Author Topic: Garage build thoughts  (Read 3439 times)

Bourbon

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Garage build thoughts
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:17:56 PM »
I'm still working on my intro post and my case study post but wanted to jump straight to my pants on fire post.  I this question could land in a few different areas(DIY, Lanloarding) depending on the outcome we go with so I'm sneaking it into AAM.

We live in an historic and relatively trendy neighborhood close to downtown in Louisville.  The neighborhood is gentrifying somewhat and is a mix of smaller shotgun houses, camelbacks and large Victorians but still has quite a few in an unrefinished state.  Splurged on our second home, and hoping to stay for the long term. Lots of rentals in the area.  One of the main things I was looking for in our new home was a nice garage and finding any garage in this area is difficult, so I settled for a house with room to build one. 

The lot is 192' deep and 30' wide.  I'm planning to build a 26' wide by 32' deep garage, with an additional slight overhang facing the yard to give us a small covered area and a space I can enclose and make a shed for yard tools. I'm looking into having a friends father do the drawings for us and then trying to GC it myself.  If that doesn't work out it looks like an architect will run me close to $2k.   I did a full gut and remodel of the kitchen at our last house(with help from friends/family) but that was also pre-kids.

The real sticking point in my head now is that when we were shopping for houses that had garages, I always lamented that they didn't make the extra room upstairs for an apartment to be rented.  Now that I am building myself, that was my first inclination, then I didn't want to have a tenant sitting in my backyard.  Now I am toying with the possibility of building it so that is an option and we can have a large bonus room above in the meantime(kids play, crafts, poker night?) and a rental or MIL down the road or just making it a peaked roof with tall storage for christmas decorations and other detritus.

Unfortunately it sounds like the extra structure for the second floor could add quite a bit.  I want to avoid any columns downstairs in the garage so I am likely looking at a large engineered beam or some steel beams to support a true second story. 

The whole thing is a bit of an anti-mustachian splurge, but the garage will be useful in storing the cars and old motorcycles as well as the pile of tools I have sitting in our old garage.  I got quotes ranging from 40k to 75k if I turned the whole think over.  I think by GC'ing and doing the electric and siding(as time and children allow) will help and while I would like to be at 35k for the whole thing I think with a storage attic I will wind up around 25k and with the second floor it could be 40ish. I really need to get plans to start bidding parts out and get a full picture of the costs and then I have to take it all before the review committee to get approved.

Our house is one of the nicer on our particular block, and the other garages that exist are older block that would not get by with the new historic guidelines.  Not sure if I should just focus on getting a functional space as cheap as possible or pay for the extra capacity and details.  Might be able to get variances based on the existing ugly garages, but otherwise looking at hardiboard, fish scales, etc and wife is set on a metal roof to match the main house.

MayDay

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 12:41:43 PM »
We live in a town where many houses have what people here call carriage houses.  They are what you are talking about- garage with small apartment above.  My dream house (which doesn't exist in our budget, but that's why they call it a dream, right?) has a carriage house built into a hill so the apartment can be accessed without climbing stairs for future use as an elderly parent apartment. 

In our area they rent for about 500 a month.  One thing I can't figure out is what they use for heat- I assume electric, which would be expensive.  But maybe you don't have to worry about that much in KY.  If we build one I would want to either insulate the crap out of it, or figure out a cheap way to do natural gas heat. 

If you don't plan to ever rent it out, I would take a hard look at the likelihood of your or your wife's parents ever coming to live in it, and whether they would be well enough to manage stairs (my guess would be no).  If all it is going to be used for is kid play space, I can't imagine it would be worth the money to me.  If you want it for storage I assume the cost would be quite a bit less as you don't have to vault it high enough for a full height ceiling, but I may be talking out of my butt. 

nereo

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 12:45:45 PM »
Welcome Bourbon

I'm not sure I understand what feedback you are looking for.  This is a large and expensive project, particularly to house a bunch of cars and motorcycles.  What is it you want feedback on? 

Bourbon

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 12:54:14 PM »
We live in a town where many houses have what people here call carriage houses.  They are what you are talking about- garage with small apartment above.  My dream house (which doesn't exist in our budget, but that's why they call it a dream, right?) has a carriage house built into a hill so the apartment can be accessed without climbing stairs for future use as an elderly parent apartment. 

In our area they rent for about 500 a month.  One thing I can't figure out is what they use for heat- I assume electric, which would be expensive.  But maybe you don't have to worry about that much in KY.  If we build one I would want to either insulate the crap out of it, or figure out a cheap way to do natural gas heat. 

If you don't plan to ever rent it out, I would take a hard look at the likelihood of your or your wife's parents ever coming to live in it, and whether they would be well enough to manage stairs (my guess would be no).  If all it is going to be used for is kid play space, I can't imagine it would be worth the money to me.  If you want it for storage I assume the cost would be quite a bit less as you don't have to vault it high enough for a full height ceiling, but I may be talking out of my butt. 


Both are good thoughts.  We mostly us gas heat here, though our main house has electric heat pumps with electric backups. Painful this winter.  We currently have a kids play area in the finished 3rd floor attic of the main house, and while I love the idea of the extra room I'm not sure how fun it would be to have a separate space 60 feet out back unless I also plumbed it.  But I have it all engineered beautifully in my head!

MIL is currently out of state and talking some about moving, but not sure that she would want to live in the backyard.  If we rented it would depend on if I could fit 1 or two bedrooms in there, but would aim for $700 or $900.

Bourbon

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 12:56:06 PM »
Welcome Bourbon

I'm not sure I understand what feedback you are looking for.  This is a large and expensive project, particularly to house a bunch of cars and motorcycles.  What is it you want feedback on?

Fair question.

I thinkly mostly I'm looking for facepunches and writing it down and putting it out there is helpful for me to get to a decision.  Was curious to see if anyone had an argument for going ahead with the rental unit and/or thoughts on if the budget itself was reasonable for the project.

Exflyboy

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 12:59:05 PM »
It really depnds on what you want.

The Cheapest way is a single story pole barn and do the drawings yourself. You don't need to do any calculations (at least you don't in my neck of the woods as it is a normally unnoccupied space)

Next cheapest is to build a house with pre-engineered trusses. Do the drawings yourself and the only engineering that is required is the truss spans.. This design is done for free from a truss supplier. This would also work for (normally occupied) a second storey. The foundation design can be got from your local building permit office. If you are building an appartment over a agrage there will be firewall requirement from the garage to the appartment.. nothing more than a layer of fire resistant sheetrock. Once again your building department can help.

Most money can be saved by doing everything yourself.. Not just being the GC. Pouring your own concrete is not cost effective however.

We built our own house (doubled the size of the old one) with out own bare hands using this method.

Frank

Spork

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 01:04:52 PM »

I suspect you can find plans for what you want pretty cheap -- certainly less than $2k.  Keep it simple and square and your costs will come down.  For reference: we had a really well known local draftsman (errr.. woman) draw our entire house from scratch for about $1200.  Off the shelf house plans for entire houses will run you around $800.  I've never priced just a garage (or a garage with a bonus room) ... I gotta think that's even cheaper.

Greg

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 01:46:23 PM »
A rental can be nice, but it should be designed as such.  As stated by another, stairs can present a challenge for some users.  Keep in mind it's close, and so who you rent to will be important and tricky.  If you really do plan to rent it out I recommend that you design the upstairs electrical to be on a separate meter.

There are also challenges related to noise with an apartment over a garage... tool and engine noise for instance.  And fumes.

We have a studio over a 20' x 30' garage that we built ourselves for almost exactly 20K in 2001.

nereo

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 02:00:42 PM »
Fair question.

I thinkly mostly I'm looking for facepunches and writing it down and putting it out there is helpful for me to get to a decision.  Was curious to see if anyone had an argument for going ahead with the rental unit and/or thoughts on if the budget itself was reasonable for the project.

Gotcha.  I'm a long-view kinda person, so after reading and re-reading your post I'd ask what you really want out of this project.  You mentioned car and motorcycle storage, plus storage for tools (in the garage and outback).  you also mentiond either storage (e.g. christmas decorations) in teh attic space or possibly a renters apartment.

Spork and Frankh seem to have good ideas on how to get the planning costs down (I've never done a structural remodel, so I will refrain from comment).  For me, I would want to know how this will change things years down the road.  If you are planning on selling the house, this might substantially increase it's value; if not then you aren't likely to ever recoup your costs unless you put in that renter's unit.  on that note, I like the idea of putting in a renter's unit because it would add a permanent stream of income, and likely maximize your resale value. Another suggestion is to use it for a home office, which may give you a tax deduction.

Finally, if your main goal is FI/FIRE, the most economical decision might be to sell teh extra cars/motorcycles and tools, buy a simple pre-fab shed off craigslist (or build one yourself) to store the tools and consider yourself more frugal overall.  Not saying you should take this route, but it probably will save you the most money in the long run.

ms.frugal

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 05:50:23 AM »
Hi,
Before you begin building, check to make sure you can actually rent out an apartment above your garage in your neighborhood.  I live in Louisville and have a friend who has an apartment above his garage and when his son moved into the apartment the city notified him that he could NOT rent out the apartment in that neighborhood.  He had to go through the hassle of paperwork indicating that his son was using the apartment, etc.
It was surprising to hear because the Carriage Houses in the Cherokee Triangle are full of apartments...it just depends on the neighborhood in Louisville.
Good luck,
Ms. Frugal

chasesfish

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Re: Garage build thoughts
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2014, 05:55:52 AM »
This is a large and expensive project.  I was given a rough estimate of $35k to remove my carport and put in a detached garage and rough in an upstairs apartment.