Ask Jennifer Adams: Reader shares a fabulous ledge idea in a converted garage


Q: I read your column about the person wanting to use the concrete floor in her garage guesthouse project, and I loved your response. We did a similar conversion, and I wanted to share my experience.

We needed to have a new concrete floor and foundation poured. When it was complete, my husband and I thought they'd made a mistake - the foundation was thicker than the wall at the top, and it stuck out into the living space - but evidently that was how it had to be for the structure.

So our designer had the great idea to finish off the top of the foundation with woodwork, creating a ledge inside, at about waist level, about eight inches deep. In some places, she was able to make alcoves for storage, including for coffee cups in the kitchen and extra supplies in the bathroom.

In the kitchen, we use the ledge for extra storage for things like decorative salt and pepper shakers, olive oil, and a clock. In the living area and bedroom, we added art, pottery vases, some Christmas tree stars (I have a collection), and we set an antique mirror on it in the bedroom.

My daughter found this old mirror at a garage sale. We already had the dresser, which is from Ikea. She chose the paint colors, and I think it turned out beautifully. I am very proud of how this little guesthouse turned out. What do you think?

- The R. Family
A: Thank you for sharing your ideas. What I love about this ledge is how you made something that could have been a negative feature (the odd foundation jutting into the floor space) into such a positive design element. From your photos, it looks like you and your team meant for the ledge to be there all along.

Keep up the creativity, and please share your next project, too.


Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.