Lose the garage?

madaboutkitchens_gwApril 19, 2007

hi, everyone,

i lurk here occasionally and thought i'd put this question to those of you living in small homes (who better to ask?)-would you convert your garage for more living space? we have a 1400 sqft ranch for 4 of us, and i often feel the garage could go in lieu of a new 2 bedroom/bath addition for the kids. anyone done this? what do you do for storage once the garage is gone? if i build 2 new bedrooms, i could take down some walls in the current house to enlarge the kitchen and generally open things up. what would you do?

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I couldn't be without a garage for storage and the car. But it would depend upon where one lives.

My first thought would be to add on to the house rather than take a garage, especially if a possibility for future resale. Have you had a contractor look at options?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 8:23PM
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we have looked at other options for adding on with an architect and several contractors, however without 'going up', which is cost prohibitive, the spot where our garage sits is our best option. we are locked in on all other sides by a pool, a creek, and a pie-shaped lot. we can park several cars in our huge driveway, so it's really the storage and resale that concern me. we are in cal.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:39PM
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Both of your concerns would be mine too. Since you have a large driveway, can you add another garage to existing one?

Out of curiosity I did a search for "garage conversion", both web and images. There are a lot of sites with discussions and ideas. One of the points made was when converting, the driveway ends up right at the conversion and looks a bit out of place....obvious the garage was converted.

Try a search both on the web and here on GW. May be some good answers.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:41AM
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I would not be without a garage here in Minnesota. Did it for a couple of years and hated it. Nice to have the additional storage space, too. One house I lived in had an attached double garage; when we found the plans for the house, we found they had allotted room for a third stall perpendicular to the existing two, behind the existing garage. That might have made a good room or at least storage/utility space. Could you do something like that?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Here in FL a lot of people convert garages, and most of them don't look good. One option is to retain the garage door, and a small area behind it as a 'shed'. People often do this to avoid building inspectors, since you can't tell from the outside that anything was changed. I wouldn't consider a house without a garage or workshop, but that's just me. Our old house was very small, and we were going to convert the garage, then build a free-standing garage in the side yard. As it turned out, we would have had to apply for a variance, and we would have wound up with the most expensive house in the neighborhood (not a good thing). So, we moved- problem solved. Make sure you consider whether you'll be 'overbuilding' the neighborhood. In our case, it was more cost-effective to move.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 3:23PM
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We have lived without garages in most places. The cars get wet, no biggie. Depends if you really want a workspace. But then, we now have a 2 car garage and it is filled with stuff, so the cars get wet. Sigh.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:23PM
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thanks for all your feedback. if we do any type of addition we will be the most expensive- in fact we already are due to the size of our lot. our real estate agent advised against losing the garage for resale purposes, and that is what i am hearing from the majority here. just seriously itching for more space!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 12:21AM
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We have a one-car garage, which is good for either parking one car or for storage, but not both. Since we live in AZ the weather isn't much of a factor. We enclosed the back half of the garage and made it a guest room, and the front half is storage/workshop area. We raised and leveled the sloped floor with framing, cut back the rails to the shortest we could and still fully open the garage door, and framed in the wall between the two rooms. The garage was already drywalled and insulated and had ventilation. We also put in a window for egress.

Should we ever decide to sell, re-converting the space into a garage is simply a matter of taking down one wall and removing the flooring frame, so it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. Personally, I think people would rather have the living and storage space than the tiny and rather useless single car garage.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 5:43PM
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I would not get rid of the garage - most people want one,(including us) if only for storage. And you say you already are the most expensive house, you are making it tough for resale down the road unless you don't think you ever want to move. If your house is too small, it would be better just to move and get what you need.

JMO, of course.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 5:18PM
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