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Workshop Development #29: LOML is wanting storage in the garage. May be time to rethink the whole shop arrangement.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 1021 days ago 4070 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 28: Stealth gloat. New to me, NIB Central Machinery mortiser. Part 29 of Workshop Development series Part 30: Adding the library wing to the manor... »

I know, I know, I’ve been gone from the blogging for a while now. Life has been happening, lots of stuff going on, not the least of which, my lovely bride is getting the itch to put the car in the garage, not to mention storage for household non perishable goods etc…

Time for rethinking the approach to my workshop… So let’s look at the pros / cons of the options that are available to me…

Keep the shop in the existing garage.
Pros. #1. It’s already set up. #2. No need to pull building permits. #3. Reasonable, but not great space. My 2 car garage IS small. #4. Ductwork for portable A/C already out there. #5. Non car storage can be put into a small shed, meaning less $$ to spend.
Cons. #1. LOML wants to store her car, and the freezer out there. #2. Other storage in the house has to end up in the attic. #3. Too easy for LOML to just wander out from the kitchen door and stop what I am doing to get on her schedule…

Move the shop to a dedicated outbuilding.
Pros. #1. Completely separate building. Less LOML intrustion to feed the cats etc sort of thing… #2. Isolates the noise from the house better. (additional insulated walls, and some distance between the shop and the house). #3. Frees up the garage for vehicle and other misc storage. Frees up garage for LOML’s potting / gardening tasks. No more potting soil on my jointer! #4. If built on skid foundation, can be moved when we move. Truly plug and play shop. #5. Totally dedicated space, no flower pots, tents, lawn mowers or coolers in there. #6. A gambrel barn design can give me loft storage for additional materials and less frequently used tools. #7. Smaller interior volume means less HVAC and air filtration needed. #8. New construction means I can build in energy efficient windows, insulation, radiant barriers and proper ventilation BEFORE I have to tear stuff out to add it.
Cons. #1. Much more expensive to build out. And money is tight. However the plan otherwise still calls for a storage shed to keep lawn and garden stuff, as well as my woodworking / auto related flamables in. #2. Permits from the city building department. Staying in the garage means only having to pull an electrical permit. An outbuilding over 120 sq/ft means a building permit, AND an electrical permit. #3. MUCH less space. #5. Would need to rethink HVAC to insure ample floor space. #6. A 12×16 shed would be a big box in a little back yard. I have a deck back there that is 16×16, and it needs to go, so I am hoping freeing up that space will make the shed make more sense… #7. No matter where I place it, a shed that size would be in the direct line of sight from at least 2 of the back windows. #8. 12×16 footprint, and gambrel roof design would require special waiver from HOA Architectural Control Committee. Thankfully there is precedent within several hundred feet of my home that can be easily shown with Google Earth…

So those are the pros, and cons of each approach that I can think of. Anyone have any that I didn’t consider?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com



14 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9609 posts in 1221 days


#1 posted 1021 days ago

Sounds like you hit pretty much everything. There is (likely) a sub-panel in your future with a standalone shop, and getting that service to your new building is either overhead (a pain) or buried (more pain). But that’s reality.

What you’ve laid out above is an approach that says to me, pursue the permits / waiver etc. with the intent of moving forward with an outbuilding. It they go through, you’ve got a year to complete the work (at least around here; local ordinances may vary). If you’re shot down re: permitting/waiver decisions, it means you’re ‘stuck’ in the garage and the discussion would essentially end.

Good luck, let us know what you decide!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1739 days


#2 posted 1021 days ago

Option #3: Move the household to a place out in Katy that has a 3 car garage, or a place south of town with a pole barn out back.

Just kidding.

Mine is a 2-1/2 car detached garage. It holds the wife’s car, the lawnmower, my motorcycle, and my shop. It got cramped when I added a router table and band saw. Even so I’m pretty low on bench space. Actually, I’m low on space around the bench – it sits in a corner. If I’m doing anything significant I park the car in the drive. I would have space for another big tool (lathe) if I got rid of the motorcycle and/or the wife, but I’m rather fond of both of them. Sigh.

Seems to me I saw a magazine article about a professional woodworker that had his entire shop on wheels. When the wife was home her car was in the garage and his shop components rolled up against the walls. When she left for the day it took him about 10 minutes to pull everything out to its working position. And I’ve seen more than one article on someone that has only enough space to store their tools in their garage; everything gets rolled outside onto the drive when they are working with it.

