Converting a Garage into a Cottage

Converting a  Garage into a Cottage


William Edward Summers


In the world of affordable housing a garage converted into a cottage is among the top five inexpensive dwellings. Online design firm has created a ready to use immediate download of plans for a 20 x 24 foot garage with conversion to cottage plans.

The process for this type of project is favorable because the initial building, the garage, is one of the easiest buildings for which to get building permit, and is very simple to cost estimate. Later after building the garage, a second set of plans required to convert the garage into a dwelling are also simple and can easily obtain a building permit.

It is surprising to see how a comfortable and viable one bedroom house can be made out of a 20’ x 24’ basic garage. If attic trusses are used for the roof an additional standing room attic can also be created.

Building a garage then converting it into a little house is pretty much the most risk-free positive cash flow project that can be cheaply built. It also is a dream first house to build from scratch. If a low cost lot can be obtained, the house can be built for the price of a high mid-level car.

This project contains two plans: One for a basic 20’ x 24’ garage. The second plan is the plan package for converting the garage into a one bedroom cottage. Both are for permit application. The plan packages consists of: The foundation plan, floor plan, the roof framing plan, a section, four elevations, connection details and general specs. For more information click:

The Most Popular Plan on my Stock plans Site

30′ x 50′ Two Story Shop with Apartment

30 x 50 two storey shop with apartment

30 x 50 two storey shop with apartment

This is our most popular ready to use stock plan. Versions of this plan have been built in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The small two bedroom apartment may be repeated within the building envelope if shop space is not required to obtain up to four units. There is tremendous flexibility with this plan and great revenue generating potential.

Here is what you will get:

Four elevations, floor plans, sections, roof framing plan, second floor framing plan, foundation plan, framing details, connection details , specifications.

We are offering this plan directly from the designer during the month of June 2014 only for $149.99 USD. This will be available on in June at an increased price. Use any of the forms to inquire. I will send you a paypal invoice or buy now.

30 x 50 two storey shop

30 x 50 two storey shop

Apartment on mezzanine level

Apartment on mezzanine level

30 x 50 Shop
Second Storey of 30′ x 50 Shop showing mezzanine level apartment


The Other Most Popular Plan


20 x 24 two storey garage

20 x 24 two storey garage

The other most popular plan is a 20′ x 20′ two storey garage. Upstairs is one big room with a small half bath in one corner. Add a full apartment upstairs later, the floor plan is included with the plan package. This project is only $ 99.99 USD until June 30, 2015. It is going to in June at an increased price.

Buy Now

20 x 24 two storey garage

20 x 24 two storey garage

20 x 24 frirst floor plan

20 x 24 frirst floor plan

30’x50′ Two Storey Shop with Apartment

30 x 50 elevation

This two storey shop with an apartment has recently been our most popular plan. The building is inexpensive to build and offers amazing flexibility. The mezzanine level apartment is on the top corner of one end and the rest of the building is open. It is possible to repeat the 20′ x 30′  two bedroom apartment up to four times within the building envelope to create up to four units. This plan will be offered on Amazon in June 2015 but you can buy directly here at a slightly lower price. Contact with your questions and an invoice. $149.99 for the plans.

Fourteen foot high shop door

Fourteen foot high shop door

The biography has been completed

The biography of William Edward Summers has been completed and is posted to Wikitecture. It tells about his early childhood in Bavaria, school years in Old West Lawrence, and launch of his career in San Francisco.  It does not cover the continual harassment he has experienced from  people with negative and prejudiced attitudes and explore the trials he encountered moving to a new country. The biography gives a general overview of his fascinating career. View it here:

