Small Mother-In-Law Space Design

mirucaFebruary 3, 2013

Looing for efficient design ideas for above garage mother-in-law/guest space. Fairly small at 22 x 19 it needs to include a small bathroom with shower and a kitchenette. It has sliding doors to a small balconey on one wall, and six ft wide window on another wall. As shown below, it backs up to the master bath and laundry area. All ideas welcome!

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Annie Deighnaugh

What do you need in the kitchenette? Will a small sink MW and mini fridge do?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:00AM
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I liked the idea of this murphy bed when I saw it in a garage apartment. She may not want to deal with the murphy bed but putting the bed in a niche with closets on either side seemed to be a good use of space to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garage apartment

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Your space may be a bit small for a 3-fixture toilet, a counter-top kitchen, clothes closet and room for sitting/working during the day, watching TV and sleeping. Can you enlarge the area somewhat?

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Above a garage isn't the best place for something like that. Ground floor space, with wider doors and a handicap accessible bath are what is needed today in order to be able to call it a MIL quarters. Storage spec'd trusses and poorly climate maintained space over the garage is best relegated to storage or a kids playroom at most. Unless you're willing to do a lot more than add in a kitchenette.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:28AM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

How about this. On the wall behind existing BR--Shower the width of the room, up against outside wall (hall?). This gives a big enough shower to allow someone to assist her if needed at some point. Basic vanity and toilet set-up. Next on wall would be a walk-in closet approximately 6 ft wide. This leaves 4-5 ft left for a mini-kitchen of sink, fridge, m-wave.

The rest of the room has space for her bed, a chair in the corner between window and door.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Assuming that you initially planned the space for this and so the garage has sufficient insulation and structural support... What kind of use do *you* anticipate for the space? If it's for a guest (who might eat with you 99.9% of time) versus a relative living with you (and would they eat with you 25% of the time? 50% of the time?) versus an au pair versus a renter - there are going to be very different demands on the space.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Thanks for the ideas and questions!

Really like the murphy bed setup - thanks Athensmomof3.

Rnmomof2- I was thinking along similar lines - will try to draw that out.

In response to some of the questions or other comments:

The space will be used for long term visits from healthy in-laws (ie up to months at a time). They will need private bath, a place to make coffee or a simple meal(ie frig, micro, cooktop),a place to store clothes, a sitting area, and a place to sleep. It will allow the option of away time and privacy.

The space is what it is - the location and size are a result of a cost compromise, it will have structual support and adequate insulation. At the point that handicap care may be needed, other choices will be made.

Any creative ideas on this space are appreciated!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:39PM
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This is the voice of experience: Even if you insulate it well, a bedroom over the garage WILL be bothered by the sound of the garage door opener! This may not be an issue if you don't leave early in the morning or come home late at night. However, if you do, you'll be waking your guest, unless s/he is a very sound sleeper.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:27PM
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The intersection of your dimension lines forms a rectangle that abuts the master bath. I would build a wall there to separate space for bath and closet -- bath accessed from entry hallway, and closet accessed from entrance near the sliders to the balcony. Depending on views, I'd probably put bed on (new) wall, facing window, with seating near the window. I don't think I'd include a cooktop, but I would try to hide the kitchenette in an armoire or similar.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:15AM
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mjb - hiding kitchenette is a concept I had not thought of! Thank you.

chibimimi - too late ... I guess some people will be waking up early. They're retired ... they can go back to sleep if they want :). It's more likely thought that the kids will them up long before the garage door least that is the plan.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:06AM
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miruca, I really don't have any suggestions to add. But, wanted to let you know that our daughter and her husband, finished their "bonus area" above their 3-car garage as a guest area several months ago. I don't know the dimensions, but it is larger than your area. They have two small bedrooms (one has a queen bed with dresser and decent closet; other has a twin bed with a smaller closet); full bath with a linen closet inside; large family room area with large TV; and a kitchenette with bar and 4 barstools!

We travel down there frequently as we will be building on property next to them this year. We absolutely LOVE having our own space now when we visit. And, this is in all likelihood where we will be living once we sell our present home and build the new one. We are retired and early risers. The grandkids love to come visit us as soon as they get up in the morning. We have our own coffee maker up there, sink, microwave, and an undercounter fridge. All the comforts of home and more. And, while yes we can hear the garage doors open and close, but that's never been a problem for us. :-) Good luck on your project!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Thanks Hoosierbred! Sounds like fun - I wish we could do a three car garage ... that would be perfect.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:21AM
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Miruca, we are doing an in-law/guest suite down in our basement. With a balcony, i think your space will be quite nice. And maybe because all of the homes in my area are so small, your above garage room of 20x20 seems quite spacious to me.

For our space, we put in a bath with a curbless shower. The bath is about 8x8 and feels quite roomy. We also made a small 8 foot long kitchenette area. We put in a full size dishwasher and apartment fridge, then undercounter microwave, and an 18" sink. I also plan to buy a portable one-burner induction cooktop for boiling water, cooking simple meals if our guests so desire. For closet space, we did a 2x6 closet with double doors, so everything is accessible.
i think you can get lots of inspiration from looking at the floorplans from extended stay hotels like Homewood suites or Marriott Residence Inn. these hotels spend a lot of money on designers who can fit in a lot in a small space, so it is quite doable and cozy.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:59AM
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michoumonster - thanks for your comments -they give me hope that this MIL space will work out fine. I was especially glad for the 8ft kitchenette description - and was amazed a full size dishwasher fit in.

I've played around with some options and think "simplicity" will rule - ie keep all the plumbing along the one wall ... perhaps a 9' x 5 bath and a 9' kitchenette, some IKEA type closets that could be moved if so desired, and mostly open space.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:05AM
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miruca, 8 feet just fits everything in for me. my kitchenette layout is 24" for full-size fridge/freezer, 30" cab for storing undercab microwave, 18" cab for small sink and garbage disposer, 24" for dishwasher. I also have uppers all across for dishes, etc..

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:02PM
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I would put my 5' x 9' bathroom right behind the master. That leaves room along that wall behind your tub for a closet. Back the bed up against the bathroom wall and it will have a view to the balcony. A TV can go along the bottom left corner. Put your kitchen wall against the right side of the room. There will probably even be room for a bistro table or a comfy chair.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:54PM
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