Garage conversion and other regulations

Hi I would like to convert the 40 M2 garage (access by interior door into house) into a place to store my art materials and paintings.As paintings need to be kept in a dry place with stable temperatures the garage will need to be insulated and a source of heat put in place plus ventilation. I paint outside 80 percent of the time as a landscape painter but sometimes finish paintings in the studio so will need to replace the garage door with windows or glass doors or even a glass garage door though that is expensive. It is not intended to be habitable. I wondered if I need planning permission for this or if I can make a minimal amount of change to avoid the long process of obtaining a permit! Appreciate experiences and info Thanks!

As you will be changing the outward appearance of the house you will need to submit a Declaration Prealable to the Mairie with regard to the change of the garage door.
It would be helpful to know what type of garage door you have at present. Up & Over, double side hinged, lateral sliding panel door ? Depending upon what you have now it may well be possible to alter the existing door to admit more light.
Is there scope for installing a window in the side wall of the garage perhaps ?


What you are talking about will certainly need some sort of paperwork/Declaration at the Mairie…

You are converting your garage… into a comfortable room… :thinking:

Best thing is to simply go and talk things through with folk at your Mairie without delay.
Explain, fully, what you hope to achieve and ask their advice on how to proceed …

best of luck.

You’d only need permission (probably a declaration) if you changed the size of the opening itself.

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Thanks Robert,
The side wall is adjacent to a hanger so not much light will be gained and already in fact there is a window. The other side is attached to the house. I think that once a glass door is put in with adequate lights it will be OK. I am used to painting in dark places like attics with electric lights so this will be a improvement!

Thanks Stella!

That’s interesting because I will keep the size of the doorway so maybe that is a way around though I will have a chat with Marie too.

If you are changing the existing door for a glass one you can just do it. No declaration required!

Have you considered using suspended uplighters that will bounce the artificial light off the ceiling and thus give a more general illumination with fewer strong shadows.
If the existing door is in reasonable condition you may also wish to consider fitting plastic panels (optically clear lexan or polycarbonate perhaps) into it that will admit light, but be flexible enough to cope with the vibration and movement of opening the door. Might be less costly than a new door.


We (Brits) are so used to UK planning regs that we forget that in France no one gives a toss if you convert your kitchen into an S&M dungeon. Etc etc…
Extensions to the footprint and new openings require a déclaration préalable and the tax office will be interested (eventually) if you add to the habitable space but habitable means heating and sanitation etc so your studio plan should be fine. You could also maybe think about dropping a light well into the roof eventually? But maybe best to live with it first and see how it is with the addition of extra lighting?
Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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That is a relief - I can stop worrying now, but the anxiety was all part of the S&M punishment!


When we bought our then much smaller house here back in the early 90s we were told by the Maire of the neighbouring village who had come to advise on the nature of the construction because he was the MD of the firm up the road which had built it, that we couldn’t extend towards the road because it would be within 3 metres of the boundary, which was not permitted.

Today I see that a house just down the road, only 5 years old, is being extended to almost touch their boundary fence. Have the regs changed?

The rule in general is 3 metres from the boundry or on the boundry.However local rules can and do apply .

I must admit to have found that a strange criteria.

why do you find it strange

Never heard of these! Will do some research! Thanks

Its the all or nothing idea, 3m or the boundary. Why not 2m from the boundary for example? Is there a technical or esthetic reason France has adopted this, what is the mindset behind it?

I have no idea.
Speculation on my part won’t advance the question either.

During the remembrement 20 or so years back, the departement altered the land boundaries to consolidate land holding somewhat. It was great for us as we swapped a section of dark damp field at the back of the house for the south-facing and dry existing road at the front of the house BUT the road curves round pretty well touching the end wall of the house and obviously nowhere near 3m away (which it was before). Is that an example of “local rules” taking precedence? Or possible, one rule for the punter and another for the departement :smiley:

(Sorry Fiona - bit of a diversion there but we are also planning to do something similar with the back of our garage so I’m very interested in this thread!)