Couple Moves Out of Home, Into Converted Garage That's Even Better!

As the original post read, "Downsizing never felt so good! Our old house will be on the market soon!" Jessica and Joe would embark on a journey that would end in an unlikely living quarters that would pan out better than could be expected.

In a blog post over on Woodworthswood, Jessica recalled her inspiration for the home. She cited a trip to Costa Rica in which she stayed in a small house that she called "Amazing." While simple, the home inspired her to look for land near her home in Athens, Georgia. She would eventually land on a plot spanning 9 acres to start the build.

When all was said and done, the project structure was as follows. The idea was to put together the 30x45 home (1250 sqft), complete with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a 5 week time frame. Oh yeah, the best part, perhaps, is that the construction was to be done on a budget of $50,000 (Add in another $20k (estimated) or so if the structure isn't already existing). The plot with the barn tallied up a $70,000 price tag, putting the total target budget at $120,000.

A background as a regional property manager would help Jessica extensively with the build. Here experience contributed to the ability to plan, design, and contract without a licensed general contractor.

She says that the goals of the build were to take the existing shell and convert it into a home that was maintenance free and efficient as possible. Coming from a bigger and fancier home, some downsizing would need to be done. However, Jessica was convinced that living in a big home isn't all that it's cracked up to be so she got to work.

When all was said and done, the $50,000 build budget was pretty close to being met. Jessica does recall that she went slightly over due to additions like fencing, furnishings, and an additional storage building.

The 5 week time budget was a success, though. This means that the home was able to come together much quicker than new construction would have.

Unique Features

Living in a former barn would certainly call for a couple of unique touches. Some of these were to make the most of available space and others were due to the unique nature of the structure. All in all, though, most of these things simply make sense.

For starters, with a building like this, it comes with a roll up door. Now, the door could be sealed off or permanently closed or sealed off but Jessica got to repurposing. Some might be confused by the TV in the foyer but when the door is opened, it reveals a much bigger entertaining area that can be useful to help expand floor space for entertaining.

The home also features some interesting uses of space. Some of our favorite include unique dish and kitchen tool storage. Keeping things out of sight while also usable can be a challenge sometimes but this home really makes the most of creative storage solutions.

Another feature that we found interesting is a storage shelf that doubles as a door. It might seem simple but these are the small touches that can make an area much more usable. Besides, pretending to be James Bond when you open up your shelf into another room is probably a pretty awesome party trick as well!

While the home is said to be a bit of a downsize, it still has 9 ft ceilings in the bedrooms and bathrooms along with a 13 ft ceiling in the main living area.

The couple also built a 14x14 deck outside and a storage building just in case there was a bit of overflow from the house.

Jessica and Joe laid the LVP flooring themselves, installed the doors and trim, added built-ins and some other random tasks. While it might be a good idea to hire out for some jobs, there are definitely others that just need a bit of elbow grease to conquer. 

With the help of friends and family, they also conquered projects like the kitchen backsplash and foyer tile.

For someone looking to take on such a project, Jessica recommends to "Make sure you are good at math, look ahead when you are doing anything at how it will effect the next part of the project. Flooring is the main one I am referring to. Plan on the furthest part and run the flooring seamlessly. Make Pinterest boards and shop at surplus stores, hunt for scratch and dent deals, and do as much as you can yourself!"

Sound advice, if you ask us!

Plans are available for $150 directly from the owner by emailing her at

Oh yeah and last but not least and perhaps the most impressive part... Here's what the home looked like when the project began.

Also, check out more photos here:

Posted by Jessica Joe-Sims on Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Ridiculous Real Estate is not affiliated with this builder or responsible for the content of these plans or any communications.