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Old 12-23-2014, 02:05 PM   #29
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WeirdStuff:

Good luck on the build. That home looks fantastic. Love that style. Pictures as you build, please and thank you.
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:23 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by StreaminGuy View Post
...
-seven car basement garage (5 car section is climate controlled, sheet rocked)
-the other separated two car section has 10 foot tall doors for storing camper in, it doesn't have to be winterized. ...

... We can return from camping, hit door opener, pull T/V and Airstream inside, close door, hook up camper, no need to unload fridge, winterize, etc. ...
If my husband reads this, I'm done for. Finished. It'll be Custom House v. 2.0 and another five years of toil for me. The architectural plans will be on the dinner table before I get off work.


We have legal space for four cars inside the garage and six outdoors, for a total of ten, which is unheard of for a suburban property. Not that we own ten - nowhere near it - but we could legally park them on the property if we did own them.

A lot of people don't get this. Their hobbies are things like parasailing and scrapbooking. My husband and I prefer to tear apart houses and cars.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:03 PM   #31
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Looks like a very cool project, and a space you found that was just "meant to be".

Keep us posted.


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Old 12-23-2014, 05:44 PM   #32
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Finding a large garage with a small attached house is not easy. Large garages are usually found with large houses. About seven years ago we were looking for what turned out to be our current house. The house was 2700 square feet with a large two car garage. Not exactly what we were looking for but we really liked the house and the neighborhood. There was also plenty of property to build an additional garage. So we bought it.



Our next door neighbor at that time was the contractor who had built both his house and our house. I told him I wanted to attach a garage but that I wanted it to look like the garage had originally been built with the house. Since this was to be a working garage, we designed it with 12'4" ceilings and thicker concrete to accommodate a two post lift. I also wanted heat and air. It turned out great.



I have done a number of projects in the garage since I retired including a body off restoration of a 1964 Corvette Coupe. My son and I have completed a three LS engine transplants into a couple of Camaro's and an El Camino. Besides the Corvette restoration, our largest job was installing a new rear suspension and tubbing his 1969 Camaro. We also removed the engine in the Ferrari in the photos below to do the timing belt service. I currently have a 1967 Porsche 912 with a 911 motor at a body shop for a full paint job. Always something going on. Being busy is what keeps me sane during retirement. Now I have the AI to tinker with as well. Life is good!!













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Old 12-23-2014, 06:05 PM   #33
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Wow Jerry - that looks like one sweet setup.

When we moved to Maryland in 2009 we settled on a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND), close to our jobs in Washington DC. We wanted a townhouse with no yard work to worry about when we started traveling. TND means narrow streets and little parking on single family homes or no parking on the townhouse lots. Since we didn't want to wait for building we were limited to inventory when we arrived. There were only two townhouses in the development with adequate off-street parking. The one I chose has a long driveway with parking for four vehicles. The driveway is in back alley to keep our AI hidden from all but our near neighbors.


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Old 12-23-2014, 06:05 PM   #34
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Sweet!
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:06 PM   #35
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Finding a large garage with a small attached house is not easy. ... Since this was to be a working garage, we designed it with 12'4" ceilings and thicker concrete to accommodate a two post lift. I also wanted heat and air. It turned out great. ...
That's really wonderful. Especially the height because it gives you so many more options. Unfortunately we have only the standard 8 foot ceiling - severely limiting. Our garage does have sheetrock, a ceiling fan, DirecTV, hot and cold running water, one of the largest Kobalt chests ever made, eight Gladiator cabinets, two windows with custom blinds, a door to a supplemental concreted outdoor work and storage area, a 10-foot custom-made workbench, the mother of all air compressors, and we put in a commercial-grade Wolverine floor ourselves (it's exquisite!). But we don't have the height. We are always going to be limited by that.

BUT, here's the thing: The amount of money it would have taken us to go from 8 foot to 10 or 12 foot would have sent the costs into la-la land. It would have required structural re-engineering and incremental building costs that would have been difficult to justify for our area. So we live with it (for now).

For those of you who may be dreaming about these kinds of garage-mahals, barnominiums, or whatever, here's a brief primer on how it works (according to what I've found - the experiences of others may be different).

In some areas of the country, Houston being one of them, you can still get a semi-custom home for less money than what you'd pay for a falling-down shack in most places in America. Housing prices here are among the lowest in the nation, which is the sole reason we could afford to build what I described above.

However, if you are person or couple with "normal" retirement funds or savings (i.e., some resources but not flat-out wealthy), the sweet spot of price is very often at the point of max'd out SEMI-custom rather than full custom. Once you take that remaining step into the custom realm, you can forget about getting any kind of a deal because you've now entered a different league.

Furthermore, custom is often a cash league, not a mortgage league. Builders can be very reluctant to build custom because they are scared sh**less that the final product will not appraise and they will be stuck with taking a loss as a result. Even in our case with out very unconventional loaded semi-custom, they were terrified of that possibility. We had to put a good percentage down and also reassure them emphatically and repeatedly that IF the house-with-garage-mahal did not appraise, we did not care, because we would be buying it regardless - we would ante up the difference. And we had to prove that we could cash up if it became necessary.

This is largely the reason why so many people live in cookie-cutter tract homes. It's not their faults. They're not totally unimaginative, dull people - they have families and regular jobs and regular incomes and it can be very, VERY expensive to deviate from the normal assembly-line model of 3,000 SF house (which is the Houston suburban standard) plus miserable 400 SF useless garage. They look at our house / garage and say, "Maybe someday I will be able to have something like that..."
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:08 PM   #36
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When ever I talk to realtors about our next home (which will be our "traveling" home, I tell them 4 words - Little House, Big Barn!

