Garage-To-Studio Progress – Week 1

So the good news is that this project is finally underway. I’ve been talking about it and planning it for months, and it was beginning to feel like one of those things that would always be “the plan” but would never actually get started (you know…like our big addition on the back of the house 😀 ). But today is officially day three of the project. So while there’s not a huge amount of progress to show, there’s definitely some progress!

The first thing they did yesterday was remove the door from the breakfast room into the garage so that they could see exactly where the banding for the floor joists needed to be in order for the studio floor to be level with the breakfast room floor. And since that exterior door is being reused on the driveway side of the studio (which will hopefully be framed in today), they didn’t want to re-install the door. So for now, I have a cheap hollow core interior door in that place.

garage conversion to studio - week 1 - 1

It’s definitely not ideal, and there’s nothing energy efficient about it, but at least it’s temporary.

Then they added some temporary bracing and took out the front wall of the garage completely since none of the original framing could be reused.

garage conversion to studio - week 1 - 2

It’s pretty much the exact same thing that my brother and I did on the front and back walls of the breakfast room.

garage conversion to studio - week 1 - 3

And then they reframed it, added new OSB on the outside, and wrapped it in Tyvek. So now we can actually see where the windows will be on the front wall of the studio.

garage conversion to studio - week 1 - 4

The one on the left isn’t framed in completely, as you can see. They left the bottom piece of OSB of so that they could use that to get in and out of the garage to bring tools and lumber inside. If they had framed and sheathed it completely, they’d have to walk all the way around to the back yard and enter/exit through the back door on the storage room, which would be very inefficient.

And in that picture just above, you can see what looks like 2″ x 8″ lumber that they’re using as banding on top of the concrete footing that will be used to hang the floor joists. They still need to add that banding to the front wall, and then they’ll be ready to install floor joists and subfloor. I’m hoping that’s what they’ll be doing today. Once they raise the floor, that’s when this will really start to feel like a room rather than a garage.

So anyway, it’s progress. And I’m trying really hard to focus on the progress and keep a positive attitude about this project, because let me tell you, we’re only two days down and just beginning day #3 and I’m already about to pull my hair out. I won’t go into details just yet, because I’m still stewing on the inside about a few things and waiting to see how things work themselves out. So I’m not quite ready to rant to all of you. But you can be assured that if things keep going the way they’re going, there will be plenty of ranting in the near future. We’re barely into this project, and I’ve already been reminded repeatedly why I dislike contractors and go out of my way to avoid working with them if at all possible. *Sigh*

But…happy thoughts. The guys are here now, and they’re working on the floor. Yay! This is exciting! I’m sure I’ll be sharing some behind-the-scenes progress pics on my Instagram account, so if you want keep up with those, you can click here to find me on Instagram.

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  1. I feel your pain. We added on to the back of our house last year. Nobody does things right…always have to check behind them, and even then they typically don’t pay attention to detail like you would. Hang in there!

  2. I feel your pain! After probably five years of discussion, we finally bit the bullet and decided to convert our covered patio into an extra room and construction started last week. My stress level is already sky high and I’m having serious doubts about whether this project was a good idea or not. We’ve had several unanticipated problems, like drilling through the waterline in the foundation, doing damage to landscaping, and generally making a much bigger mess than I had imagined. I’ll be interested to see how your project goes and will be commiserating and ranting along with you! 🙂

  3. Just keep telling yourself that this job is too much for you alone, especially with your pinched nerve and bad back. It may be a hair-pulling experience, but you don’t have to do the physical part right now.

  4. I have not had positive experience working with contractors. It was always a nightmare with details. PAINFULLY obvious details. That was one of the reasons we went with a new build when we moved. But then we have a cookie cutter suburb monopoly house that I can drive around the immediate blocks and tell you what house has what floor plan based on the colors, facade, etc… :/ So it’s definitely a fine line of insanity.

    But hopefully you will end up with the bare bones you can work with.

  5. Will moisture migration from the slab through your floor joists and subfloor be a problem? While it’s still open I’d ? contractor. Most older garage slabs sweat like crazy with humidity changes.

  6. Hate to raise another issue, but is the ridge line of your garage sagging or it the photograph angle? As you know, it’s better to correct any problems now than later.

    1. Yes, it’s sagging. 🙂 I’ve discussed it extensively with the framers who will be reframing the ceiling to open it up. They think they can straighten it out some, but can’t guarantee that it’ll be completely straight. That sag has been probably three decades in the making (at least), so trying to straight it out completely in a day could potentially do more damage than help. Right now, the roof is structurally sound, but aesthetically it’s not perfect. So anyway, they’re aware that I’d like it straightened as much as possible, and they’ve told me they’ll do all they can to straighten it. But unless I’m willing for them to build a completely new roof (and I’m not 🙂 ), it still won’t be perfect. I had to make my peace with that a long time ago.

