Avoiding “The Bowling Alley” Effect

First, a caveat:  unless there’s also a detached garage in the back of the house (typically, off an alley), converting a one-car garage into something else is a non-starter.

That’s because going from a one-car garage to a no-car garage is guaranteed to destroy much more value than it creates.

But, assuming that that’s not the case, is it ever smart to convert a one-car garage into finished square feet?

The short answer:  “yes ” provided it’s done well” (actually, that pretty much applies to every prospective major renovation or home addition).

Goodbye, Tuck-Under Garage! 

The trick converting a one-garage into finished square feet is the lopsided space:  usually, something like 20′ long by 10′ wide.

To avoid creating something with a “bowling alley effect,” it’s important to design the space well, and introduce a lot of natural light.

In practice, the most popular uses for the space are a Home Office, Family Room/Den, or Exercise Room.

Regardless, an added fringe benefit of converting a one-car garage is a no-longer-cold-floor in the Bedroom directly above, especially if it’s uncarpeted (i.e., hardwood).

See, “The Trouble With Tuck-Under’s.”

P.S.:  Converting a one-car garage into an extra Bedroom is almost always a mistake:  it’s not private enough.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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