Another approach is to get super-stingy about what you “spend” your shop space on. The fewer different kinds of projects you do, the better you can optimize your space to the remaining types of projects. It can be painful to limit yourself and also painful to carefully optimize your space, but your alternatives are kinda painful in other ways. And think of the impact on your relationship when you tell your wife that you are going to keep packing away your tools until she has the space she needs because, heck, they are nowhere near as important…

-- Greg D.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#3 posted 1021 days ago

I am sooooo not driving the Katy Freeway it’s not funny… I wish funding was where I could afford to get out of the Bay Area and get somewhere like Alvin, Santa Fe, or even Pearland with a couple of acres…. The high cost of living close the water I guess…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3292 posts in 1115 days


#4 posted 1021 days ago

dbhost, that is a tough one, I had already converted my garage before I got into wood working so my choice was easy, one thing you could try and I didn’t say this but the word sneak comes to mind though trying to hide a build that size might be hard but the only thing what would happen is you’d get a flag on your door telling you to halt construction until you pull the permits. I also have a metal carport over my driveway so my truck is out of the weather, like Greg I also ride a harley but it’s parked in the backyard on a covered deck in custom bike garage.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

982 posts in 1613 days


#5 posted 1021 days ago

Let this be known as the day dbhost decided he needed, and committed to acting upon, a detached shop. :)

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#6 posted 1020 days ago

Gadzooks, that is a tough one. Seems to me we were working on this once before. I think you nixed an enlarged garage, and nowhere to put on an extra room anywhere on or in the house.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1739 days


#7 posted 1020 days ago

Ooo, custom motorcycle garage! Sounds not too expensive and moving out my bike would significantly un-cramp my shop. No help for David though.

-- Greg D.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#8 posted 1020 days ago

GregD you are right about one thing, getting out of the thick of the suburbs, and into a more rural setting, would help out. LOML and I were driving out in Alvin yesterday and saw a nice little house for sale, complete with 4 car garage, and a small horse barn on what looks to be about 4 fenced acres… I can drool…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#9 posted 1020 days ago

Pluses and minuses for rural living, especially if you are still working. I have done both, currently I am in the middle of town, and that is the best deal for me. Since I have the equivalent of a four car garage, 2 wide, 2 deep, I don’t complain. In fact, it was one of the main reasons…....... no, it was the main reason, we sold our old house after living there only a year and a half. When we bought the first house here in Anchorage, there wasn’t much available. I immediately missed having space for tools and the bench. There was no way to put a shop on that lot. So when we looked, we also looked closer to work, as well as for shop space. So we have lived here now for 26 years. Close to work, and decent shop area.

As I recall, I don’t think you are willing to do any major construction on that home…....yes…no? Revisit the enlarged garage or an addition. Try some new thinking on it.

I have run underground wire more than once. It is not extremely difficult. Working with an electrician, doing part of it yourself and letting him inspect it and do the final connections sometimes works well, apparently.

But additions to the house add value to the house at resale time. Freestanding shops…......hard to move a big one. When you decide you are ready to buy a new house, perhaps in the country, the shop at the new place will probably be a no brainer. And you just leave the old shop behind and recoup your investment from the sale.

Oh…....and I notice the ads at the bottom of my page are pertinent to our discussion. They are getting pretty crafty here…......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#10 posted 1019 days ago

Expanding the existing garage is a hummdinger. I have 4 feet from the side of the house / garage to the property line, so I can’t go that way, the other direction would cut into the front door / kitchen so that is a no go, and forward would eliminate the driveway, and the HOA wouldn’t go for that in the slightest. So that leaves up… I have a single story home, with Cathedral Ceilings, and a 2 story garage on it would look very odd from the street. I COULD go through the whole thing of building the entire thing up to a full 2 story home, and probably take over where the master bedroom / bath is now as a double depth + extension to the shop, but that would have very diminishing returns. Average home value in my neighborhood is around $150,000.00, there is no sense i pouring $80K into upgrades that I won’t see back…

Working the spreadsheets with LOML, showing her the cost difference between a 10×10 steel shed, which would be fine for lawn and garden, and household extras storage, and (I highballed it to give her sticker shock) a 12×20 9’ ceiling gambrel barn is steering her in a more cost effective direction…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#11 posted 1019 days ago

Here’s hoping you can get something worked out. Remember you will need air conditioning in that shop, so you will need a substantial feed to it…...sounds like a subpanel.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1835 days


#12 posted 1019 days ago

Either way I go, I will have to do a subpanel… At least 60 amps. More likely 100.

I guess I could just go ahead and start in on doing the electrical and insulation work in the garage, and tell her it’s at the point of no return… That may not go over very well, and doesn’t solve a lot of the issues of her thinking it’s a garage still…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

466 posts in 1742 days


#13 posted 992 days ago

Have you considered modular buildings?
I saw a guy on craigslist selling his shop which was just a modular building in a parking lot (not sure how he ran utilities).
The advantages:
-Fewer permits needed (prolly only for extending utilities)
-You can take it with you when you move
-Short to no construction time (you can also buy used)
-Stronger than typical stick framed buildings
Cons:
-Can be more expensive (depending on your shopping skills)
-Less choice in customization. More customization = more cost.
-Site may not have access for delivery of building.

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

466 posts in 1742 days


#14 posted 981 days ago

Here is the CL ad I was talking about.
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bfs/2710186302.html

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