Jérémie Buchholtz wanted an affordable apartment in Bordeaux- he’s a photographer who splits his time between Paris and Bordeaux so his budget was limited-, but he wasn’t finding anything he liked. Then he stumbled upon a listing for a garage that at 80,000 euros was less than half the price of a similarly-sized home.
There was no house, it was just an abandoned garage for sale. “My friends said, it’s impossible you will do nothing with that,” explained Buchholtz, “there is no light, there is nothing.”
The garage definitely looked like a garage; it had big metal doors that blocked out any sunlight and inside it was being used more as a junk room. So Buchholtz called his friend and architect Matthieu de Marien who specializes in converting stores, offices and other spaces into homes.
De Marien took one look at the historic street and recognized it as something special. Passage Buhan is a private passageway where the owners each own half of the road so life extends into the street. And the history here is rich: a couple centuries ago, the laneway housed horses and their riders en route to the then city of Bordeaux and the old stable still sits on the street.
Buchholtz bought the property and De Marien quickly cut into the old garage to create more light and ventilation. The roof is historic and couldn’t be touched so he carved a 12 square meter (129 square foot) patio out of the small space, leaving only 41 square meters of living space (441 square feet).
In order to make the space feel larger, De Marien created a “house within a house”: one large piece of furniture that includes the bathroom, bedroom, office, closet, a sofa bed and all of the home’s storage. With everything contained in this large furniture box, the rest of the home was given more breathing room.
We visit Bordeaux’s left bank and the picturesque Passage Buhan where De Marien and Buchholtz show us how life in a garage can be quite beautiful and even stylish.