  7. I know what you mean about working with contractors. I’m still stewing about a roofing job I had done nearly 40 YEARS ago! And don’t even ask about the whole house plumbing redo I had done two years ago. Can we say dragging out 4 day job to 3 weeks, flooding my kitchen and trying to say it was my fault, charging $1,200 more for something that I had understood was included in the original contract? I’d rather have a root canal during labor than work with a contractor!! So, rant away! I’m sure most of us can empathize.

  8. Ok, I have to defend my contractor. I am very picky and my contractor worked with me and was a dream! They are out there! My bath remodel can be seen on Houzz-Grand Ave Hall Bath remodel by Stumpff Homeworks. I don’t get anything from my endorsement but I think they need kudos, they did a great job-it’s a small 4 man operation. I’m having them back next year to do the master bath. PS we’re in the KC metro area

    1. I just looked up your hall bathroom. It is awesome!!! Where did you get that frame for your mirror? I love every, single detail about your bathroom. Very cool!!!

      1. Oh, thank you! I bought a french reproduction buffet for my kitchen on sale and the mirror came with it. I didn’t need the mirror but thought if it could be cut down it would work perfect in the bathroom. It was cut down and worked it’s magic! The sink cabinet was a buffet I found on craigslist that I had the drawers made into a faux front to access under the sink. My contractor was awesome!

  9. Oh girrrrl, I could write a book about our builder/contractor. Verbiage goes in one ear and out another, so get it written down on both ends – your statements and theirs. And remind them of the fact. We had so many disagreements that by the time we got to the interior finishing, the builder never came around. It was us on the phone with his wife/office person or his Subs. And this was our third house we’ve built, so we knew what was involved and how it was done. Good luck! Do they learn how to be annoying when they are apprentices? But I’m glad the project has started, and hope they don’t drive you insane!

    1. Getting things down in writing is excellent advice. I work in law and have learned over the years that essentially what you have to do from the first phone call and estimate and throughout the process is to put EVERYTHING in writing, every single detail, and get signatures of agreement where possible. By that I mean every single phone conversation is memorialized in memo format, and all job details and changes are put down in writing. Also, PHOTOGRAPHS are invaluable! I hate to say it, but essentially what you are doing by following this procedure is building a book of evidence as you go along in the build process in the event of a potential lawsuit, should your build/job become one of the many horror stories we hear about. It’s difficult to go back and recreate evidence especially when things go belly up and you’ve got a disaster on your hands, and emotions are high.

  10. I work with contractors on a day-to-day basis as the onsite manager of a large townhouse association. It is definitely frustrating. I think they feel like we’re constantly interfering and they’re defensive from the get go, but I have 590 “bosses” who are affected by what my contractors do so I have to be very involved. I have found that the more I can get the association to pay for services, the better quality we get. Good luck, Kristi!

  11. I am sorry you have to go through some stress and anguish, but that’s part of the journey. I am restricted to small do it yourself projects right now (Got 3 kids in college!!!) I wish I could hire a contractor. I am living vicariously through you right now. You are blessed to be able to do what you are doing. And thanks for taking us all along for the ride!

  12. I’m hoping for the best for you!! Maybe just a rough/slow start and then smooth sailing 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what flooring you chose as well!

  13. Hi Kristi,
    I was wondering irf all of the walls are exposed and not sheet rocked? If so have you considered a pocket french door into your work room? There wouldn’t ever be a door in the way. Just a thought if it is all opened.
    Have a great week. It will all work out.

  14. We are in the middle (please, God let it be the middle since it has already been 2 months) of fire remediation and getting people here to do any work. Painters have supposedly been coming for the last three weeks. There was a flood in our town two weeks ago so I know there are folks worse off than us, but honestly, just tell me that you can’t come, don’t blow sunshine up my skirt and continue to not come. UGH! That and telling me all the things you are going to do like clean carpets, etc. then, just pretending like they never said they’d do that. I feel ya.

  15. I hope the rest of the project goes smoothly. We had awesome contractors for our kitchen remodel so they are out there. Hang in there!

  16. I started doing my own work from drywalling to installing floors and windows after having sloppy renovation work done. I also got men looking at me like I had two heads when I told them what I wanted them to do. It’s so nice to be able to do it yourself, as you know, but sometimes you just can’t. I hope it all works out okay for you.

  17. Maybe they can re side your breakfast room too while they are at it. But, I have never met anyone who has liked their contractor.

  18. Kristi, you know your way around construction, and I’m quite sure you have valid issues, so I’m not talking about your post here… but every time a contractor story comes up in any public forum the comment sections turn into one sided slam fests. As this already has.
    But I’ve seen the other side of it.

