Treetops Renovations: Part 1 [The Plan]

Treetops: October 2014
I shared a bit about why we recently moved to James Island in this January post. To recap: A series of life and heart decisions led us to rent our home and move to a one-bedroom garage apartment on James Island. Brandon and I (along with generous friends and family) have spent the last six months clearing out, cleaning, renovating and generally making this space a home suitable for our family of four. It has been a long, difficult time of highs and lows but we are happy to be at the end of this major goal.

The Existing Structure
When we moved to the house behind my Grandmother's home, the upstairs (finished) apartment included one bedroom, one bathroom, one kitchen, three closets and a living room. The L-shaped garage space featured cinder block walls, two fans, two windows, a garage door and a finished bathroom. The outdoor space includes a downstairs open porch with our (one and only) exterior staircase leading to an upstairs screened in porch.

The Plan
floor plan for (former) garage space 
When we first asked for permission to move to the apartment, most of my family members looked at us like we were a bit daft: "a family of four living in a 450 square foot apartment?" I'm not sure if our plan or our conviction convinced them to agree to support us in this move. Either way, our plan was to move into the upstairs and renovate the garage space.

Our planned renovations included:
- repaint all wall and ceiling surfaces (with Kilz to remove smoke smells)
- replace carpets (that had been ruined by cat urine)
- move kitchen downstairs
*Ultimately, the upstairs will be our bedroom and bathroom space. The boys will share the one bedroom, Brandon and I will make the current living room into our bedroom and the former kitchen nook will be a small sitting room extension of our bedroom.

I do not have before pictures of the upstairs. The space was finished twenty-something years ago and has housed many Hammes/Glover family tenants for years (including Brandon and me).

- empty garage of 25 years of furniture storage
- replace garage door with french doors
- install drywall to cover cinder blocks
- transform bathroom closet into laundry space
- install kitchen downstairs
*Ultimately, the downstairs space will serve as our playroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, office and guest room/ bathroom.

Here are a few before pictures of the downstairs garage space. Excuse the dark exposure and graininess as these were taken with an iPhone.

the garage has been used for storage for decades
(future) kitchen bay

kitchen/ dining room window and garage door

old walls, old wiring

garage bathroom (eek)
back wall/ future living room and side door

future kitchen bay and bathroom door

As you can tell, the space had great potential to become livable space and just needed several months of really hard work. (Brandon is my hero.)

Check back tomorrow for Treetops Renovations: Part 2 [The Upstairs].

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