Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Adding Space by Detaching the Garage

After almost half a year hiatus from posting, I'm back! Happy 2015 Everyone!

I want to try to steer this blog into a new direction.  I won't be following the chronological progress of one project, like when the New House Next Door to my house was being built and this blog was born, but rather, this blog can be a bit more "free form", talking about lots of different architectural projects and ideas.

Today's Topic: Pulling the garage out of the house

Some clients want an enclosed or covered space for their car(s) and have never had one, and hire me to design them a garage or carport. But some clients have a house with an attached garage space and when they wish their home had a bit more space, rather than designing an addition, we can redesign this unfinished garage space to become part of the house.

In some cases the garage becomes a a studio or work space. Sometimes a spacious master bedroom suite is created. It can be a family room or exercise space- whatever is needed. In this way, the living space of the home is increased relatively inexpensively. And then we design and build a new detached garage to provide storage for the car.

New  Garage on Left, Part of House that was Garage on Right, Porta-Potty in the Middle
 Depending on where they are placed on the site in relation to the house, detached garages can help define outdoor "rooms". They can be set back (a requirement in many zoning codes) so that the home and it's front door are primary, and the car doors are secondary.

If the owner is always going to arrive home by parking inside the garage, then this new space and how it's doors are arranged in relation to the house entry will become part of what architects call "the entry sequence." This coming and going can be made pleasant by good design, positively affecting our day. Or, if poorly thought out, it can detract from our happiness, possibly by being too cramped or too abrupt. (click HERE to go to my website and read about re-designing an entry sequence in "Transition Zones")

Entry Sequence: Pergola Connects Garage to House, Garage Has Covered Side Door
 Detached garage buildings can be placed on the site so they are hidden from view inside or they can be placed so a window inside the house frames a view of them. Usually the style mimics or coordinates with that of the house, but the opposite can be true, as well. Choosing paint colors or trim details that don't mimic the primary structure can add uniqueness to the new building. Detached garages can look like a quaint, charming cottage, or a rustic wood shed, or a modern, functional box, depending on the owner's style. Unlike most attached garages, they are not just trying to blend in or be invisible - they are "design-ful" in their own right. (I just made up that hyphenated word!)

Two Car Garage Built Beside a Ranch
I cannot find the source, but I remember hearing the saying that the attached garage is the "un-invited guest who never left" in American homes. Click HERE read my previous "soap box" post about why garages are better detached than attached to our houses.