    I know there are poor contractors out there. I KNOW that and I’m not doubting the truth of many people’s stories.
    BUT… my husband has been in the trades for most of his adult life and he could probably match every contractor complaint with an equally irritating or just plain dumb customer story. There was the one who gave him a sample of baseboard moulding to copy… from the wrong wall… and then got upset that it didn’t match the correct wall. The one who neglected to share that they’d purchased new floating vanities for the bathroom (after being asked what changes they were making), and then got upset that the trim work had been installed to fit the existing ones. The one who got upset because the electrician wouldn’t just cover boxes containing live wires behind new drywall (this is strictly against code as well as not smart). The ones who change their minds over and over, or fail to make any decision at all, putting off work for days and days… and then can’t understand why the workers aren’t standing there waiting once they finally decide they’re ready. And then there’s one who aggressively blamed the company truck for dinging their carport… until their son finally confessed.
    I do agree wholeheartedly that any plans, and any changes to them, be put in writing, but this isn’t just to protect the customer… it protects the contractor and tradesmen as well. Scope of the project, deadlines for choices, responsibility for ordering, costs for changes… the more that’s written down the clearer the understanding is (should be) on both sides.

    1. I have no doubt that contractors have to deal with stupid, frustrating, annoying customers every single day. 🙂 I used to work with clients, and I had my share of frustrating experiences myself. That’s one of the main reasons why, when people ask me if I’ll start doing client work again when I’m done with my house, I’m a little hesitant to commit.
      For the record, I really do like the contractor, and I absolutely LOVE the subs that are working on my studio. They’re doing a fantastic job. 🙂 Last week, three significant (and potentially ery costly to me) miscommunications back to back had me very frustrated. But I think they’ve been dealt with, things are moving forward, and things are getting done very quickly. So I’m happy. 🙂

  19. FIRST OFF….I LOVE YOU AND YOUR WORK !!!! I have READ EVERY post of yours and YOU AMAZE ME !!!!NOW….this message is NOT post related…and will be ‘long winded’…so feel free not to continue reading and just ignore me….
    I am ‘trying’ to beautify my home but have NO CLUE how to even start. I look at various blogs…see ideas..but I do not know the difference between..colonial..boho chic…traditional…eastern european..or farmhouse fresh…etc….I KNOW I LOVE RED (and I mean obsessively…if you saw my house now…you would hate it…lol..), yellow..basically bright colours..and my go-neutral would be grey. I am NOT computer savvy at all. I have been on pinterest..and really can not really figure out how to utilize it. Houzz….same thing… You say you find your pictures there…I am NOT sure how you do that. I do not want to buy anything from Houzz…so I don’t have an account (I am also from Canada..not sure if that makes a difference). But for an example…I have ‘old wooden teachers desk chairs that were all painted..and I striped the paint off and I want to use them as chairs for a kitchen table…now I need to see what I want to do with the table…so I want to search for ideas that would go…whitewash look…white bottom…vise versa….all white table…etc… I don’t know how to search for pictures of such items…. I do NOT know how to make a mood board on my computer. Because I have 2 hutch like cabinets…that I would like to convert into wall units (sorta like you did in your music room or in your nieces bedroom). Once the table is done…should those cabinets be white too..or painted another colour…if they are white…then maybe the table should be a different colour. I am NOT going to paint the chairs now…NOT after stripping the paint off of them…(I can’t do things more than once…unless it turns out BAD). But I don’t know how to put it all together…or how it would all look together. Colour is what scares me…I have OAK trim throughout my house and painting it to white is NOT an option. The colour of the room…I was thinking of “Classic Grey” I love white trim..but I can NOT paint all my trim…It would KILL ME physically! Just like I love the colour of your doors…but I do NOT think that that would suit the oak trim in my house at all, which makes me sad. I AM DISABLED and getting things done ONCE is HARD for me.. I AM ALONE and I can NOT afford to do things more than once. I also have some serious other problems…anxiety..depression…and it does NOT take much to put me in a ‘serious downward spiral’ that takes me forever to get out of. Self destruction, self esteem and self hate is one that I do well with so if I don’t get it right the 1st time…doing it a 2nd time may NEVER happen….not a great attribute to have in the decorating field. But being disabled…getting it done once is SO HARD to begin with…(ok…pity party over…sorry) But I want a beautiful home like yours….I am not going to try to build what you do….I can’t…but some of the things you do…I think I can. AND….living in Canada… I have compared some of the things that you have suggested…for example…the paint thinner you suggested…you would NOT believe how much we have to pay for it here compared to what you pay for it in the U.S. WOW !!! So many things I have looked up and compared….we pay so much more for our items than you do…spray paint…bloggers talk about yours being $5…$6 a can…we pay $12 $14 for the same brand…I even went on….thinking I would really save money…it was ‘CRAZY’ expensive more than even in the stores. I have been living ‘vicariously through you for so long’…now I want to follow you. Any advice how to get me started? I know I have left something out that I wanted to type…but I think I have taken up enough of your time… I am sorry….I said it was going to be long winded….I really meant it. BUT…I do RESPECT you, your work and your opinion. And I want to THANK YOU in advance for anything you think you could drop down to help.