Eco Friendly Garage to Utility Room Conversion – Part One
Welcome, here I continue to share the renovation of our barn conversion. I’d intended to start blogging about our renovation sooner but things have been so busy here I’m playing catch up, I hope you enjoy what I share of our renovation journey and find some inspiration along the way.
2 years ago we moved into our barn conversion mews, which was previously owned by an elderly lady, we had our hands full, pastel carpets, floral window dressings, dark beams, ancient radiators and poor lighting being some of the obstacles. Having transformed the property over the past two and a bit years I decided that converting part of our large garage into a utility room would be a great way of creating an extra usable room. With existing access to the garage from the open plan kitchen/living space the plan made perfect sense.
The garage is currently used for storage, I don’t know about you but the more space I have the more I seem to collect, this project will make me have a much needed clear out and minimise the space available for future hoarding! Since we moved in I’ve held onto lots of things incase we needed them for the renovation, this project will give me the chance to clear out anything that hasn’t/won’t be needed whilst also considering how I can use things we already have to create the new space.
With increased focus on sustainability and eco friendly choices within the interior design world I knew that this project was the perfect opportunity me to create an eco friendly space and perhaps inspire others to do the same.
Here I share with you the plans I have for the space.
Things I’ll need to do/consider before we start planning our eco friendly space:
- Work out how much room we wanted to use as utility and how much would be retained for storage.
- What items in the garage are to be kept, donated, sold, used to create the new space.
- If I need to use new, what are the eco credentials of the products/brands we choose.
- How do we want to use the space.
- How will I ensure that the decor will complement that in the rest of the property.
- Research eco friendly design choices.
I want the space to have a very natural feel and a sense of light, with this in mind I’ll be including natural quartz, wood, wicker, plants as well as a mural with a faux window design. I found a really cool mural at Rebel Walls, their Perspective Manor Mural which is perfect for the windowless space in that the faux windows will give a feeling of light, the distressed walls on the mural give it a really cool vintage look too that will perfectly compliment the other natural materials used in the space.
Here are some beautiful images found on Pinterest which have inspired some of my design choices for the space:
Another inspiration for the space in the home of Louisa Grace Interiors last year Claire and Jamie McFadyen created the most beautiful light filled open plan kitchen, using mostly salvaged and antique items, they’ve created the most beautiful space, many items similar to those incorporated into the space are available on their website.
I’ve long been a fan of all things Indian, picking up vintage chapati rollers, tin advertising signs, textiles and other Indian pieces over the years, I love the colours, lived in feel of the pieces and the craftsmanship which are imbedded in their culture. Buying vintage and pre loved items rather than new is a great way of reusing items with a past life and saving them from landfill, I prefer to avoid the mass produced in favour of vintage, pre loved and artisan products. Whilst researching for this post I came across a couple of independent UK brands who are working with artisans in India to create pieces sold here in the UK. Kerei Home sell artisan furniture and accessories, many of which are exquisite hand-carved pieces made from older antique pieces, such a great way of recycling older unused pieces into something new, usable and desirable. Their collection of smaller accessories such as chakis (round wooden grinding tables), water pots and mirrors, all with a beautiful aged patina are super practical pieces for the home.
Another brand I discovered is Bombay Sprout, based in Norfolk owner Zara sources stunning textiles, accessories and art for her shop in Burnham Market. Zara is incredibly passionate about India and has been inspired by century old traditions and designs, her rug designs add a contemporary twist by using fresh colours, new designs and metallic threads.
Bombay Sprout’s Moto is “made slow, to live long”. Zara adds that ” all over the world, artisans are coming under threat from mass production and we want to create a sanctuary for artisans, valuing slow production over fast, the human hand over machine and natural materials over the synthetic”. Such a refreshing approach.
How will the space be used
Since moving in the washing machine has been in the garage, as has an old fridge and freezer, the garage is like most, concrete floor and bare breeze block walls, not the ideal space to be doing the laundry and storing food. I wanted a clean space where I could do the laundry, including a sink for hand washing if possible as well as a home for a fridge freezer.
The bonus of adding the additional space will hopefully be an increase in the house’s value (not the main reason for the project, but certainly an added bonus). I read that a utility room is a consideration for many when looking for a new property.
The storage space in the garage would be used to store things like left over paint and tiles, a bicycle and garden tools and is also where the boiler and the consumer unit are housed. I have an old pine dresser which will be used for storage in there and will consider hanging extra shelves if necessary.
I’ve been considering switching to eco friendly products for some time and whilst researching for this blog thought it was the perfect time for me to see what is available on the market. There are lots of brands widely available from the supermarket chains such as Method and Cover, but it’s the products available from online lifestyle store RE which really caught my eye. RE’s cleaning section on their online shop features some great products including mineral salt dishwasher powder, ostrich feather and wood feather dusters, UK manufactured laundry bags and naturally perfumed Lanza laundry and household soap. As you’ll see below, they also look great (always a bonus).
Due to an error on the worktop company’s part when they delivered our kitchen worktops we already have some white quartz worktops for the project. This has been a huge saving and whilst the error was very annoying at the time I’m very grateful that we are able to reuse the quartz for this project. If you’re considering doing something similar you can often find second hand kitchen worktops on both Facebook Marketplace and GumTree. Salvage yards are often great hunting grounds too.
We removed a couple of doors when we created our open plan kitchen/living space. One of our neighbours bought one from us but thankfully I held onto the other, which will be used to access the front of the garage from the utility, fitting it to a barn door slider, which will be a great space saver as the door won’t open into either the new space or the garage beyond.
I will need a small amount of base units as well as a Belfast sink. Rather than buying new I will be on the look out for pre owned, slight seconds, vintage or ex display. Luckily as there is nothing else in the space at present I’ll be able to design the layout based on the cabinets I am able to source, which makes the search a little easier.
I wanted some open shelving rather than wall cupboards, which I thought would close in the space. I picked up a couple of second hand Ikea floating shelves from the village selling site on Facebook, they’ve seen better days but I plan to revamp them and give them a whole new look. I use the village selling site myself to either give away or sell unwanted items, I would always prefer to do this or donate items to charity rather than visiting the local tip.
Trades will be briefed about the eco friendly nature of the project. I’ll be doing my research and discussing eco friendly materials and methods with them to preempt issues and find solutions wherever possible.
I’m not naieve enough to think that every item I use in the project will be reused, recycled, vintage or repurposed, where I do have to use new materials I will be considering the environmental impact of products, energy efficiency of appliances and environmental policies of brands. I will also as always be looking to support independent and local businesses.
Thanks for stopping by, I can’t wait to share part two of this post with you once the project is complete. Follow me on Instagram here to follow the journey on my feed and stories.
If you liked this post or have any questions please do leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.