Do you prefer to go out or stay in? Is your decision based on personal preferences, aesthetics, or situations that are inflexible?
As you can imagine there are two sides for each, when talking about garages that is!
In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, carriage houses and barns began popping up as structures separated from the home.
Carriage houses started as a need for the wealthy to keep their carriages indoors, often sharing the space with some horses.
Barns stood to symbolize hard work and traditions for its owners. They were used to house animals, and store hay in their lofts.
Some barns were used as farm factories containing equipment or even considered as the heart of the farm; they hosted dances or
became a prayer gathering place. However, owners became frustrated with the smell of their vehicles and soon erected public garages
off-site from the home. Then, realizing it was inconvenient to have their vehicles a distance away, architects determined the need to
attach a space in or near the home to hold a car and other contents.
Today, Carriage houses are more elaborate, styled to match the main house and created with a second floor living space
above them. A typical 3-car carriage house has an apartment above it with 1 bedroom, 1 bath, and kitchenette. In some cases, it is rented
as income or used for guests. It is also advantageous to have if you have an at-home business or career as a writer or artist in need of
personal/private space. The exterior is adorned with detailed woodwork, and craftsmanship of barn-like doors is storybook-like in appearance.
Barns these days are kept on the farms, and homes replace their purpose with garages that hold cars and multiple contents,
and the only horses kept in them belong on Ferrari’s and Mustang’s. Upscale garages have colorful aluminum cabinets concealing all
their contents in a somewhat sterile appearance, and often have a workbench that is just for show. They feature bright florescent lighting and
speckled glossy solvent based epoxy flooring or racing check design. Typical middle class garages have shelving, peg boards, and vast storage
options. Most garages hold a car, but others serve to collect junk, toys, garden supplies, kid’s bikes, and even some appliances. In smaller
homes, the garage is often converted into additional living space and permanently closed (sometimes making hard to sell).
Sometimes there are factors that influence what type of garage you may have. If a house is at its maximum building size, owners
may choose tocreate a second structure (provided the property is large enough) for a garage. On the other hand, when a property is not very
large or wide, a garage might be constructed behind the home, with a narrow driveway beside the house leading to it. Some garages are below
the ground with living space above it. In this case, the driveway angles down and retaining walls go up, and complex drainage is required to
prevent flooding and potentially damaging the contents inside the garage. Variances may be required when garage desires fall outside the normal
range of what is accepted.
Another alternative is a carport. These are covered parking spaces with open sides for all to see, and are usually made of canvas,
metal or wood. Canopy models may sometimes have roll-down sides for privacy and obscurity of contents. They are portable, functional, durable,
and inexpensive alternative to storing and protecting a car, boat or RV from the sun and the elements (but not a good idea in a tornado town).
Today’s take on them are more advanced and secure, adding accents to the aesthetic of a home. It is a covered drive-through that attaches a
separated garage to the house. It may be part of the architecture of the home, with bridge above it connecting it to a bonus room over the
garage. It provides a dry place to park with easy access to the house to drop off groceries or allow a gentleman a place to drop off his wife
and children for ease to enter the house.
I write this after having the fortune of being attached and unattached in two of my four houses in my lifetime, and might I add whether
you want to live attached or unattached, they both have perks and/or advantages. Usually they are equipped with electric door openers,
although some may still have (old fashioned muscle builder) pull-down doors. Both can be configured with heating, although for the
homeowner who comes home on a cold night, stepping out from a warm car into a heated garage is a bit disadvantaged if they must go
outside before entering the house. But in favor of the unattached garage is the fact that gas/exhaust fumes are less likely to permeate the house.
Thus, no matter which you prefer, both are sufficient and have no bearing in the success of a garage sale.