When Tom and I first spotted our 1928 cottage, the little garage with its dramatic hip roof in multicolored slate instantly intrigued me. After touring the house, I rushed outside to check it out.What a disappointment! The garage’s interior was dark, dreary, dingy and damp. It needed a lot of work, but deep down I saw potential. One day we’ll fix it up, make it usable. BTW, the door opening was so tight, maneuvering a vehicle in or out meant risking scratches or dents.

Last year when we decided to close our shop (where I had been meeting with design clients), we decided to convert the garage into an office for me. Being detached from our home, it was perfect as a place where I could professionally meet with clients. I didn’t want to have an office in a basement, spare bedroom or attic in the house and have people pass through our personal spaces. The square footage was also roomy enough to hold my library of decor and garden books, fabrics, paint boards, files, etc. It would be a fabulous studio.

I’m pleased to share the renovation!

Above is the architect’s 1928 sketch of our cottage, which gives a good birds-eye view of our property – house, garage and courtyard. We recently built a new 11′ x 18′ potting shed (shown below) at the end of the courtyard, centered on the entry gate. Read more about the potting shed in this post.

Here is the exterior of the studio today. We are in the process of planting the pots in the courtyard. Be sure to follow along on my INSTAGRAM to see photos of the garden.

Let’s check out the garage before renovation. It was an unfinished and unconditioned space full of unwanted squatters. We discovered a family of raccoons living in the storage loft – they were quite reluctant to be evicted!


The first thing we did was remove the loft, aka raccoon den. Then we replaced the rotted rafter beams, updated the electrical power, and insulated. The double carriage doors, originally hung just inside the garage’s entry niche, were rehung further out – this created an interior sitting nook. We did change out the side door plus two windows.

Radiant heating was installed at the same time the concrete floor was leveled (there was a 12″ slope from front to back). For supplemental heating, a mini split unit (heat plus AC) was added. Over the newly leveled floor, we laid flagstone pavers. Next drywall was brought in, and finally all the surfaces painted.Here is the completed space – welcome!

I now have a bright, airy design office fitted with custom built-in desk, cabinets and shelves to suit my needs. Vintage finds and lots of wicker add period charm that’s in keeping with our cottage’s character. Industrial style lighting and accessories give the space a utilitarian vibe, and hint to the studio’s origin as a garage.  
Speaking of lights, I LOVE my Barn Light Electric fixtures! They have that warehouse look and industrial spirit that I wanted. As a bonus, they were all customizable (colors, sizes, shades, cords, glass guards), which allowed me to put together the perfect lighting to complement the studio’s design. Click on these links for more info on the fixtures:Rochester Vintage Industrial Cord Hung Pendants
Houston Street SoHo Sconces
Atomic Topless Double Industrial Guard Sconce

It was really fun selecting all of the options such as the vintage inspired black and white cord (below) and ribbed glass guard. 

My collection of antique salt glazed pottery found a new home here. I always try to incorporate personal objects wherever I can. Plus I didn’t want to keep books on the top shelves as they would be too difficult to access.


To stay organized, I used galvanized metal cups and trays of various sizes. BTW, the black computer cord has been changed to a white cord 😉

An old 10′ long farm table allows me to spread out oversized architectural renderings / floorplans. I also lay out fabric selections on it. The table’s wood patina adds such warmth.
I have a sizable fabric library, and store the memos, by color, in baskets within baskets. Those oversized baskets got to be quite heavy, so Tom installed wheels for me to slide them back and forth effortlessly. Isn’t Tom the best?

Flanking the vintage wicker settee are more shelves for books. Most of my art, decor and garden books are kept here now. When we downsized, I donated many of them to our local library. 

Over the settee is the Atomic Topless Double Industrial Guard Sconce from Barn Light Electric. It can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. 

The seat fabric on the wicker settee and chairs is Nitik II by Quadrille. I’ve used this fabulous print on pillows as well. It’s a favorite of mine! Check out all of the beautiful fabrics at Quadrille.


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my new design studio. If you have a question, do leave a comment at the end of this post. If you need help with your interiors and / or gardens, please feel free to email me at info@tone-on-tone.com .Cheers,

Source List
Paint color (walls and trim): Benjamin Moore Simply White
Lighting: Barn Light Electric
Wicker furniture: Vintage
Wicker seat fabric: Quadrille
Velvet pillows: Room and Board
Blanket chest: Antique
Farm table: Antique
Artwork: Antique 
Area rug: Rejuvenation
Oversized baskets: Waterworks