Short of space? Turning an integral garage into a playroom, TV room or extra bedroom could ease the load.
By Caroline Rodrigues
Are you beginning to see your garage in a new light, as invaluable extra living space? If done with care, the new space can be matched in with your home for a seamless finish, and the work can take, at best, as little as just a couple of weeks. Integral garages are the most straightforward to convert and involve minimal disruption to your home.
Before you go ahead, it's worth discussing the advantages of an extra room against a usable garage in your area with local estate agents, and the resulting impact on the value of your home.
Neil Laman, Manager of Foxtons estate agents in London's Chiswick, notes a variety of uses for the converted space. 'People are converting garages into offices, playrooms and utility rooms. I have seen an example of a garage conversion where the kitchen was cleverly extended into the garage, but the appearance from the front of the house for planning reasons looked the same. The owners kept the garage door and behind it was a small storage area.'
Integral garages in older homes are often too small to hold today's larger cars, and tend to be used for storage instead. Bear in mind that by converting it to living space you'll have some serious dejunking to do. Neil Laman comments: 'Cars have become bigger but garages haven't so they're increasingly used for storage, which is always top of people's list. If you have a Porsche, a garage will be worth more to you than the storage, while someone with a run-around won't be as concerned.'
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