Family converts garage into a fully functional tiny house for grandma so she can live close

Finding inspiration in his home state of Oregon–the epicenter of the tiny house movement–Martin Brown found a creative solution to help his mother-in-law, who wanted to live closer to her new grandson.

Brown and his wife, first-time parents, were happy to have some support with raising Sebastien, but grandma didn’t have the money to move or get a place of her own.

Though it seemed like a massive problem at the time, Martin, who’s very resourceful, came up with a plan to bring the family together.

Keep reading to see what Brown did to bring his mother-in-law closer to his home!

When Martin Brown moved to a cozy home in Mount Tabor, Oregon, he knew it was the perfect place to start a family.

After welcoming son Sebastien, the family was about to grow bigger with the addition of his mother-in-law, who wanted to be closer to her new grandson.

But instead of moving her in, he found a way to move her outside.

The area, known to be a hot spot for designers, builders, and residents who are dedicated to the tiny house movement, served as inspiration to the new dad.

The detached garage on the property, which was only used to store old, unused items, was the perfect place to convert into a tiny bungalow.

Wanting to keep original elements in place, Brown spent over one year planning the rebuild of the 1920s structure before construction could start on the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

An ADU is a separate tiny housing unit–either beside or attached to the primary home–found on a family residential lot.

Executing his design plans through 2007, Brown built a gorgeous little unit for his mother-in-law.

The durable concrete flooring from the garage remained in place, giving it an industrial but cozy look. And because the place is small, Brown purposely didn’t install windows on the walls of the house to allow his mother-in-law some privacy from the main residence and neighbors. Instead, the home features large glass double doors and skylights to bring beams of natural light into the space.

The little house, that’s lined with planters and a walkway, is furnished in a way that allows the woman to live independently, but also close enough that she can visit any time.

The 440 square-foot cottage was built in six months and cost $73,000 to build.

Inside, Brown added a sofa bed that can be used by guests who are visiting, or as a comfortable seat next to the warm fireplace. And after a busy day of chasing around Sebastien, the grandmother can walk a few steps to the loft bedroom that fits a queen-sized bed and a reading nook.

The kitchen is functional with a full-sized fridge, a two-stove burner, and a single sink, so she can cook and clean as she needs. Though there are no cabinets, the home features plenty of easy to reach shelf space, and hanging racks for pots, pans, plates, and other items.

There’s also a single bathroom so grandma doesn’t have to use the one in the main home.

Years later, his brilliant build is still creating a lot of buzz with parents and grandparents around the world.

“I’m in the UK. I converted my garage into a single storey dwelling in my back garden for my Mum. She’s been living there for 5 years now and loving life at 93,” writes one, while a second adds, “Living apart is also a good thing. They are used to their own way of life doing things they enjoyed doing the things they were familiar with.”

A third shares, “I too would prefer to have my own space if I were still able, up and about.”

A netizen, who did something similar comments with a description of their converted garage: “We added on to our detached garage for my mom. separate spaces. We figure later on one of our kids can ‘rent it’ later if they get married and want to save up or test the waters of independence or we can live there if one of our kids wants the house we are in now…”

Another cyber user suggested Brown’s idea could impact the future of housing.

“For double-wide lots, this could make a big difference for future housing availability,” he writes.

What a great idea to convert the garage into a cute and cozy tiny home! Now grandma is right there to babysit and Brown and his wife can keep an eye on her as she ages. As a parent, or a grandparent, what do you think of this idea?