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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

12:30 am
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Howdy all –

I’d like to enlist your help.  We’re converting a workshop we have into a small apartment for guests or a rental.  I have a general idea of what I think I’d like, and I’ve put together one sample floor plan, but I’d like to get more ideas before we start construction.  If you have any suggestions, big or small (examples might include types of recessed lighting, all-in-one-laundry-units, surround sound speaker wiring), please provide.

First, here’s the space we’re starting with:

01 bare-walls

It’s a 24×24 area with two doors, and two windows.  The door at the top opens up into a 2-car garage.  The structure has metal R-panels with a concrete floor.  We already figured drywall / sheet rock with a 6″ or so area since the metal girders give us that much room.  We’ll probably get blown-in insulation for efficiency.  We have to add water, septic, HVAC and more electrical.

The graphic lists our main wants (click to open a larger version) – we want the primary use for 1-2 adults to be able to comfortably live there, with a secondary use of at least 12 people being hosted for movie night, gaming night, maybe a presentation or class or something.

The first draft I did identified areas that would work for us:

02 bare-walls-with-definition

Some of the reasons I did it this way –

  1. I probably would want all the water on just one side of the room since all plumbing would be new.
  2. I didn’t want an actual enclosed bedroom, as that would take away from the secondary use of a lot of people being able to see the TV.
  3. The kitchen sink should probably be centered in front of a window.

As we thought further, I went ahead and put together a draft of the floor plan that might work.  This shows the Murphy bed down, but most of the time, it would be packed up into the wall. (update: revised from original based on Ren’s comment about dining table)

03 normal-home-mode-bed-down rev 2

Here are our thoughts so far:

  1. When 1-2 people are living there, the bed can stay down all the time. If no-one is staying there, or we’re hosting a larger group, the bed can flip up into the wall.
  2. One option is when the bed flips up, there’s a seating section that is left over, like a couch or pair of seats.  It might be too expensive, but there are other options as well.
  3. We plan on the Murphy bed having storage and cabinets around it.  Take a look at valetcustom’s options, particularly this one.  Unfortunately that company only services one far away city so I’ll have to find other options.  But those pages show the idea.
  4. Plenty of room to entertain if needed with the chairs around the kitchen island in either case.  The kitchen island also serves as the main dining table.
  5. Someone (possibly me) can home office at the desk area.
  6. Closet has enough room for hanging things as well as shelving, cubbies or other storage space.  Closet also doubles as extra soundproofing for bathroom.  Might put in all-in-one washer-dryer unit in the closet.
  7. We plan on using tankless water heater since A) the place won’t be used much and B) seems a lot more efficient not only for electricity but also space.
  8. Kitchen has a fridge, dishwasher, garbage disposal, pantry and also cabinets over the counters.
  9. Large open area makes it flexible for sleepovers, extra tables, and lots of other options.
  10. For HVAC, I’m considering the ductless kind but I’ve never used them.
  11. We’re thinking two ceiling fans – since the ceilings are 9″ high in the middle, but only 8’4″ at the sides, not sure if we have to put them in the middle.  Maybe ceiling fans with lights, and then extra light over the sink and the desk?
  12. Both the bathroom and the closet could grow a foot or two deeper if needed.  The bathroom as designed above is 5×8.  I had this type of bathroom in mind.

With a movable couch, we can bring in chairs as needed and pack in quite a number of people.  The configuration below could hold ~20 people: (update: revised from original based on Ren’s comment about dining table)

04 group-hosting-mode-20ppl rev 2

Now it’s your turn.  What would you suggest I consider for this guest space?  All suggestions or reminders are welcome.  If you’d like the source Visio file, you can get it here.



And lo, the people did comment thus:


  1. Ren says:

    My only concern is that the island seems too small for using as a dining table.

    • whall says:

      That’s a good point, and we may grow the island to expand into the open area a bit. I can see now from my estimation that the stove range really is dominating that island, and people should have more space to eat. I have revised it and will update the blog post.
      PS: “dining table” is probably too strong a word for our actual requirement. We really only need space for 1-2 people for the vast majority of time.
      PPS: This small exercise made me realize I’m missing an oven. I need to decide if I really want one, though.

    • whall says:

      Also, this new revised plan based on your suggestion makes it easier for a couple people to play cards.

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