The finished studio!

One of the things that made us fall in love with this house (beside the property, the location, the front porch, our instant vision for updates), was the unfinished space above the garage.

Since both Ryan and I work from home, having a dedicated office space that is larger than our previous one (see it here) and slightly separate from the house was high on our house search wish list.

When we saw the 600 square feet of unfinished space with good light, plenty of head room, storage along one wall and an entrance off the garage, it was love at first sight (at least for me).

Over the past month – among the making-over of the kitchen and changing of light fixtures and unpacking of boxes – we set to work on finishing out the studio.

While we are happy DIYers, there are some jobs that are just better to hire out to the professionals. This was one of them. Maybe if we didn’t have 12 million other projects in the house going on at the same time (and if there was not massive drywall fixing to do) we could have tackled this, but our goal was to have the studio finished as soon as possible and we knew our limitations. We hired out the framing, drywall, painting, floor install and trim and could not be happier with how it turned out.

Last night I was up there doing the final cleaning before I can start moving in all of my stuff and I can’t wait!

Before it is filled with office-y things, I snapped a handful of photos to show how the space looks all finished out.

Ready to see our new studio?!

You get to the studio from the garage up a set of rough stairs. We will paint the treads and finish the walls at some point.

While we kept the doorway as it was, we reframed around it to enclose the window into the stairwell. It was a little bit of a weird space before with the window half covered by a wall and we wanted to open that up to allow for as much light as possible.

Framing out that wall also gave us a flat wall for hanging Ryan’s giant white board with storage under.

Framing in the stairs differently also gave us a space for storage to the right of the door. We’re on the hunt for a salvaged door for the storage room and will finish up the trim once the door is in.

The big dormers are such a great feature of the space.

When you come up the stairs and walk through the door, you see to the end wall with the window.

There is another dormer on this side that lets in great light (well, except for when I took photos this morning – it’s pretty dark and dreary out today).

On the far wall is another storage area that runs the whole length of the room behind that short wall.

We’ll find a little door for that space as well.

Isn’t it a great space?! We are really happy with how it turned out.

There were only a few design decisions to be made in here.

The first was the wall color. We went with Shoji White by Sherwin Williams in eggshell finish which is the same white we are using in the house. It keeps things consistent, makes touchups easy (only one can of paint!) and the warmth of the white works well for this house and property that tends to be pretty dark.

The next decision was the trim. We went with 5″ baseboard flat mdf. Easy, inexpensive, clean looking.

Our trim guy started the windows with the top and bottom pieces cut longer to frame out the vertical pieces. It was fine and a very typical way to frame windows, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. I felt terrible telling him to take it all down and start over, but what I wanted was minimal, simple, modern and the overhanging trim felt more craftsman. He thought I was crazy for just wanting straight trim but I’m so happy with it.

We opted to paint the trim the same white as the walls (Shoji White) but in semi-gloss.

Our original plan for the floors was to do DIY plywood planks and paint them glossy white. I still love that idea. When it really came down to it, what we needed were quick floors instead of ones that were time intensive and would take weeks for the paint to fully cure.

We ended up going with laminate flooring in a very nice neutral color called Lakeshore Pecan. Our friends have it in their garage apartment (where we lived for six weeks before moving in here) and it looks great, doesn’t sound clicky when you walk on it and the color is really good. It also happens to be just about the cheapest laminate floor available at Home Depot, so that’s a win.

Ryan installed six can lights in the ceiling for additional lighting and the two fixtures above the dormers will be replaced with these new lights that I ordered last night.

I don’t have a solid plan for furniture yet and the garage is full of all the boxes of office stuff that needs to make its way up there, so I have some work to do this week!

Just for fun, here are the before and after shots side by side.

Ooooh, I can’t wait to start working in here!

41 Responses to The finished studio!

  1. Donna March 24, 2018 at 3:20 am #

    Hi Jess,
    What type of padding did you use under the laminate? I’ve been considering Lakeshre Pecan by TM but the 7mm thickness (or lack thereof)) worries me. I suspect it has a very hollow feel once installed (I’m installing on a cement slab) . Can you confirm or deny? Thanks!


  2. Cordie February 16, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

    Have you loved the shoji white? What are your thoughts on it? I’m
    Considering that color for my walls and cabinets.

  3. jennifer January 14, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    so totally fabulous!!!! WOW…dance party first maybe before moving the furniture in??? ;-)))

    • emily January 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      For sure!

  4. LeAnne Martin January 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    Love it! Love those floors. Looking forward to seeing an update when you get everything in.

  5. Nicole January 10, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Would love to hear how you like the light fixtures once you get them. I’m looking for one for our entry that is a small space.

  6. Liz - Shopping My Closet January 10, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    Gorgeous space! Can’t wait to see how you decorate it!

