The Studio Apartment: Creating a Living Space for Your Grown Kids Who Aren’t Ready to Fly

For most kids, they graduate high school and then they’re off to college, right? I believe there’s uncharted territory for parents who have adult aged children who are not ready to leave the nest. For example, our oldest daughter Alex has epilepsy, and it was evident after high school that she wasn’t able to go college due to her medical condition.
Here’s how we created a studio apartment for our daughter with medical needs, all while granting her the opportunity to be responsible and independent.

The studio apartment

Construction began on our open carport! 

We were fortunate that our carport was literally a blank slate. We were glad that this space was barely being used as a garage or storage. It’s like it was begging for us to create something amazing.

Studio Apartment

Alex LOVES the industrial urban look. She begged us to leave the floors unfinished. She wanted as many pipes and metal fixtures to stay just as they were. Even the garage door, she wanted it to stay just as it was!

Studio ApartmentStudio Apartment
Per Alex’s request, the space was specifically developed with a leaning toward the bare industrial look. The large picture window makes you forget you were once in a garage, and the freshly painted shiplap ceiling and cinder-block walls truly opens up the space!
We found this freestanding kitchen with a simple and tidy design at IKEA! We made upgrades to the faucet, and found a large countertop convection toaster oven to allow for cooking and baking. A mobile island was the perfect solution for more storage, and now doubles as an eating area, too. But the centerpiece of her kitchen (and honestly the focal point of the apartment) is her vintage, red refrigerator! This 3/4 size fridge is the perfect size for a studio apartment!

Studio Apartment

Studio Apartment

The apartment is separated into rooms by using large armoires. We installed large utility wheels on the bottom of the larger unit, so that it can be moved easily in the event she wants to rearrange furniture – which is often!

Studio ApartmentStudio Apartment​The garage door doubles as shelving – genius! Her bed rests on pallets. This is more for aesthetics than function, and it helps to add personality to her space. 

Studio Apartment

Studio Apartment

She has found creative ways to get around the lack of electrical outlets by using Hive Smart Plugs with her Google Home Mini. She can simply say, “OK Google, turn on the string lights.” And voila – the lights turn on with no need for a switch! 

Studio Apartment

We also added extra security to her studio apartment with the Hive View indoor smart camera. ​We ​get a notification when there’s unusual activity, and we can check the livestream. This gives us HUGE peace of mind!

Studio ApartmentAlex took over the 1/2 bath adjacent to the garage, and we still have plans for putting in a stand up shower right next to that, in her apartment. This should complete her independent living area, but for now, she uses a shower in the main house.

Studio Apartment

Our heating and air conditioning solution came in the form of a mobile unit. The Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner is PERFECT for this space. What’s really cool is that our electric bill has NOT increased at all since adding on the studio apartment. It’s almost as if the apartment provides insulation to the rest of the house, and our regular AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard! It heats, cools, dehumidifies, or can simply serve as a fan – and it’s super quiet! It has 3 speeds, digital controls, 24 hour energy saving timer and remote control. 

Studio ApartmentOur ultimate goal for Alex was to create a separate living space that is close enough for us to look in on her and be there for her medical needs, while giving her the opportunity to be independent and make adult decisions. We believe there will come a day when her medical condition won’t limit her ability to live on her own as much, and we trust that her wings will be ready to fly when the day comes.

For us, our reasons were medically related, but maybe you have a college student who is staying local for college and space would give them a bit of independence and responsibility. Or maybe you’ve always wanted a She Shed, or you have family who visits often, and just need to spread out a little more! No matter what your reason, I hope this gives you inspiration on how to create some extra living space in your home!




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