Everything You Need to Know About “Granny Flat” Construction

Everything You Need to Know About “Granny Flat” Construction

One of the best ways to gain additional space on your property is through a granny flat construction or remodeling project. Using this smart design option involves converting the home’s garage space into living space, which enhances the value of your home in a cost-effective manner.

Converting a Garage to Living Space

Because a garage often is an open area, it works well for remodeling into living space. You almost have a clean slate with this type of remodel, giving you the ability to create a custom space that has the perfect luxury features to meet your needs. Here are some pros and cons to weigh when remodeling a garage.


Cost Effective Project: One of the biggest advantages of undergoing a garage remodeling project is how cost effective it can be. If you already have the building structure in place and the existing garage is structurally sound, the conversion from garage into a granny flat saves money over a new construction project.

Relaxed Regulations: Remodeling a garage to create living space is a way to create low-income housing, which is one of the reasons the state of California relaxed the requirements and fees to remodel a garage and turn it into a granny flat.

Large Square Footage: A garage is typically a large area, making it ideal for creating two or three rooms that are perfect in a granny flat type of remodeling project. Garages often range from 200 to 500 square feet of floor space. Some even have a second floor or attic-type space that is available too.

Detached Vs. Attached Garage: When remodeling a garage for a granny flat, many people prefer to do the work on a detached garage, because it provides the feel of a separate residence. However, you can remodel an attached garage, too. An experienced designer can use several elements to make the interior of the attached garage look and feel like a separate space.


Eliminating Storage: If you currently use your garage area for storage of gardening equipment, tools, or maybe even your car, you will need a new storage option, such as a standalone shed. However, if you only have a few items that require stowing, our Lars designers can create storage inside the remodeled garage area to accommodate your storage needs.

Requires Waterproofing: Some garages may not have waterproof roofs or sturdy walls and floors, which may add extra expense to your remodeling process. In any case, a home inspector should examine the property for structural integrity.

Adding a Granny Flat to Your Property

If you are adding a new structure to your property, adding a granny flat will allow you to design a separate apartment-style space for a relative, adult child, or to rent out. Granny flat construction can include building a bathroom and kitchen area to go with the living space, creating a separate residence that allows for independent living.


Lower Fees in San Diego: San Diego’s City Council recently passed legislation that greatly reduces the price of city permit and service fees for granny flat constructions. San Diego’s city fees for this type of construction were among the highest in California prior to this change.

Option to Add Natural Light: If your goal is to create a living space that feels like its own entity, add windows to provide natural light like what you’d expect in a primary residence.

Starting from Scratch: If you don’t already have a garage on your property, or if you don’t want to give up your car’s storage area, start with a new construction for the granny flat. Although this will cost a bit more than remodeling an existing garage, some people prefer the idea of starting from scratch for their granny flat. It gives the opportunity to come up with the exact design features and living space they want.

Eliminating an Old Garage: In some cases, depending on the age and condition of the existing garage, a new construction may work better. Have a home inspector and architect look at the space early in the project to determine the viability of the old garage, which will help you determine whether remodeling the existing structure or tearing it down and putting up new walls for the granny flat will be more cost effective over time.


Watch for Clearance Space: Headroom can be a significant concern if you will be raising the floor as part of the remodeling to match the floor height of the existing house, such as you may have to do when remodeling an attached garage. If you need to drop the ceiling for plumbing, electrical, or air vents, in addition to raising the floor level, headroom can be a concern too.

Permitting Costs: Even though some fees have been relaxed, you still will need to spend some money on permitting, as you need to follow local rules and regulations regarding construction projects.

Hiring the Right Designers

Hiring the right design firm will ensure you’re making the most of your granny flat. At Lars Remodel & Design, we specialize in delivering exactly what our clients want. Our team of designers, architects, and builders will figure out the best areas for plumbing, electrical outlets, and appliances, yielding a layout that will meet your needs, while enhancing the value of the property.

Ultimately, Lars Remodeling & Design has the skills and expertise for any type of redesign project – including granny flat projects – you have in the works in the San Diego area. You can count on our excellent communications skills to ensure we’ll take your ideas and make them a reality.