    Liz @ ShoppingMyCloset.com

  7. Kenora January 10, 2017 at 7:36 am #

    I love it! Is it easy to use the storage under the eaves?

  8. Jennifer January 10, 2017 at 7:21 am #

    Love this new space! I would love to have the same thing above my garage but that would require raising the roof and college tuition seems to be hijacking that plan. I am excited to see how you use and share the space. Will you have two desk areas and a central sitting area? Rugs? So much to see – excited to follow along. Thanks!

  9. Susan January 10, 2017 at 6:59 am #

    What a dream space! I can’t wait to see how you decorate around the dormer spaces. We have them in our bedroom and it always a question as to how to deal with the angles. Very envious of this private and special office and work space. What a great new house!

  10. Melany van Eck January 9, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

    It looks amazing! Well done guys!

  11. Joy Gross January 9, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    How exciting.. it looks fabulous.. I would love to have that space as a quilt/sewing studio. Cant wait to see when you put all your stuff in it.

  12. Claudia January 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    Looks wonderful. Can’t wait to see it finished out and decorated. Shoji White is a great shade. We considered it for our mudroom … ended up going with a different Sherwin-Williams white. SW is great paint!

  13. Jayci January 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    love that you enclosed the window into the stairwell – makes the stairwell feel like a usable, and less-scary space! And the cross-lighting wasn’t lost since you used the paned door. BEAUTIFUL!! SO fresh and just perfect for an office studio.

  14. melissa January 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    do you worry about that laminate not being water resistant? i love it but my hubby won’t install it in our master BR because we have dogs that “might” pee on it and ruin it….. but it looks so pretty and for the price i can’t beat it!! great color choices throughout !! love it!!!

  15. Trudy January 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    Do you have access to a bathroom? I’d hate to be running up and down for that. but i just love the makeover! Especially the floor.

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

      The bathroom is in the house, so you do have to go down the stairs. It’s not too far, though :)

  16. Auntie January 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Looks awesome Emily and Ryan! I can’t wait to see it in person!

  17. Bonniejane January 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    You will LOVE it ! . . .We have exactly the same space above the garage . It is heated and cooled by a unit in the wall, under the large window, just the same as you see in every hotel room . This works quite well with the addition of a large ceiling fan . ENJOY! ( p.s. other ‘cut out ‘ spaces into the eves ,hold bulky items like a printer ,a fridge, etc., leaving your horizontal surfaces more clear).

  18. Rachel Schindler January 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    How did you go about finding somebody to do the work? You hear so many horror stories about hiring people to do the work. The space looks great.

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

      We used a really great guy who has done work for our friends. Referrals always seem to be the best way to go.

  19. Kimberly January 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    This is such a pretty space and perfect for your office! I can’t wait to see how you decorate it!

  20. Ardtih January 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    This is an incredible space that will be a dream for working. Love the light fixtures you picked as well. Looking forward to how you guys put it all together. Cheers, Ardith

  21. Brenda January 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    Beautiful space. I can’t wait to see it with furniture.

  22. Andrea January 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    It’s beautiful Emily!! Can’t wait to see it finished with the furniture!

  23. Marilyn R. Kay January 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    Lovely, and bright! What a wonderful workspace.

  24. Dianne G January 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    Wow, great space for the both of you.

  25. Samantha January 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    My goodness, this space is AMAZING! And I love the trim around the windows-so clean and minimal. The space is beautiful. Have fun filling and decorating it. I know y’all will be easily inspired in it!

  26. lindsey cheney January 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    so pretty! i can’t believe all that space! what color finish did you choose for the lights? both the gold and the black are great.

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      I did black. Just for contrast. But I love the gold, too.

  27. Tara January 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Love this space!! Does the laminate flooring have any texture to it? I am considering it for my airstream renovation ?

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      It has a slight texture, but mostly flat.

  28. Tyne January 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Is the flooring this flooring at Home Depot?

    It looks way better in your pictures! Love!

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm #


  29. Lori Northon January 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    Freaken awesome! I wish we had space like this over our garage. Unfortunately, we have a flat roof Pueblo style home, so it’s not really possible.

  30. Marley January 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    Emily…this looks so great!!!! I have the same problems with contractors;) A designer’s eye is sometimes different than a contractor’s LOL!!!! Did you luck out with heating in the space already? Good luck! Such an inspiring space!

    • emily January 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      The garage is heated and we have a small space heater and portable air conditioner unit. We’ll see how it does in the summer :)

      • Meggan January 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

        We built a playroom above our heated garage and ended up installing an electric heater into the wall. It has a thermostat on it and heats it really well! (Looks like a small box). Something to consider!

  31. JulesB January 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    LOVE IT!!

  32. Diana January 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Looks amazing! I love the floors. I can’t wait to see it once everything is moved in. Nice job!


  33. Ginny Mapes January 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm #


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