My dream home right now is a monitor style barn with a drive thru center section (doors on both ends). It would have wooden doors that slide and have glass doors and screens behind for max light or ventilation when possible. We would live on one side and have the center section for the MH/Trailer and the other side for ours cars and tractors. Garden out back on 10-40 acres lot surrounded by trees for heat. Water and heating systems designed to be winterized in 20 minutes. Solar panels on the top for self sufficiency. The other option is a "butterfly roof" house with most of the area for the barn. It all depends on if we decide to retire to a snowy or warmer weather area.

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Old 12-23-2014, 08:59 PM   #37
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In some areas of the country, Houston being one of them, you can still get a semi-custom home for less money than what you'd pay for a falling-down shack in most places in America. Housing prices here are among the lowest in the nation, which is the sole reason we could afford to build what I described above.
I will second that on Texas housing prices. We lived in Austin for a couple years where I had my last job prior to retirement. There was a tract development directly across I-35 from the manufactured housing plant I ran. I bought a two story, 3400 sq. ft. house for $66 a sq. ft. By the way, this house had a three car garage that was about as small as you could possibly make a three car garage. People with large pickups had to leave them in the driveway as the garage depth was too shallow for them to fit.

At a previous plant I ran we built high end modulars and, by the time you factored in the land, the set up cost, foundations, wells, septic, etc, our dealers could not better that sq ft figure.

It is worth noting that when I ran the Texas plant, we were increasing production and had a very difficult time hiring people. This was just prior to the recession and the unemployment rate in Austin was 3%. We had plenty of applicants but we tried to make sure we only hired legal people. This eliminated about 70% of the applicants. Based on what I saw of the workers who were building the houses in our subdivision, I don't think the builder was quite as diligent in screening their subs. If that was so, it would make a huge difference in their labor cost percentage based on both what the subs salary was and the lack of benefits that had to be paid.
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:13 PM   #38
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BUT, here's the thing: The amount of money it would have taken us to go from 8 foot to 10 or 12 foot would have sent the costs into la-la land. It would have required structural re-engineering and incremental building costs that would have been difficult to justify for our area. So we live with it (for now).
At least for here in NC, getting approval for the 12' plus ceiling basically required going to 2 x 6 sidewalls. So we spent more on lumber, insulation, and the windows and door were a bit higher. The plus side is the extra insulation helps on the energy cost side.

My first lift was a scissors lift which would raise the car about four feet as we only had 8' ceilings in our garage. Back in the late '80's my wife became nervous seeing me work on cars supported with jack stands. She was the one who told me I should get a lift. She and I both used to do track day driving at various road race tracks. When I would go to her and say I was going to do this, this and this to the track car, she would always ask, "Will the car be faster?". When I would say yes, she was all for it. You gotta love a wife like that!!!
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:32 AM   #39
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I recently moved from League City to a custom built home in Clear Lake Shores (TX). Though we did not own the AS at the time, I designed the garage to accomodate a sailboat on a trailer that required a 9 ft garage door. "Stilt" house sits above a 1000+ SF enclosed garage which contains a large shop area, full bath (stall shower), and space to park a boat, the Airstream and a golf cart. I did have the foresight to include a 30 amp outlet and sewer connection in the garage. Wish I had made the garage door 10 ft high...
Yup, given our coastal county location, we considered the stilt house option and the superior garage potential beneath it. The issue in our case was having the right house come on the market because there was little remaining stilt house potential in the area of our school district (we did not rigorously pursue the finding of a develop-able building lot back then). We timed our move such that it would not interfere with our daughter's transition from middle school to high school. Therefore we could not wait for the purposes of picking and choosing.

For a minute I thought you were an Interstate owner rumored to be living in Kemah. I've been told there's one down there (there also is, or was, one in Dickinson). Your trailer is gorgeous. I saw an Argosy heading south down Highway 3 yesterday. That was a first for me.
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:50 AM   #40
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... It is worth noting that when I ran the Texas plant, we were increasing production and had a very difficult time hiring people. ... Based on what I saw of the workers who were building the houses in our subdivision, I don't think the builder was quite as diligent in screening their subs. ....
Yup to that observation as well. We signed our build contract in 2009, quite close to the bottom of the recession, which is the only way that we got all of the options that we wanted (including the garage-mahal). Builders could not afford to pick and choose, and we were one of the few clients who came with a large enough down payment to qualify for a slam-dunk mortgage, because nobody was writing mortgages in 2009 - the whole situation was bonkers. Reportedly, a few new clients walked through our half-built house in early 2010 (by that time, the mortgage market had eased) and they would tell the builder ("When Harry Met Sally"-style), "I'll have what she's having" and the builder would say, "Nope - we're not offering that stuff any longer." It's all about supply and demand.

Regardless of whether the labor is legal or illegal, or whether we're in recession or inflation, I do recommend that folks physically walk through their builds *on a daily basis*. It took almost exactly 100 days to build our house. I believe I checked in on 98 of those days (I was sick when they wired the electrical). I would sometimes bring Starbucks and kolaches (a Texas delicacy) for the tradesmen. On top of that, I hired an independent inspector to verify the construction before they sheetrocked the place, just in case I had missed anything. Needless to say, our work was done very well.
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