Projects & Improvements

Before and After: A Lifestyle Blogger’s Unfinished Garage Becomes a Multipurpose Studio Apartment

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Jordan Reid

September is Transformation Month at Apartment Therapy! That means every day, we’re sharing a new before & after to show the power of transformations at home. Head over here to see them all!

Makeover by: Jordan Reid, founder of Ramshackle Glam
Location: Bay Area, California

It all started with a sofa. When Ramshackle Glam blogger Jordan Reid wanted to upgrade her large, comfy but seen-better-days couch, she thought it might be nice to give it a new home in her Bay Area garage.

“I thought, ‘Well, if we’re putting the couch in there we should have a proper floor, otherwise it’ll feel like a garage—and we should probably repaint,’” she remembers. “And then, as you can see, it spiraled from there.”

Credit: Jordan Reid

The Process

Reid enlisted the help of Dynamix contractor Todd Von Kaenel to do the heavy lifting, and together they dreamed up a plan that added 500 square feet of additional living space to the home.

“Our first studio apartment was smaller than this, so I figured why not shoot for the moon and create what amounts to a studio apartment,” she notes.

Reid developed a plan that included a music studio for her husband’s recording equipment, a laundry room, a lofted sleeping space, children’s art workshop, and a living area. The contractor built new walls and installed skylights, while Reid got to work sourcing materials. “I went around to deconstruction sites looking for cool materials, like the 1968 casement window in the music studio,” she says, citing Etsy and Craigslist as two go-to destinations.

Credit: Jordan Reid

The Transformation

Now, a retro slab door opens to the space off of the home’s kitchen and dining area. For the resident felines, there is a small square cat door.

“I adore my cats, but when they came home with us, I knew there was going to be a problem because a visible catbox is on the shortlist of things I cannot handle,” Reid laughs. “It occurred to me, if you can install a cat door to let your pet go outside, why not a door to let them move around inside, too?”

Credit: Jordan Reid

Inside the garage studio, the recreation area features a composite floor, a shag rug found at Costco, and that beloved couch. Rafters above store belongings like camping equipment and Christmas decorations. Off of the main room is husband Kendrick’s private music studio, complete with keyboards, guitars and recording equipment. Along the back wall of the garage is the children’s art space, home to a mini desk and chair found on Craigslist as well as a chalkboard easel. 

Above the art space, Von Kaenel built a lofted bed for overnight guests that’s accessorized with steel railings. Reid found the hand-hewn ladder on Ebay. Throughout, the blogger decorated with items already in her home.

Credit: Jordan Reid

“A gardening bed became a bookshelf, a dresser became a TV console, and plants, storage baskets and chairs that just hadn’t worked elsewhere found a new home,” she says. “I loved that I was able to make the other rooms in the house feel more open and uncluttered in the process.”

Credit: Jordan Reid
Credit: Jordan Reid

Thanks, Jordan!

Are you interested in sharing a decorating or renovation project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Makeover Project Submission Form.