Michelle de la Vega purchased a home just outside of Seattle with money from a divorce settlement. However, she wasn’t planning on living in the main house — she was going to transform the 250-sq-ft garage into her personal sanctuary. Her plan was to rent the main house and move into her new “second home” on the property.
“At that time I was coming out of the ashes,” she told The NY Times, “and knew I needed to come up with a good survival strategy for starting over as a single person.”
After nine short months and just $32K in renovations, Michelle’s once old, dingy garage is completely unrecognizable — and quite impressive.
“I was somewhat out of my mind,” she said. “But it was also fantastic. I was hiring, firing and contending with men and their power tools for a good nine months.”
Michelle wanted to keep as much of the original structure intact as possible. However, she raised the frame by four feet to create a sleeping loft.
She replaced the garage doors with beautiful wood french doors; access to the outdoor space makes the home feel much larger than it really is.
Michelle used many second-hand items from local shipyards, steel mills, and the Sea-Tac airport, to construct and decorate her tiny home. The ladder to the sleeping loft was once on a ship.
The storage lockers underneath the loft once belonged to a United Airlines maintenance building at the nearby airport.
“The garage and the elements in it are all defunct, unwanted things that were reclaimed and given new life,” Michelle said. “Given where I was coming from, building it was a deeply redemptive experience.”
The living area is simple and understated with tall ceilings. The sofa doubles as a guest bed and the framed pillows above were part of an art installation Michelle did, in tribute to her father, called ‘Dream House.’
To stay warm on chilly nights, Michelle installed an efficient wood stove surrounded by gorgeous brickwork.
Michelle’s kitchen has a small fridge, sink, exposed shelves, and a propane camp stove that has been converted to gas.
The kitchen sink is actually a vintage janitor’s mop sink.
To the right of the kitchen, Michelle used french doors for the entrance to her bathroom.
The artist’s claw foot tub in her spacious bathroom is what she calls her ‘sanctuary.’
The next view shows just how large the bathroom really is. The sink sits on a steel vanity next to a vintage Thonet chair.
Michelle also made sure to create an outdoor sanctuary as well. Her backyard boasts raised vegetable beds.
You’d never guess Michelle’s beautiful tiny home was once a run-down garage. Take the full tour of her creative space in the video below.
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