Case study # 1 – Replacing the garage with a two story extension

A family of six with four children from newborn to preteen, needs more space for a new main bedroom and bathroom. Their current situation is that they’ve outgrown their house and some of the rooms are too small (kitchen, bathroom and laundry-room). They plan to finance an extension in part by building a rental apartment in the basement.

In their current situation they have a double carport/ garage at the side of the house, which they consider repurposing into rooms for living in.

A close up of the situation between the house and the carport, to the left. As you see the roofs are nearly overlapping each other, and the carport is two steps down from the main house.

The inhabitants also wish to transform their house so it gets a more modern expression, and tone down the huge fascia boards. The neighbour’s house, which you see on the picture above, was pointed out as an example of what they like.

The solution

Instead of using the old garage, I suggest tearing it down and replacing it with a two story building structure. The extension is separate from the main house, but connected with a sort of passage on the first floor – as shown on the illustrations to the right. The existing building (illustration below) is simplified by removing the window lattice and the fascia boards are made less dominant by having all the panel vertical.

The roof is slanted away from the main house and the fascia board are kept to a minimum to give a more modern expression, without making too great a contrast.

The original floor plan is on the drawing underneath. The new ground floor plan, with the one-bedroom apartment is to the right.

The kitchen, laundry room and bathroom are all made a little larger. The small apartment on the ground floor will get its own entrance away from the main entrance. These rooms might be incorporated into the main house if the family needs more space at a later time (when their children become teenagers or young adults). For instance; the small bedroom, in the upper right corner, can be included in the main house as an extra bedroom or a larger laundry room. Or, the whole apartment can be used by a member of the household instead of being rented out. The doors that support this flexible usage must be fire-resistant and sound proof according to the building regulations.

By building the extra apartment on the ground floor instead of squeezing it into the basement – where the ceiling is too low and there isn’t sufficient daylight – they get a much more attractive place to rent out. They also get a better solution for the new master bedroom, which is on the first floor near the children bedrooms, instead of on the ground floor where they would have to walk across the entrance area or laundry room to enter their room.

The original first floor plan is shown below. Later there’s been added another bedroom in the lower right corner. The small toilet was never built. The new first floor plan is to the right.

Instead of the little toilet I suggest a sort of passage connecting the main house with the rest of the extension. The inhabitants are anxious to avoid the impression of a corridor, so I suggest the space be furnished as a well lit library with a workspace/ home office, as illustrated in the drawing above. The master bedroom is big enough for a walk-in closet, or, if they prefer, a nursery, in the inner part of the room.

I’ve designated a so called dynamic room on both main floors, which can be made suitable for one or more of the following functions; guest-room, gym, playroom, computer-room for the older children, or storage.

The family wanted to shield the garden at the western part of their site. Therefore the extension is adjusted to the perimeter of the site to the north, as shown on this illustration. The lighter color indicates the new building structures. To replace the garage I suggest a single carport or garage where there’s a “C” on the map.

This solution is dependent on getting acceptance from the neighbours, since it is closer to the border than 4 meters.

If the neigbours should refuse there’s still a chance to get it accepted by the municipality. Because the existing double garage is actually on top of the borderline, the chances are fairly good.