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Collection by Kelly Dawson

A Dilapidated Garage Transformed Into a Small Modern Cottage

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An architect builds a 432-square-foot dwelling behind his home.

Architect Eric Haesloop and his wife were longtime residents of their century-old Berkeley, California house when an idea for a renovation arose. On the far end of their property, in the sunniest section of the backyard, sat a garage that Haesloop remembers being “just about ready to fall down.” Haesloop wanted to make better use of his land and he thought about rebuilding the site into a stand-alone cottage. His architecture firm Turnbull Griffin Haesloop started by recycling the garage, and then built a modern, energy-efficient structure in its place. “The new cottage goes across the back edge of the yard, and with the vine-covered wall, it provides a wonderful backdrop for the garden and complete privacy for the cottage,” he said. UC Berkeley students have been renting the space since its completion—a Swedish couple followed by a current post-graduate—and Haesloop said that the space is also open to his kids after they finish college. But, that’s another idea.

Set on the far end of the original home’s backyard, the new cottage’s exterior is made of SIPs, or structurally...
“The garage was in bad shape and in the sunniest part of the yard,” Haesloop said.
“We were looking to get a much larger sense of space by keeping the volume generous and pulling the landscape views...
Reclaimed white oak from Arborica was also used to create the dining table, which stands courtesy of Modern Legs.
Benjamin Moore’s Mountain Peak White shade was painted throughout the cottage.
Steepside Fog tiles by American Slate cover the bathroom floor.
As in the living room and kitchen, the cottage’s sole bedroom features linens from IKEA.
“We have lived on the property for many years and decided this could improve the overall site plan and would provide a...
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