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Not Just for a Car Anymore: 7 Considerations for Renovating or Building a New Garage

The renovation revolution is in full swing! Boring bathrooms have evolved into health and beauty spas, traditional kitchens are interactive family experiences, and banal bedrooms have turned into luxurious master suites – so it’s no surprise that the former carriage house, once just a place to park your car, is now a natural extension of your home. Today’s garage remodels are complete with everything from game rooms and home offices, to entertaining spaces.

Homeowners in SE Oakland County are eager to expand and upgrade their existing garages, or build new ones from scratch. But they are often overwhelmed by the many design choices, wide range of budgets, and numerous construction concerns. So here are several considerations for creating a useful living, working, and playing space for you and your family by transforming what was once an afterthought into hundreds of additional indoor or outdoor square feet of terrific living. 

Consideration 1: Know Your Requirements and Limitations

Local zoning requirements set by your city – and homeowners’ association (HOA) if you’ve got one – will set limits to what you can renovate, expand, or build from the ground up. A proven remodeling company should help guide you through this process, which can be complicated and include such factors as the required setback distance from the street or side of the property, and other limitations, such as height. Some HOAs even specify styles, materials, and colors used. 

Aesthetically, ensure any architectural changes you make to your garage match the look and feel of your home. Will this be a new garage or a garage renovation?  If new, consider the overall aesthetic and curb appeal.  Does the garage face the street?  If so, there are many gorgeous doors available today to pair with your home’s architecture.   

Consideration 2: Identify Your Family’s Garage Needs and Expectations

Room Addition in Bloomfield Hills, MIOnce familiar with the requirements and limitations, now’s the time to answer the “Why?” behind your desire for a garage project. The answers depend on you and your family’s needs and expectations for the garage upgrade: One car, two, or more? Do you need additional storage space? Want to take advantage of extra square footage to create more living spaces, such as gaming, play, and work areas? Is home resale value an important factor? 

From here, dive into the specifics: What kind of living spaces do you wish to embed, and how many square feet will you need? Will you require areas separated from the cars, maybe even a second floor? Some homeowners take advantage of the extra space to create laundry rooms, home entertainment centers, even en-suite living quarters. Your answers will help decide whether or not your existing garage can be expanded, or if you need a whole new build. 

Consideration 3: Expand an Existing Garage or Building a New One?

Work closely with your design build contractor to compare your vision of an ideal and in-budget garage upgrade with what currently stands. The benefit of working with what you already have is cost, timing, and minimal disruption to your property. Existing garages can be expanded with room additions, wall partitions, and upgraded fixtures, appliances, and materials. The obvious downsides are fixed layout, structure, and style, which offer limited flexibility and design options. 

Although more costly, building a new garage from scratch empowers you to design a new and exciting layout to your exact specifications, including additional space for more cars, a second floor that could contain another bedroom, gaming, and work areas, etc. Building a whole new detached garage also enables you to place it anywhere on your property or offers the option of being attached to your home.

Consideration 4: If Building a New Garage, Attached or Detached?

An attached garage is physically connected to your home. One major pro includes comfort and ease of access, especially useful in bad weather. Lower construction costs, and more yard space may also result. However, an attached garage might also be more challenging to build when you have an older home, creating a more intricate design.

A detached garage is built physically apart from your home. The pros of this choice include more flexibility in terms of space, layout, and design, increased privacy and reduced noise, smells, and pollution from cars and working environments, and a better fit on narrow lots; the cons include having to walk outside to get to your car regardless of the weather, reduced yard space, typically higher costs than an attached garage, and in some cases HOA restrictions. 

Consideration 5: Choose Materials Thoughtfully

Another key decision point is partnering with your design-build contractor to select the best and most cost-effective materials. Quality, utility, and prices cover wide ranges. As a rule of thumb, finishes will help dictate budget.  Exterior finishes range from aluminum, Hardie Board siding to brick and stone.  Doors, windows and the main garage doors will also be available in a wide range of prices.  Interior finishes may be as simple as drywall and cement floor to a completely customized living space. 

Fundamental materials, such as insulation, plumbing, and electrical are dependent on your needs. Outlets will always be necessary, but quantity and distribution are based on appliances, tools, and other devices you include. Running water and radiators could also be extremely useful and even necessary.  You may want to heat and cool the space as well.  

Consideration 6: Embed Functional Areas and Components

Expanded surface area and increased living space opens up a plethora of possibilities, from storage through living, work, hobby, and game environments. Garages tend to be classic choices for “Man Caves” and “She Sheds,” perfect places for either you or your mate to get away from it all, and enjoy the privacy of being away from the rest of the family to enjoy quiet time with your own interests. Work benches and gaming areas perform similar functions. 

Wall spaces can also be used to create storage shelves, and vertical extensions of work and play areas. And don’t forget lighting and other ambient effects, programmable LED fixtures and similar “smart appliances” as contemporary high tech additions to traditional low tech garages. Many Detroit area homeowners have even included sophisticated sound systems and other accouterments to make their garages more like some of the best rooms back in the house. 

Consideration 7: Partner with MainStreet Design Build

MainStreet Design Build is a full service, design-build remodeling firm dedicated to creating a luxurious end-to-end experience through personal care, accountability, timeless design, and exacting attention to detail. Voted the #1 remodeler in Detroit, and #2 general contractor in all of Michigan, for over 30 years MainStreet’s in-house design team, staff of carpenters, and deep bench of skilled tradesmen have made the renovation process comfortable, enjoyable, and safe. 

Having produced elegant results that transform remodeling dreams into stunning and functional garages, MainStreet Design Build is the #1 choice for discerning homeowners in Southeast Oakland County who value a high level of comfort and trust in knowing that their home remodeling project will be done RIGHT. Browse our luxurious gallery of award-winning local renovations, and quickly schedule a virtual design consultation. Let’s partner today! 

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