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A Garage Converted into a Compact Guest Cottage, Courtesy of Mark Lewis

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A Garage Converted into a Compact Guest Cottage, Courtesy of Mark Lewis

August 22, 2018

London designer Mark Lewis knows how to conjure a world out of empty space: He began his career working on theater sets. So he was the perfect person for the job when a client wanted to transform a charming old garage into a guest room.

Remodelista and Gardenista regulars know we have a weakness for garage makeovers: See, for instance, our own Michelle’s Grottage, Karen Montgomery Spath’s Airy Studio Apartment, and Model Carolyn Murphy’s Painting Retreat. These transformations are a recurring dream come true—the discovered room you never knew you had. Doll-house-like in their appeal, they’re filled with small-space solutions to be remembered and copied. In the case of Lewis’s project, the trickiest part was figuring out how to incorporate a bathroom—while maintaining peace with the neighbors (and, of course, securing a permit from the planning commission). Join us for a look at Lewis’s industrial-rustic results, dustbin WC included.

Photography by Rory Gardiner, courtesy of Mark Lewis Interior Design.

Located in Hampstead, in North London, the garage stands alongside a 05 house that the owners recently inherited and remodeled—they hired Lewis as a consultant midway through that process and gave him free rein over the garage, which has its original terracotta-tiled roof and glazed door with decorative strap hinges.
Above: Located in Hampstead, in North London, the garage stands alongside a 1905 house that the owners recently inherited and remodeled—they hired Lewis as a consultant midway through that process and gave him free rein over the garage, which has its original terracotta-tiled roof and glazed door with decorative strap hinges.

Lewis describes the style as “suburban Edwardian,” and says, “The space was being used for garden storage and junk. It had even been a chemistry lab at one point. It was unloved on the inside but externally in good condition.”

Lewis stripped the interior to reveal the vaulted ceiling (now insulated and plaster-finished), left the old brick exposed, and laid a new floor of reclaimed pine. He placed the bed against the sealed-up garage doors. Shallow wall shelves serve as bedside tables (for something similar, see the Corbin Bernsen Handyman Special.)
Above: Lewis stripped the interior to reveal the vaulted ceiling (now insulated and plaster-finished), left the old brick exposed, and laid a new floor of reclaimed pine. He placed the bed against the sealed-up garage doors. Shallow wall shelves serve as bedside tables (for something similar, see the Corbin Bernsen Handyman Special.)

The space is just under 194 square feet and took six weeks to make over—the door on the left leads to the new loo. Note the wall lighting: It’s electrical conduit with sockets and bulbs from Urban Cottage Industries.

To prevent a draft from blowing through the old doors Lewis insulated the wall behind the bed and added paneling that serves as a headboard. The bedding is from the Conran Shop.
Above: To prevent a draft from blowing through the old doors Lewis insulated the wall behind the bed and added paneling that serves as a headboard. The bedding is from the Conran Shop.

The painted surfaces are all in eco-conscious Earthborn White Claypaint.

In the back of the garage, new curtained French doors serve as the entrance: A short walk across the terrace leads to the main house. The concrete door surround is a detail Lewis also introduced around the bathroom door.
Above: In the back of the garage, new curtained French doors serve as the entrance: A short walk across the terrace leads to the main house. The concrete door surround is a detail Lewis also introduced around the bathroom door.

This half of the room has a flea market desk, a dresser (built to order to get the desired dimensions), and a clothes rack made from industrial hand railing: “It’s thicker than conduit and strong enough to hold heavy things; you can even hang from it.”

Lewis created a DIY coat rack using Jamie Hooks from his own growing line of classic hardware: See Custom Cast-Bronze from Mark Lewis and All in the Details: Mark Lewis&#8
Above: Lewis created a DIY coat rack using Jamie Hooks from his own growing line of classic hardware: See Custom Cast-Bronze from Mark Lewis and All in the Details: Mark Lewis’s New Pantone Hardware.
The space is heated by an old woodstove relocated from a hall in the main house.
Above: The space is heated by an old woodstove relocated from a hall in the main house.
The wall shelf next to the French doors rests on Little Chap L Brackets. The ceramics are from the Conran Shop.
Above: The wall shelf next to the French doors rests on Little Chap L Brackets. The ceramics are from the Conran Shop.
Lewis inserted a bathroom by building a triangular 43-square meter extension onto the side of the garage. It&#8
Above: Lewis inserted a bathroom by building a triangular 43-square meter extension onto the side of the garage. It’s lined with subway tile and neatly fitted out with a custom teak shelf and teak-framed medicine cabinet. The classic sink, toilet, and towel rail were all sourced from Crosswater of London—go to Design Sleuth: The British Cloakroom Basin Tap for a nutshell history of the taps.

The custom under-sink cabinet is also teak with bronze Gareth Pull Handles. Note the use of mixed metals.
Above: The custom under-sink cabinet is also teak with bronze Gareth Pull Handles. Note the use of mixed metals.
The tiny shower—the apex of the triangular floor plan—is reflected in the mirror.  The space is lit by brass bulkhead lights designed for wet conditions; for a similar design, see Davey Lighting&#8
Above: The tiny shower—the apex of the triangular floor plan—is reflected in the mirror.  The space is lit by brass bulkhead lights designed for wet conditions; for a similar design, see Davey Lighting’s Oval Bulkhead Light available from DWR.
It&#8
Above: It’s concise but it works,” says Lewis of the addition. The shower’s Cast Bronze Air Vent is another design from Lewis’s own shop. A high concrete shelf stands ready for toiletries.

The wet room addition is fronted by a tidy garbage shed; both structures are made of sapele wood that will weather to gray. After seeing Lewis&#8
Above: The wet room addition is fronted by a tidy garbage shed; both structures are made of sapele wood that will weather to gray. After seeing Lewis’s plans, the owner of the garage next door granted permission for him to create a party wall (see first photo). In the back, however, Lewis was forced to “tiptoe around another neighbor’s garden fence.”

Here are more Mark Lewis designs (look and you’ll find some favorite repeating elements):

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