Everyone who’s ever gone through a renovation project knows that you need space to operate. I’m talking about a garage, carport, barn, shed, or basement. Now with minimal thought you probably understand what I’m getting at: you need a place for supplies, tools, material, and equipment to keep them secure (so they don't walk off) and protected from the weather. In addition to that you want to keep your environment somewhat organized and who wants to waste a bunch of time moving things around. The value of this type of extra space on a renovation project may be immeasurable. If you’re renovating a home and you don’t have this type of area to utilize, you’ll wish countless times that you had it. Furthermore, if you do have this extra square footage to make use of, you’ll probably take it for granted. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and the Detached Garage at the Bungalow exemplifies how my approach has shifted slightly over the years. For the reasons described above, I put this sub-project at the top of my list and at the front of my schedule before everything else.
|Before - The roof leaked badly and the place was jammed full of junk.|
Let me say that it’s easy to demo an old building and start over from scratch. However, it can also be wasteful (haste makes waste). In rebuilding the Detached Garage at the Bungalow, I wanted to save and reuse what had value and rid the property of what was not useful or simply beyond repair. This is not all about saving trees and doing what's best for the environment. Although that's really important, there's practical wisdom behind this approach (which I'll write about in better detail another time). Anyway, what I started with was, in essence, a crudely built pole barn that sloped slightly from front to back. I took everything down to the concrete slab and the nine wooden posts that made up the most integral part of the framing system. From there I rebuilt it to something useful and of value.
|During - It was a great little project... like working inside even though I was outside.|
I did all the work myself because I could, I wanted to, and I knew I’d really enjoy taking it on and knocking it all out. The framing, roofing, fiber cement siding, vinyl soffitt, painting - that's all me. However, I did pay someone to install the garage doors. When I look back and remember this little sub-project, the thing I’ll remember most is the site where I was working because for me it was idyllic. I wasn’t on the beach, next to a peaceful lake, or on the top of a mountain, but I was tucked back behind The Bungalow in a densely populated neighborhood in our city engulfed in nature. I was surrounded by people, traffic, and the busy world but alone in a setting that was dominated by grand trees, colorful birds, and active squirrels. And because of the canopy of trees forty or fifty feet overhead it felt like I was working inside even though I was outdoors. It was great and I totally loved it.
|After - I made good use of this 500+ sqft. area from the beginning of the project to the end.|
So, if you’re a home renovator and you have room to work from, appreciate it. If you’re in the market for a project house, keep the need for spare space in mind from the start. And, as always, don’t be too quick to pass up on those Pig’s Ears you come across. Look at the pictures of the Detached Garage. This thing was a wreck. But after I was finished…