Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The New Garage Next Door

Ah - the garage - I think America is in love with this giant room for their car(s). If detached from the home, it can look like a charming outbuilding or barn set back on the property and be built quickly and easily. The Tivoli Pattern Book (and general good zoning and planning) require that the garage be detached (or semi-attached with a "breezeway") and set back behind the house. Thoughtful siting like this that places the car in a secondary location, allows the house to be primary. It creates a traditional pedestrian friendly layout, which is appropriate for our walkable village. (refer to "Site Plan" Post from the fall)

I know many suburban homes have the garage attached to the home for convenience, but this can be a dangerous and smelly room and once attached, insulating and air sealing the habitable space of the house becomes more difficult to do correctly. On the aesthetic side of the argument, this room for cars is required to be so large, that it completely changes the massing of the house and often puts the primary focus of the building and site design on the car, instead of the people.

At the New House Next Door, the garage is designed for two cars - really it will house one car and a lawn tractor and stuff- and it is just a few steps from the back porch. It is built on what is called a floating slab, which means that the concrete footings do not reach down into the ground to the frost line, like the footings for the house do. The 6" thick reinforced slab has haunched or thickened edges that help anchor it down. The square building has walls with windows and doors and a gable roof built of wood trusses so that the 22' span doesn't require any interior columns. The exterior will have clapboard siding like the house, but the interior of the walls will have no finish, saving a bit of money and allowing my father-in-law to hang all sorts of tools and items easily inside. (Side Note: Attached garages need to be finished inside with fire-rated sheet-rock and a self-closing fire-door, to meet code, and cannot have open storage space above)

The builders have been building the garage as they've been building the New House Next Door. I will post photos of it from start to finish when it is all done, because I think it will be neat to see a small, simple building be built "right before your eyes" all in one post.

1 comment:

  1. Garages have been gaining more attention by U.S. homeowners as an extra room in the home. I do like the idea of a hidden garage and, in my opinion, dislike that our current garage creates less curb appeal. We’re planning on building in a few years. I wonder if having a garage tucked behind the house increase its value?

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware