Mission Impossible? Help ? Narrow lot plan, with 3 car garage

nightowlrnJanuary 3, 2014

So -- We gave up on finding a used house. Today, we bought a bit of land and have found a builder. Yeah ... Next week we meet with an architect. Now, the challenge ... We need some framework plans to have in mind when we meet next week.

The lot is 100 feet wide and 240 feet deep. We get what we want as far as no back yard neighbors which is great/unique for the area we are in, but putting what we want on the property is going to have to be creative. We value our home "being one" with the back yard outdoor spaces.

The set backs are 15 feet on the sides, so we are now talking about 70 feet wide. -3 car garage - only 2 bays can face the street (will most likely have to be a 2/1 corner configuration. Last resort is a tandem set up.

We can go up to 4000 sf. Price isn't too much of a concern. Our style is simple - modern craftsman. We don't care about fancy foyers or dramatic entry ways. This is a high end finish house that we will live in (God willing) until we hit assisted living age in 25 years. I am most concerned about the first floor; the second will just have to flow over that.
We need to fit the following on the first floor
-MBR - laundry in the closet to free up space for a big pantry, large shower, tub if it fits, closet toilet, medium size closet(s)
- Cozy Study
-Cozy DR - seats table for 8, buffet and probably a big china type cabinet.
- Great Room - enough for a fireplace, TV. and seating for 6?
- Well appointed kitchen with nearby seating for 6, keeping room, and opens to GR, big island, L shape, nice to have windows.
- Big Pantry near kitchen, near garage
-Mud room opens to back yard and garage. Room for closets, nooks, PR,
-At least 2 back doors in addition to the mud room open to the back yard. Bonus points for a garage that also opens to the back yard.

We will want 3 BR each with a bath and a LR on the second floor, but that should work out.

We found a plan that somewhat has a basic layout - Villa Milano - pay no attention to the entrance tower :). The garages and width would have to be worked. And the stairs made more square and craftsman, but basically, it works. It is just too wide ....

Thanks to anyone bored enough to give a girl a hand ...

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 23:43

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you can build house and 3 car side entry on 100 sq ft...

Are you referring to this monstrosity? I would not be concerned about squaring anything... What is 10k for couple mil construction.

Here is a link that might be useful: Architectural House Plans

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:25AM
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Something like this looks close to what you want:

EPlans HousePlan

Here is a link to a website that I think is very user friendly for searching. What I especially like is that when you pick on a plan it will offer several others that are similar, so it will say if you want a larger plan click this or a different garage or larger upstairs or whatever and the link is right there so it's easy.

There is another one I am thinking of but I can't put my finger on it at the moment. If I find it I'll post back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Architectural Designs Website

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Sure, you can do the front load GARAGE with small living quarters attached look, but given a choice why would you do that deliberately? Who really wants to look at garage doors as the most distinctive feature of a home?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:41AM
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Your challenge is fitting a very large idea for a house on a rather standard sized city residential lot of 100' width. The depth of your lot is double that of a standard 120' lot, so that suggests a long and narrow plan. The biggest challenge is your preference for a 3-car garage, which also opens to the back yard.

You don't state whether or not your lot is a corner lot or an "interior" lot, with access only from the 100' side. If it's an interior lot, you're going to have to either accept the view of your house from the street will be a large garage with a sidewalk leading somewhere to the entry, or change your priorities and plan a 2-car garage. If you have a corner lot, garage placement and access will be much better.

The rest of your priorities should be easily workable on your lot. Your architect will be your best guide.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:54AM
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I know it's not a craftsman but there's a 3 car garage and room to move around the den an mudroom areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eplans

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:48AM
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Or maybe this? Maybe move mudroom to dining? There's room to change things on this one too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Craftsman

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:52AM
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Narrow but extra-deep?

Use the 15-foot setback for driveway space and:

Put the garage at the rear of the lot or house with a porte-cochere where you can stop and drop off passengers and groceries.

Put the car stalls along the side of the house, with slanted openings to make backing out easy.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Even if you scale down to a 2 car garage, with 15' setbacks, you don't have a lot of room for "house". 70-25 for the garage only leaves 45'. Which will work, but be a rather narrow facade for the "face". Pulling the garage back from the plane of the house will help to minimize it's appearance.

If you want a side load garage, then this isn't the lot for you.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Are you set on an attached garage? There is a neighborhood near us where many lots are 100x200. Some popular arrangements in more recent construction seem to be the following:

-Detached garage (which can partially encroach into side setbacks) either in forecourt configuration or slightly behind the house; or
-2-car side entry/1-car front entry attached garage; or
-Side entry off the front, something like this (but this one is 2-car)

Contemporary Exterior by Palo Alto Architects & Designers FGY Architects

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:03PM
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This is a "craftsman-esque" with a 3-car side entry off the front:

Traditional Exterior by Mountain View General Contractors James Crist Builders, Inc.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:20PM
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Thank you. Rules say no detached garage. No out buildings either, which is why we would like more garage space.

OT -- Thank you. The pergola over the garage window idea helps " a little" with the house-garage look problem.

LWO - you may be correct about the side garage. A girl can dream though ....

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We had a narrow area to build...despite being on 11 acres...so we did a 2 car attached garage above and put in a "garage" under for workshop and tractor storage and such. I didn't want it to look like a garage so instead we put in a french porte...lift garage door that looks like french doors. So consider splitting up the garages if you can...it may make your design easier.

Lower level garage

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:44AM
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I will give you a slightly different perspective on narrow lots and garages. Here a narrow lot is 15' wide. (There are much narrower but you can't put new construction on them). A "wide" lot is 25'.

All new construction must provide parking, usually a garage. There are two options. One, the garage faces the street, and two, the garage faces the back, possible only if there is an alley. Lots away from the city core are a bit wider but face the same issues.

So hollysprings I will restate this issue from a different viewpoint, not to be argumentative, but from a perspective of who is the more important person with regards to the house.

"Who really wants to look at garage doors as the most distinctive feature of a home?"

--Who wants to sit in the private backyard/outdoor living space and look at the butt end/ garage doors of the house?

--Who wants their entire lawn eaten up by a driveway big enough to turn cars around on so they can be in back?

I think Americans have kind of gotten the wrong idea when it comes to making hard choices. They put on an impressive façade for the neighbors, or strangers, and then spend all their time in the back yard which is often the cheaper, less balanced, (uglier) elevation, --now with a wide expanse of garage door and pavement to boot.

I think on lots with limitations parts of Europe and South America have the right idea. Make the best part of the house the back or the interior courtyard.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:09AM
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IEF -- Our last house had a detached garage with alley access. It was wonderful!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Night- We had that growing up...and I loved it! We had an alley and were on the corner, so access was easy. It gave us privacy from the alley, a pretty back drop to the garden...and lots of south light bouncing back, for my mom's flowers. Everything overwintered so nicely :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 3:22PM
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nightowlorn, I know your lot may be narrow compared to a lot of the houses here but to me you lot is wide :) Our lot is 60 feet by 105 feet deep. This is a very common lot size where we live we do have lesser setback requirement than you (10 feet on one side and 5 feet on one side).

I think the examples posted by oaktown are great. Good luck with finding the right plan.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 3:45PM
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NightOwl, We're also leaning towards Craftsman-Bungalow-inspired houses, and I've rejected MANY plans because they're too long and narrow for our space! I think you'll find something that'll be a good starting place.

Are you sure you want to build something as large as 4000 sf for two people? I'm thinking of the cleaning, maintaining, and paying taxes and other expenses . . . for rooms that two people won't use on a regular basis.

Ineffable, I disagree with your take on the garage. Done nicely, a garage that "bumps into" the back yard provides privacy on one side of the yard, provides a backdrop for a seating area or flowerbeds, and -- on a more practical ntoe -- provides easy access to lawn maintenance tools. Done nicely, the garage sits off to the side of the yard, not smack-dab in the middle, and it functions kind of like a brick wall or brick fence. It isn't a negative in any way.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Done nicely, a garage isn't too much of a negative on any position on the lot, nice garage doors, windows etc., and its position can be used as an advantage in the back or along the side, or even to the Front of the house.

But "done nicely" is the operative phrase here, and Often the garage area, (and the back façade of the house in general) are the most neglected elevation of the house in terms of design and materials, and then it becomes the area where we spend most of the time.

I've spent time in even $1M houses where the front façade sure is impressive, but guests are seated out back next to utilities, bits of PVC pipes and other vents poking out and a façade that is as blank and cheaply detailed as the back end of a warehouse. I think you know what I am talking about. It's also the point where a lot of people really enter the house and see it up close, if guests park in the driveway.

If the garage is toward the front, you are at least forced, somewhat, to make it look halfway decent. Stick it in the back and all bets are off.

I am not promoting it as a position in Most situations, but on a long narrow lot, it could make sense to put it toward the front, and make the back yard people space instead of all driveway.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Is there a reason you think you need a plan? You said you are going to go meet the architect. It seems to me maybe you need your needs/wants figured out; not so much the plan. (Isn't that the architect's job?)

And, I'm with everyone else--100' isn't narrow.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:55PM
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We need to make it enough sf to support the cost of the land and the quality we plan to do. As for a plan, I want to see configuration options so I don't get pushed into something and told there is no other way, if in fact there is. We prefer intimate, cozy living spaces rather than huge great rooms and I have seen plans with a "gathering room" and a great room - pretty nifty as we would like a fireplace near the kitchen. Things like that ....

Thank you for all your input.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:14PM
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AD -- So clever! A don't know if we can get a side entry. The land does drop a bit to one side, but we will find out more in a few days weather or not we can have a walk out on one side of the house.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:26PM
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AD -- So clever! A don't know if we can get a side entry like you have. The land does drop a bit to one side, but we will find out more in a few days whether or not we can have a walk out on one side of the house.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Math doesn't lie.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:35AM
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We incorporated everything you mentioned except great room (we have a loft instead) on our narrow lot - as in 10 feet at its most narrow. At one end of house is a 1.5 car garage (the .5 being for garden tools and ease of wheelchair entry when time comes) and 2 car under on the other side. You can see the design on Houzz by typing in the name of the house: Passy Overlook or clicking link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aging in Place on Narrow lot with 3 car garage

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:50AM
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Thanks HS. We were figuring at least 15 feet for the turn-around. This shows 17, right? That makes sense. Nice to see it in a picture.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Do you plan to use the 3rd bay in the garage for every day parking or is it more for storage or for a car with more occasional use?

If the latter you could consider doing a tandem garage on one side.

If you want a front facing garage I would try to set it back some so it isn't the thing you see sticking out first. Although frankly when you are on wider lots or acreage you often see the side facing garage just as much if not even more than the front facing ones so I don't think in those cases that a side facing does nearly the same for a house as it does on a narrower lot, where it doesn't become as visible from the street.

Our neighborhood have many side facing garages including ours, and I see those garages and sides of houses a whole lot more than I see the front of the houses as I'm driving by or even as I'm out running I see the sides more than the front. I actually wish I had thought about that and changed it to a front facing that was set back a little instead as it would have worked better with house access from the drive way etc.

Only the houses that are placed along a curved part of the road do I see less of the garage. One has it on the side, but in the way back and still attached and that one you do see a little less of it than the majority that have them to the front side.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Sophie Wheeler

What that graphic shows is that if you want a garage that will fit real sized vehicles and not Smart cars, plus the room to turn around and drive out straight to the street rather than always back down the driveway to get out, that leaves you about 15' for your actual house face by the time you account for your setbacks.

Like I said, math doesn't lie. You'd need 1 1/2 lots at your current lot width to do what you actually want to do. Either buy a double lot, or buy a different lot. Or change what you want and can live with.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Thanks. I am guessing I will need to change what we want and live with it. Why I titled this "mission impossible." Will know more tomorrow. Tandem is a possibility. The extra space is really for yard and recreation equipment storage. And, thanks for the advice about a garage not meant for itty bitty cars.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Quick question OP - Are you sure that you are NOT allowed to have a driveway within the set-back area? In my neighborhood, we have 20 ft side setbacks however driveways, walkways, and parking pads ARE allowed within the setback area. If you CAN put the driveway and parking pad within the setback, you'll have lots more design options.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 1:41AM
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Good news perhaps. We met with the architect today. We may have a livable solution. He may be able to hit our needs and most of our wants. 13 days to find out his drawings. Nice guy. Attentive, interesting in thinking outside the proverbial box. Familiar with the town's quirky rules. Stay tuned ... Thank you all again for your input. I took all comments and ideas with us and it really helped us.

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 19:34

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Can't wait to see what he comes up with.
And check on what Bevangel suggested. In our development too we can put driveway and parking pad on the setback, just can't build on it. Our lot is about the same size as yours. Our drive is long, since we're building back on the lot in order to save 3 big oaks out front and we've set the garage back even further than the house elevation. We're going into the setback with our driveway to provide a turning and parking pad.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:17AM
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We ended up having to pass after months of trying to make it work. But, the good news is we may have another property much more to our liking. 125 feet wide, 250 feet deep. Level. Thank you all for the kind advice.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 11:30PM
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nightowlrn- I hope you find the new lot satisfactory in every way. I understand your issues with the narrower lot. Aesthetically, we would have loved to have had a side or back load garage. We even investigated conjoining properties on two different streets to provide seamless entry without disrupting our front or side facade. But we settled on capitalizing on our "view" side by putting in a three car, front loading tandem. Two cars load front to back on the left, then we have an offset where the most used vehicle is stored. This was not our first choice, but I have really grown to like it... a lot better than our last detached garage with the super long driveway.
We did have fun choosing pretty garage doors:)

This post was edited by musicgal on Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 10:16

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:14AM
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