How difficult could it be to add a 2 car garage to an existing house? That is the question I asked myself at the beginning of this project. The owner currently had a single car “tuck-under” garage that served the original owner’s needs in the 1930’s, but was lacking in many areas.
Along with adding the garage, there was an entrance to the side of the house that needed attention. The current steps were steep and uneven. In the winter they were dangerous. There was also the fact that a 2 car garage would not fit in the proposed location due to the setback requirements enforced by the city. The 2 large trees were not making thinks easier. Red flags were everywhere. At this point I realized that if I could navigate the city requirements this addition could really improve the function of the house and add significant value to the property. So we forged on….
The exterior of the garage was a challenge because the entire house was brick and matching that would be impossible. So we went with matching the existing limestone on the front of the house around the front door. Did I mention the existing roof was slate tile? Our stone supplier was able to get stone from the same quarry the original limestone was taken out of. Our roofing supplier was able to find reclaimed slate tile for the roof. Our team is awesome!
The final design required a presentation to the City of Des Moines (Board of Adjustment) for final approval. This trip to the city was required because we were going over the setbacks of the property. The good news is that it was approved. We also rented city property across the street to store all of the dirt that was excavated to make way for the garage addition. Now all we had to do was wait for the owner’s approval.
Of course they decided to move ahead! (or I wouldn’t be writing this post) This meant our work could begin. First the large trees were removed and then the concrete retaining wall, stairs and a lot of dirt.
Finally it was time for the new garage foundation walls followed by backfilling with some of the dirt that was removed to cover up the footings that were poured. The retaining wall on the left side of the garage is holding back a lot of dirt.
Framing the walls is when the space really started to take shape.
During the design phase, I realized that there was going to be a lot of empty space in the roof that could be used as a Mud Room. This was something this house really needed.
A view from the front yard. We were required to show the City of Des Moines that this addition would not overwhelm the existing house. The fact that most of the garage was below grade helped to reduce its visibility from the front of the house.
It seemed that every dimension on this project was within inches of the allowed limits. The roof slope had to miss the windows above, the head height of the stairs leading to the side entrance had to be at least 6′-8″high, the exterior of wall of the garage was approved to extend and approved distance over the setback, the floor of the Mud Room had to be at a height to work with the existing house Main Level and allow enough head room to walk below it in the Garage.
Now its starting to look like it belongs there.
Parking area with extra storage and Mud Room above.
We added a planter as part of the retaining wall.
The answer to “How hard could it be to add a garage to an existing house?” is “The word easy was never used during this project.”