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When 25-year-old photographer Brooke Frederick went in on a Southern California rental house with three roommates, she decided she’d save some money by choosing the least desirable space: the garage. But with a bit of DIY ingenuity and imagination, she managed to make the space into the coolest one of all. See how she managed the gorgeous transformation on a budget!
Noting that the garage space had windows, Frederick knew she could make it livable.
“The windows were most important for me. Otherwise it would have been like any other dark dungeon garage,” she said. Also, she liked the location. “The garage itself is situated in the back of the house with access to the backyard, so it was very private and away from the street. It was extremely dirty and the original wood was very dark, but I knew that cleaning and painting white would make a huge difference.”
Beyond that, she loved the idea of forging a beautiful home out of a space most people would pass up. “I am very excited about alternative living spaces — barns, warehouses, shipping containers,” she said. “So this was a chance to really explore that.”
The first step: cleaning.
“First, I cleaned a lot,” she said. “Like five times over and over!” She then removed all the leftover junk being housed in the space, and demoed the existing built-in shelving. “Then I cleaned again!” she said.
After that, it was a trip to Home Depot to rent an industrial paint sprayer, which she used to paint the walls.
“It really was so easy,” she said. “The thought of painting all the walls by hand was daunting and I also wanted to achieve a white-washed look. I sprayed one coat, no primer, and the wood soaked the paint up a bit — and it turned out like that!”
She did some bug bombs to exterminate and let the paint dry. From there, it was on to the fun part: decorating.
Given that Frederick started this project with little furniture, she approached the room as a blank canvas, sourcing the perfect pieces specifically for the space. She searched sites like Craigslist and eBay to find pieces she liked at a price point she loved.
Her favorite piece in the whole place is the “1 Hour Photo” sign that she found on Craigslist for $40.
“I have a bit of a vintage light-up sign addiction!” Beyond that, she said she also loves the mid-century three-tiered globe lamp found at a thrift store missing two of the three shades. She replaced the globes, originally white, with acrylic black ones that she found online — all for about $30.
Her surfing hobby also finds a perfect home in the garage, which makes the ideal space for surfboard storage that doubles as décor.
“I am a California girl through and through,” she said. “It is really nice to have those rafters and high ceilings to store my surfboards, and reduce clutter.”
A budget-friendly home
For the transformation, she estimates her total budget was about $900, including the furniture and décor.
Of course, she’s still saving on her monthly rent — even though she has the coolest room in the house.
“I am definitely paying the least out of the four of us. Considering I have to walk through the backyard to go to the bathroom, and no insulation, they gave me a break,” she said. “However, they weren't expecting the garage to look so good in the end!”