Workshop – before and after

Over a month ago, I shared the makings of the California workshop.¬† Time really flies when you’re knee deep in a renovating half of your house. But before we dive into the details of that makeover, I wanted to share the finished workshop along with some before pictures because those are always my favorite.

I condensed A LOT of our house hunt into one post, but one thing I didn’t mention was all of the time I spent visiting open houses and touring with our realtor solo. It helped us to get a feel for the features we could expect in a home in this region. By the end of the search, I could basically look at the garage first and backyard second and tell you if we would be interested. One of the items we added to the “nice to have” list after seeing it in a lot of garages was a loft space for extra wood storage, which we were lucky enough to get in this space.

One thing that makes this space so ideal for Aaron’s shop is the garage door (and the nice weather), which basically allows an instant extension for cutting long items.

I love seeing how Aaron made this space work by putting smart storage throughout, including building a revamped miter saw table (the original was too big to move out of the firehouse) that houses the compressor and hanging drill storage.

So the workshop is done! … and currently filled to the brim with Ikea cabinets and assorted other kitchen pieces. I promise it won’t be another 30 days before I bring you up to speed on all the work going on.

Workshop: California edition

A few weeks ago, Facebook shared a memory in which I posted a blog and basically said “we did this project, but the workshop is up next.” It made me laugh because that seemed to be a mantra at the firehouse for many years. “We did this! Next up: Workshop.” When we finally made it to the workshop and finished it off, it inadvertently turned out to be the last space we finished under the assumption that firehouse was our forever home.

In our SoCal ranch, the workshop actually claimed the first spot on our renovation list. I’d like to say that we learned a lesson by waiting so long to tackle it at the firehouse, but the truth is that this house is much smaller. We couldn’t wait to get all the workshop stuff into the workshop (and out of our front living room).

So let’s take a closer look at the original space. We bought a slightly oversized two car garage with a lot of built-ins. The previous owner was a carpenter, which is evident in the work he did throughout the house and in the workshop he built for himself.

The garage has a window looking onto the front yard, which is great for light and ventilation. The loft space is also a perk as it’s a nice spot to store wood and other supplies.

The door in the back leads to the side of the house. There’s no direct access from the house to the garage, but that works for our needs. Heading out that door leads to a walkway that is bordered by three huge sheds. They offer a ton of additional storage, leaving plenty of floor space for tools.

We also love that it is a Dutch door. Leaving the top half open allows for extra ventilation while keeping an inquiring Great Dane safely out of the space. Hank is tall enough to see over the bottom half of the door, but can’t join in the fun. The louder and more dangerous the tool, the more interested Hank is in it.

The water heater is also in the garage (behind the white door in the photo below), but thankfully the laundry area is inside. Garage laundry is very popular in SoCal, but we knew that wouldn’t work for us. Besides the fact that I’m not keen on doing laundry in an active workshop, having those appliances in the space would take up valuable room for freestanding tools.

The first task for this space was one we couldn’t DIY: asbestos abatement. We snagged a bit of the popcorn ceiling to test when we did inspections, and it came back positive for asbestos. That’s not surprising considering the age of the home. Luckily the ceilings in the rest of the house have already been scraped, so we only needed to pay for this small section to be taken care of. Once we got the all clear, Aaron got to work. While we love that he is taking over a workshop from a fellow craftsman, Aaron didn’t need any of the existing cabinets.

The drywall was in pretty rough shape. Rather than expend the time and effort to replace the drywall, Aaron opted to cover the walls with 4″ pine shiplap.

We very briefly considered leaving the pine in its natural state, but our natural tendencies won out. The walls and ceiling got a coat of white paint.

Before/after comparisons are my fave. Here are a few

Boom! Seriously, white paint is the best.

From retro garage workspace…

to uber modern workshop.


to clean!

Next up, we tackled the floors. We used the same product as in the firehouse workshop: Rustoleum’s EPOXYSHIELD in gray gloss (minus the flecks included in the package, because simple floors > flecked floors). Two coats + the recommended cure time and we were ready to move in the big tools.

Aaron tackled hanging lights, installing dust collection (just like¬†what he did in the original space), building tables for a few saws and organizing in between his trips back to St. Louis for fall weddings. I’ll share some final photos in the next post and then we need to bring you up to speed on ALL the changes going on in house. I’ve been sharing some sneak peeks on Instagram, but I’m excited to break down everything we’re tackling to transform our kitchen, living, dining and (NEW!) laundry rooms.