This 600-square-foot space is a virtual classroom, an art and design studio and a hangout space. A place to watch movies, to entertain guests and to exercise. And less than a year ago, it used to be your average, underutilized garage.
Last spring, Mark and Caren Roddy, who both teach at Sacramento State in the Department of Design and have backgrounds in corporate architecture, needed to find a long-term solution for virtual teaching. “Once COVID-19 hit, we used the garage, but it was not very comfortable,” says Mark. “When we knew we weren’t going to go back in the fall, we decided to do something about it during the summer.”
After they added electrical, windows, French doors and a glass garage door for lighting and ventilation, Caren outfitted their new flex space almost entirely with pieces they already owned or thrifted. “Mark and I have the same design sensibility and are all about problem solving more than designing,” says Caren. “We are both good at working with constraints and being practical to get the work done and not spend a ton of money on it. We really like to reuse anything we can.”
Both Mark and Caren use the garage for teaching—thankfully, their class schedules don’t overlap. Their 14-year-old son, Garrott, heads out there to play video games and work on projects, and their 11-year-old daughter, Eryn, finds the oversize worktable a favorite spot to create art.
This flex space not only keeps the family connected through its functionality; it also keeps the Roddys feeling connected with their community through its design. “The glass garage door gives us an 8-by-7-foot view out,” says Mark. “I can see when FedEx comes, when neighbors walk by, and kids playing outside. There’s a strong visual connection that I think is so important.”