A few years ago, SHED Architecture & Design was approached to remodel a decrepit, standalone garage in Seattle that seemed beyond salvation. Built in the 1920s, the 320-square-foot space was coated in decades of grease and oil from serving as an auto repair shop. Even worse, it sagged and leaned on rotted wooden posts. “It had a dark and creepy vibe,” principal architect Thomas Schaer recalls. “A northwest tremor could have easily toppled it.”
But Schaer saw potential. Beneath the grime laid attractive beadboard walls. Recognizing its promise, the architect embarked on an ambitious design-build project. He reclaimed materials from local construction sites over the next three summers to minimize costs, and installed old-fashioned woodwork to preserve the garage’s nostalgic feel. “We sought to interweave new and old so that one wouldn’t quite know where the old stopped and the new began,” the architect explains. At a rough cost of $35,000 (excluding labor), the owners now possess a charming, energy-efficient rental that can stand on its own two feet.