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30.10.14

Turning a Garage into an Office Space

Comparing modern day houses to those build 70 or so years ago there are a few clear differences, not only with design and layout (bathroom downstairs vs bathroom upstairs) but probably the most obvious being size.
Older houses generally seem to be more generous in size, compared to the modern day version. For example, our modern 3 bedroom house is smaller than my mums older 3 bedroom house. Our house consists of 2 double rooms and then the dreaded "box room" whereas the rooms in my mums house are considerably bigger with her "box room" still being big enough for a double bed.

Dining rooms seemed to be the standard in a home a few years ago whereas these days we are happy with a kitchen diner.

When it came to us looking to buy our own home an office space was essential as my husband would be running his own business.
We toyed with the idea of buying a house with a dining room which we could convert but with my husband working in media production we needed somewhere he would be able to go without worrying about sounds elsewhere, and where I wouldn't be disturbed by the boom boom boom base coming from his computer speakers.

Working from home can be tricky and full of distractions so having your own space, away from everyday life is essential, and for us there was one room that we knew had to be top of our "must have" list when we were house hunting.
A garage.

I think a garage can generally be quite overlooked when it comes to office space, or indeed as a living space, particularly if it isn't attached to the house and therefore accessible via an internal door.

For us there were a few things we needed to consider:

Sound-proofing. My husband worked incredibly hard to make sure the studio is sound proofed as best it can be. It's essential that noise from the inside is kept in, and the noise from the outside, be it traffic, children or next doors yappy dog, is kept outside. We used acoustic foam treatment tiles like these from Amazon to sound proof our garage and we are amazed at how well they work.

Planning permission. Before changing the use of a room such as a garage it is essential to know whether or not you need planning permission. Planning permission will most likely be needed if you decide to build something new, make structural changes such as building an extension and even if you decided to change the use of your building. If you carry out work on a building without getting planning permission you could be hit with an enforcement notice, forcing you to take down any work you have already done. This could prove to be costly so it's worth checking your options beforehand.

Can we use the garage for storage and as a working space? Although we have a shed, and a loft in both the house and the garage, we still needed a little extra space in the garage for our essential items such as tins of paint, tools and cleaning bits for the cars. By designing a clear layout and looking at the space we had, breaking it down into what would be suitable storage space and suitable office space we were able to create a room which catered for both of these needs.
Partitioning Solutions provided by Warehouse Storage Solutions Limited  are an ideal way to divide your room to make sure you are able to provide not only the perfect working space, but an organised storage space too.

What can we do ourselves? I think it's a general need these days to save money where possible. From the outset have a plan of what work needs doing, and then from that list work out what you can do yourselves, and where you will need to get others in to do the work for you. Make a list of possible plumbers, electricians or builders and make sure you gather a few quotes before settling on someone straight away.

And lastly, have a deadline. The worst thing about any room changes or building work is that it can be unsettling. Set a clear deadline from the beginning, and have set goals for each job that needs to be done. Chase up any work done by others and make sure they too are clear about the deadline and sign off date.

Soon enough you'll be in your perfect workspace.