From Dirty Garage to a Modern, Flexible ADU for Guests + Work

This garage has been reimagined into a modern accessory dwelling unit that is a versatile, eco-friendly, and adaptive space that can be used to house guests, work, or as a yoga studio.

Amid the ever-increasing housing shortages and escalating costs in urban areas, innovative solutions are emerging that not only tackle these challenges but also align with sustainable practices. One such example is the Carlsbad ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) Garage Conversion by Modern Granny Flat – a versatile, eco-friendly, and adaptive space that addresses the need for more housing while offering the homeowner many options for the future.

angled interior view of garage renovation turned ADU granny flat with wood stairs, vaulted ceilings, and kitchen

The Carlsbad ADU/Garage Conversion project stands as a testament to innovation in sustainable housing. Rather than demolishing the old garage and building a new structure, this project embraced the existing one. By converting an existing garage into a flexible living space, the project cuts down on resource consumption, minimizes carbon emissions, and defies the cycle of urban sprawl.

angled interior view of modern kitchen with wood cabinets and white countertops

The project capitalizes on recent legislative changes in California, pertaining to ADUs or Granny Flats. The state’s legislation permits the construction of up to two ADU units on a single-family lot, and encourages homeowners to utilize existing structures creatively.

angled interior view of modern kitchen with wood cabinets and white countertops

What sets this ADU apart is its adaptability. The space has been designed to morph and evolve with the ever-changing needs of its occupants. With a focus on sustainability and flexibility, the ADU features a multifunctional cabinet wall, a garage door that seamlessly expands the living area, and a mezzanine level for added privacy. This allows the space to shift effortlessly from a bedroom to an office, a dining area, or even a yoga studio – all in a single day. By reimagining the concept of living spaces, the Carlsbad ADU/Garage Conversion aligns with the principle that we do not need larger homes, but smarter ones that can evolve smoothly with our lives.

interior view of renovated garage with wall of cabinets including foldout murphy bed and desk

In addition to storage, the bank of cabinets hides a Murphy bed and folding table/workstation that easily transform the space into whatever is needed at the moment.

angled interior view of renovated garage with man sitting at foldout desk from wall of cabinets with garage door open

The pitched ceiling makes the space feel larger while also allowing for a mezzanine that could work as additional sleeping quarters, a quiet retreat, or even extra storage.

up view of gabled wood ceiling through rafters

minimalist modern black and white bathroom with hanging plant

angled closeup of simple bathroom counter with round mirror above

interior view of loft spac with pitched ceiling clad in wood beams

interior view of end wall with small window and 2 sconces under pitched roof clad in wood beams

angled roof clad in wood beams

exterior view of renovated garage with center door open revealing flex space

Garage before:

before photo of dirty garage with checkered floor

before photo of cramped attic space

Photography by Rachel Pangi.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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