How We Built Our Garage In-Law Suite


My wife and I knew we had to do something rather quickly for the well being off my mother in-law. She needed 24/7 care. She wanted her own space but was unable to take care of herself. Barb (my wife) and I talked it out. We needed a place she could use on the first level of our house.

We had only one place available. It was our attached garage. We decided it was the best to build a garage apartment or Mother in -law suite for Barb’s mom there.

How We Built Our Garage In-Law Suite

We made an entrance door off our laundry area to the single slip of ourGarage conversion picturesgarage. Our garage was deep enough that we built a bedroom, adequate size closet, accessible bathroom with a custom shower, kitchenette and small sitting area. We made the entire space independently tempered by using a self contained electric HVAC system that fit into a small closet space off the kitchenette.

The entire in-law suite fit inside the single car slip of our three car garage. We raised the floor of the in-law suite with wood framing to match the existing finish floor elevation of our home. We used 2×4 wood studs to frame all four perimeter walls. We insulated and dry walled the perimeter walls. Now we had a rectangle of the total square footage for the mother in-law suite.


Next, we installed a drop ceiling across the full dimensions of the mother in-law suite. By framing the interior wall after the drop ceiling it allowed us to easily wire from the top down for all power outlets, switches, coaxial cable for TV, phone lines and monitoring system drops. We utilized a 2×2 drop ceiling. It made the space look larger. The drop ceiling gave us the capability to add or relocate any wiring changes just by lifting a ceiling panel and execute the change.

Garage Conversion picturesWe used can lighting, dimmers and illuminated switches throughout all the rooms.  Illuminated switches help your loved one find the switches easily in the dark.  We even placed an illuminated switch by the bed. This would allow my mother in-law to turn the light on or off in the comfort of her bed.

Our central vacuum system based unit was in the garage. It was very simple to add a port for the mother in-law suite.

We used 3/8” engineered composite wood flooring. It is free floating. It is flexible and easy to install and maintain. We installed a heating outlet in the crawl space. This allowed the heater to keep the floor toasty and warm for bare feet.

My wife’s mother loved here place. She raved about it to any one who would listen. It became her place, her personal space. She liked the temperature set to 80 degrees all the time. That’s ok. That’s what it was for.

Our garage was perfect for her. It was quick, simple, warm, and home. Take a look at the video of our mother in-law’s suite, our garage apartment floor plan, or you can even use our free concept design form to get started on your garage renovation for a mother in law suite!

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About the Author

Tom BillsTom Bills is the President of T. Bills Construction Co. since 1979 and is also the owner of In-LawSuite.com. Tom has completed many commercial, residential, and industrial projects with the highest standard of excellence, honesty, and integrity possible. Read more about Why Tom and his wife Barb started In-LawSuite here. Find him on Facebook and TwitterView all posts by Tom Bills →

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  2. Tom
    Tom01-10-2013

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