This Space for Rent

Perhaps it’s time for a silk purse

Our house came with an old two car garage (20x25 20x21 feet, more or less) which had seen better days before previous owners had

  1. ripped out the windows and stuffed wooden folding door panels in to replace them
  2. hacked a large chunk out of the front so they could replace one of the car doors with a couple of flimsy plywood doors suitable for campers or small diesel locomotives.
  3. Let the back rot out, and then crudely hammered plywood over the rotten beadboard on the walls.

The elegant dip in the roof (and corresponding bulging forward of the front wall) is courtesy of the new flimsy plywood doors and the teeny detail that when those doors were put in they cut the truss holding the front of the garage in half, then propped the stub up with 4 ganged 2x4s. It hasn't fallen down yet, but that's only because it's tucked away where the wind can't get at it.

We only have one car, and we never park it in the garage (in Portland? With global warning? You have got to be kidding), so there's not much point in rebuilding it as a garage. We could tear it down and have a 30x50 backyard, which would be nice, but once we tear the structure down the zoning laws will make it very difficult to put up again, so I was thinking that the thing to do would be to remove the roof, put a couple of floors in, put the roof back with a couple of shed dormers, and use it as a small studio/office that's far from the madding crowd. It's almost tall enough to make a two story structure right now, so if I took off the roof, raised it about a foot, and rebuilt it the second floor would be the right size for a cozy little studio. (It would be even cozier if I stripped it down to the studs and rebuilt it as a straw-bale insulated structure, which is what I'm thinking; it would make a nice place to retrench to on these hothothot summer nights when the heat overcomes the insulation in the big house.)

If I left one bay as a garage I would have room to set up a small shop (with a straight run to the street, so long pieces of wood would not have to navigate around corners to reach their doom) and I could convert it into a room at a later date.

We'd lose the garage, but Chateau Chaos is not exactly what I'd call chock-a-block full of modern amenities anyway. I'd rather have a little detached workspace/guest cottage than a garage, and it's small enough to build without going over the $10k/$25k "we're going to reassess you and charge you US$10k/year in property taxes!" limit.


Heckuvan idea.

The place away from the madding crowd sounds very appealing.

But right now, if things in Portland are anything like Vancouver(notWashington), I bet that insulation from the heat thing is the deal closer.


RossK Sun Jul 23 21:46:55 2006

It’s either that or fleeing to the country. There’s also a large concrete slab in front on the garage that I have to remove, because right now it’s just a huge nasty thermal mass that dumps heat into the surrounding buildings until around midnight. I think the order of construction will be to first dismantle the broken parts of the garage, then build replacement and additional parts, and then after I’ve cleared the construction yard to jackhammer the stupid driveway.

I was going to use the driveway as a source of rubble to build a rubble-trench foundation for the shed, but the people I’ve asked for quotes on removing it have been extraordinarily slow at replying. So I’ll just use existing slabs of concrete to build four piers, and I’ll screen in under the structure to keep larger vermin out.

David Parsons Mon Jul 24 14:14:58 2006

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