Converting garage to livable space while keeping it functional as garage

I have a detached garage where I rent the upstairs out. Downstairs there is an unfinished half bathroom as part of the garage.

Because of city regulations, I cannot close in and remodel the downstairs garage part because it would exceed the square footage limit for detached buildings (square footage cannot exceed 30% (or something lkie that) of the primary home.

But I would like to rent out that space somehow. So I’m thinking of just replacing the garage door with an insulated garage door, finishing the walls, and adding a shower to the unfinished bathroom. Maybe decorate it in diamondplate and keep it garage motif. Maybe have a murphy bed to fold up when I want to park in the garage.

I’m just not sure what to do about the concrete floor. It has a few cracks and stains in it so I need to cover it. Maybe multiple rugs. There is a center pole that supports upstairs so I’m not sure what to do about that either.

Another problem: when someone walks across the floor upstairs, it’s pretty loud though you can hear enough to interpret any conversations. I guess I’d have to add extra foam insulations to cut down on the sound.

Anybody seen any dual purpose garage rentable spaces?

I wasn’t clear – first, is the detached garage actually a 2 story building, with an apartment on top and garage below? Second, is your plan to rent out the lower part (the garage space itself) as a dwelling space, but as a separate unit/listing from the apartment upstairs?

There are several options for the garage floor – you could use area rugs, yes – you could also lay tile on top of the concrete – maybe something warm like saltillo tile. Or you could lay down some laminate flooring. The center pole could be left there or perhaps enclosed —

Sound carrying through floors is often a problem with one space atop another. Quietrock is a type of sheetrock that helps diminish sound…extra insulation would help too.

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Yes, it’s a 2 story and my plan was to rent the downstairs separately. The only window would be in the bathroom and in the garage door. I only want to rent it for short rentals because I may use the shop area (has tools and workbench).

I just don’t know if people would want to stay here.

people will stay anywhere…for the right cheap price


Well, that might appeal to certain guests…


I am puzzled. The city won’t let you turn this into finished [i.e. living space] and your are still going to use it as living space but not make it finished? Around here this would be wildly illegal and a zoning violation.


It sounds like you’re asking to be fined by your city. They WILL find out, one way or another. Personally I wouldn’t stay in someone’s garage/workshop with a bed in one corner and only a half bath, even if I could find a pole dancer…


The garage as intended wouldn’t be illegal. It would be illegal to use it as sleeping quarters. Too many deaths of young people in unregulated garage apartments, and the zoning boards have come down hard.


Now you are just being silly. I understand that zoning and Health & Safety is not a big deal where you live, but here, it is. The OP stated that increasing his living space is forbidden by the city and he is asking this forum for permission to ignore that ordinance and rent his space to someone to sleep.


No pole, but how cute is this? I’d stay there in a minute if there were no pit bull.

Look at the weekly and monthly discounts! 50%!!! $30 a night in LA. Astonishing. But the lack of running water is a show-stopper for me.

I agree, although there might be easy access to that commodity. I could “rough it” for that price and in that area.

It’s an amazingly fun, interesting neighborhood for sure. I love walking York Blvd through Highland Park.

That pibble is probably sweet as can be. It looks like it’s crossed with bunny. I’d stay there in a heart beat. No surprise it’s booked until January except for a week at Christmas.


Well, I’m confused and need to go read the regulation. I thought as long as I left the garage door where it could be used as a garage but have the walls finished, that this would not be breaking the regulation. Lots of garages have finished walls. This all has to do with the garage being detached from the house. If it were connected to the house by a finished space then I wouldn’t have to worry about the amount of square footage of finished space. I could close in the garage and make it a living space.

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They still scare the crap out of me. But many don’t seem to mind so good for her. She’s raking in the $!

My neighbor just did what you want to do to your garage, and I live in an area where they are very strict about garage conversions. They’ve got a tiny house with a detached single car garage built the 1920s. They have a toddler and needed the space. They put the insulated door on, then dry walled interior. Put small wall AC unit, nice cabinets on back wall, industrial carpet. And the coolest circular skylight that illuminates like you wouldn’t believe. Then French doors on side that faces the house. Ikea furniture. I want to move in!


My pit bull is much nicer than most people I meet. It’s not fair to stereotype.


I’m not stereotyping. I didn’t say anything about the dog. I said they scare ME. And I’m sure your dog is just lovely.

Pit bulls are like people. Some are nice, some are not so nice. Invariably the not nice ones have been poorly trained by people. The reason that pit bull advocates are so sensitive to this issue is that because of breed specific legislation so many healthy, well-behaved pit bulls are killed in shelters because they don’t have homes. My homeowner insurance company almost cancelled our insurance because of our very well trained, well socialized, very friendly pit bull. I gave the insurance company, Safeco, a copy of her Canine Good Citizenship Certificate and testimonials from our veterinarian and our dog trainer stating that no human needed to fear her. They granted us an exception to the no pit bull rule.

Do you actually want to continue to use the garage to park a car and also have people sleep there? If that is the case, then I suggest its not a good idea and in most European countries this would be illegal.