending well!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cathy in WV
    August 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Why would the caulking not be included in the installment of the siding? I would think that would be a pretty important step.
    I love the new look! It hardly looks like the same house. I hope you feel up to getting back to your DIY soon. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I’m glad to finally see how much something actually costs. That’s a subject that so many home improvement sites like This Old House tend to avoid. That’s also a question every viewer has.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sherri T
    August 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    So the Guest Room’s exterior finish is two walls of stone and one wall of siding (under porch)?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    It looks so good to see this progress! I know the dollar amount looks like a fair bit of money but it has added to the value of your home and it makes the house more of your “Own home” for you and Matt. I must reinforce the comment from Chris. I am also in southern Ontario and it would have cost much more here. Also permits would had added to the timeline-and then the added tax! I am very happy for you two and look forward to your updates.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rebecca B
    August 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    So how does the underside of the porch roof look now? Is it finished or are you going to finish it? Are you going to cover those 2 porch pillars in stone to use up that stone that you took off the side of your house? That would look kind of neat and incorporate the 2 sidings together nicely. Bet it would be heavy though. I am so glad you are ready to look at doing something to the outside. I know a lot of your fans are into landscaping (and so am I on an amateur basis) and there are a lot of things you could do to the outside to make your house attractive.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      The underside isn’t finished yet. I’ll be doing that myself, but I need to do some electrical wiring first. I’ll be wrapping the pillars to give them a more traditional look, but not with stone. I don’t really have much stone, so I’m thinking about using it to make a flower bed in front of the studio. I’m not 100% sure yet, though.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Rebecca B
        August 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm

        I think that a flower bed made with stone would be excellent. Maybe if you can use the stone for edging around the oak tree, and plant the inside of the circle (or whatever shape you choose) with perennial Periwinkle Vinca. (Vinca Minor) that would look really great. It grows in the shade and has beautiful light blue flowers, and is a ground cover and easy care. I think it will grow in Texas because it supposedly grows in zones 4-9. Then you could put a nice easy care grass like Zoysia in your sunny areas. I bet Zoysia would grow in Texas too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cath Young
    August 17, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I love what you do. I’m trying to do the same “out of air”. I’d call my blog “Rough House” But I do get a lot of ideas from you.