6 Tips for Planning a Secure Remote Cabin

Creekside cabin site

6 Tips for Planning a Remote Cabin

Many like the idea of having a cabin tucked away in the woods where they can go to enjoy nature and get away from it all. How to keep the cabin safe from intruders and large animals when you are not there and how to afford it in the first place are two major questions
“Sitting in front of a crackling campfire at a cabin is one of the great joys in life “ says William Edward Summers, principal of California and British Columbia based design firm William Edward Summers Creative Projects
1) Find a cabin solution that will not strain your budget. It can be a financially difficult to build a cabin or a remote retreat, yet many view having such a location as a necessity. Many more just want to have a place to get away to enjoy the wilderness. Making these desires a reality requires an affordable feasible solution that will be small and simple
2) Consider how you can achieve reasonable security for your cabin. When you finally build a cabin how will you keep it secure from intruders or large animals? The truth is that no matter where your cabin is located some boys or young men will come across it and want to get inside. Preventing your cabin from being obvious by using stealthy design strategies to reduce it’s profile will reduce access by the curious passersby.
3) Make your remote cabin solution easy to construct. With an unlimited budget it is possible to build the cabin of your dreams in any location however one real challenge is being able to realistically build in a remote location with your budget. You will want a structure that is rugged but simple enough that it will not require a large crew and major equipment.
4) Make sure that you have planned a cabin that can be built from a pick up truck so materials can be easily brought to the remote site
5) Build at least as large as a large tent. It makes sense to build large enough for several people. More than one small discreet cabin might be a good strategy if additional space is needed. That way you can at least get a minimum shelter in place sooner and expand your site if necessary.
6) Plan for long term use in the event that a place is needed in which to ride out a natural disaster, survive a bout with homelessness or just to get away from the madness. Consider installing a small wood burning stove and other basics for long term use at your cabin site.

Please use the form to order a free report entitled

The “Keep it Simple Guide to Building  a Secure Remote Cabin” by William Edward Summers

The new design project titled “The Remote Stealth Cabin” by William Edward Summers can be examined at :

Mountain cabin site

For more information about the designer, William Edward Summers, please visit:
Official Site:
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Other Articles:

The San Francisco Monster Micro House

The San Francisco Monster Micro House

The “San Francisco Monster Micro House” is a new, self liquidating positive cash flow design concept that could possibly allow someone to build new and live in San Francisco without paying much in the way of a mortgage. It is the concept of architect/designer William Edward Summers who has completed over a thousand projects in the nine county Bay Area but now lives part time out of the country.

The building footprint is 20’ x 60’ so it will fit within the allowable building envelope on a standard small San Francisco lot The Monster Micro House is configured to allow several different options; One option is twelve micro apartments or condominiums. Another option is a 1200 square foot penthouse with a roof deck of about 1000 square feet, and eight micro apartments. The luxury solution is a 2600 square foot penthouse and roof deck with four micro apartments. There are two enclosed parking spaces, or four tandem spaces and two potentially uncovered parking spaces.

This “San Francisco Monster Micro House” is designed to allow maximum flexibility in space planning, permitting and the construction phases. If the zoning is changed then with some configurations it is possible to reconfigure to easily increase the number of units without any additions.

The radical innovations are with the design and space planning. The house itself is an easily engineered simple structure. The curb esthetic will allow the house to fit into a San Francisco streetscape without a ripple

To learn more about the concept a plan prospectus is being offered for free until the end of summer at:


More information about William Edward Summers

Official site:
Mobile friendly:

Other articles:

Nob Hill Gazette
Page 16, May 2000

Metropolis Magazine
New York, November 1995

Nob Hill Gazette
Page 30, February 2000

San Francisco Chronicle
August 2006

Other publications:

7 Tips for Making Your Renovation Easier

House on Barksdale Drive, renovation under construction

For most people a home is their biggest single investment, so planning and renovating wisely is extremely important.

“Often a house has everything desired in term of location but has design flaws, outdated floor plans or needs more square footage. With careful design an old house can become better than when it was new” explains William Edward Summers, the principal of South Vancouver Island and California based design firm William Edward Summers Creative Projects.

Summers’ new book “The Keep It Simple Guide to Renovation” provides homeowners with a clear path to successfully completing a renovation project.

1) Thoroughly understand your building’s zoning designation including the parking requirements. Allowable building set backs, height limitations and lot coverage are also important details

2) Use your architect/designer’s design development concept plans to obtain a more accurate preliminary estimate from your builder and better response from your banker. A visual is worth a thousand words.

3) Give your architect/designer enough time to make thorough plans. It is much less expensive and stressful to make your design decisions on paper rather than during construction.

4) Use an intermediary to facilitate communication with your builder. This will help alleviate stress and confusion during the construction process.

5) Avoid panic by adding 15% to any final estimate for budgeting purposes. Renovation is a process that frequently has unanticipated variables that add expense.

6) Let your builder or architect/designer do the permit processing. As the project owner you may be too emotionally close to the process to be able to deal with the building officials objectively and without anxiety.

7) Think about long term usage with your renovation and consider designing for accessibility and energy conservation.

The New Book “The Keep It Simple Guide to Renovation” by William Edward Summers is available for free until mid summer at:

Orinda Transformation 2004