before and afterDIY

Before & After: An Unused Garage Becomes A Colorful Craft Studio

by Maxwell Tielman

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Even for the most meticulous of homemakers, the garage—that nary visited, afterthought of a home appendage—can often function as a full-sized junk drawer. You know what I’m talking about. Although garages are technically meant to house cars (and perhaps the occasional lawn mower, rake, or bicycle), they usually run the risk of becoming contenders for episodes of Hoarders—their walls filled with everything from aging canned goods to rusty gym equipment that you have every intention of using…someday. This is why, whenever anybody has the brilliance and audacity to convert one of these overlooked spaces into a functional room, I feel like it needs applause.

When blogger and crafter extraordinaire Rachel Mae Smith moved to Portland from San Francisco, the apartment that she ended up renting came along with a dingy, broken-down garage. Without a car—or anything really—to fill the space, Rachel decided to put it to an even better use: as an office and studio where she could work on her crafts and woodworking without mucking up her home. Ever the DIY-minded gal, Rachel tackled the project with vigor and aplomb, only running into a few (okay, a lot) of spiders along the way. With colorful touches like a simple, homemade inspiration board and a bright yarn installation, the space is lightyears away from its dreary beginnings—the perfect home away from home…at home. Check out all of the photos, plus Rachel’s design notes, after the jump! —Max

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  • Super. I actually like my garage’s “decor”, but this provides some additional inspiration.
    Come spring….

  • First of all, I love LOVE the idea of making a garage a functional space. I know mine is currently a lost cause, but it’s great to dream! I have to say, the inspiration board is my favorite feature. It’s simple yet impacting- and totally inspirational (which is why I guess they call it an “inspiration board”)!

  • Hey! I clicked on this immediately from FB because I have the same situation. And, I’m in PDX! I have a large garage that I want to turn into a studio. So i was wondering… as we sit in this ice storm… what are you doing about heat and insulating for the heat and then, once its warm, keeping everything else out. How hard was it to put in the window? What does the ceiling look like? I know.. SO MANY QUESTIONS.

  • my garage has a weird little ‘loft’ aspect to it… if i could figure out a sun roof to let in light, this might be a perfect idea! simple yet worthwhile… i like the carpet too … reminds me of one i saw on Design Sponge’s insta ;)

  • We actually park 2 cars on our garage currently, but are thinking of making half a permanent woodshop. Designsponge, why not show more photos of that side? Also, love the workbench! Any specs on that particular one?

  • Hi! Fellow PDXer here as well. This is such a beautiful remodel! Well done! Just a quick note as the write mentioned you were from SF – if these are the garages over on NE Davis (they may not be but look exactly like them), just make sure they get air flow as they get very damp in the winter. This studio is absolutely adorable! Love the yarn installation!

  • Oh, this is gorgeous and the color of the walls really makes the garage look tons brighter. I would love to see a video of this. The pictures had me wanting to see a video representation.