Taking Over the Castle

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52 Responses

  1. Avatar zic says:

    Welcome Becky!

    Me? I’m not articulate with my thoughts like the hubby. I ramble on and get lost and can’t remember what we were talking about.

    This wonderful post leads me to think you underestimate yourself.

    Wonderful coffee table. And THE LAWN MOWER! I’m so proud of you!Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Awesome. We have a friend who has not only a garage but *THE* garage. It could hold two Hummers or four Yarises (Yarii?) and he doesn’t keep cars in it at all.

    It has his tools, his wood stove, his fridge, and his handmade 10-man poker table.

    I do not have a garage. It really only bothers me on mornings that I need to scrape. But, sometimes, when I stand in my bud’s garage, I feel envy.Report

    • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Jaybird says:

      I want more tools! A handmade 10-man poker table – pictures, I must have pictures! Sounds amazing.

      I have a board on Pinterest named Garage Envy filled with things that make my heart go pitter-patter.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

      My dad’s is bigger.
      Then again, it used to be a barn.
      He kept a limosine and a roadster in there (plus the tools to completely rebuild a car from scratch).
      The truck stayed out front, along with the three other cars…
      (my car was a POS, but at least I got a car!).Report

  3. We have a garage for one car (well, two if you park one behind the other) and zero cars in it. Clancy really wants us to get to the point that we can put a car in the garage, but since we don’t have any attic space I’m not sure it’s going to happen. We actually have room for up to four cars in the driveway – without any cars blocking other cars – though.

    The people who lived in the house before us apparently never even got to use the nice basement.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Excellent piece. Thank you. Some really stimulating food for thought.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Basements are for all the crap. Garages are for cars. Sadly I was unable to convince my (now) ex that the garage should be for the convertible sports car (third car) used only on nice days 🙂Report

    • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Damon says:

      Yes, basements are for all the crap. No wait, NO CRAP! I’m ruthless when it comes to getting rid of stuff. My dad doesn’t understand, “you might need that someday.” Might being the operative word. If I truly need it someday I’ll borrow or rent it. If it’s something I need or use often it gets a place honor. It’s really that simple.

      Of all the things people cram into their garages, a convertible truly belongs in there.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Damon says:

      Pretty much no basements in a typical Southern California house.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

      I miss living near the water. I grew up near it, so it will always feel more “natural” to me. But one thing I love about living away from the water is that it seems that the further you get from water, the more prevalent basements become.Report

      • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Will Truman says:

        If by basement you mean a nicely, finished space, then I’m all for it.

        I grew up with old, dark, dank basements. Spaces that looked at home in a horror moving. The stuff nightmares are made of.

        But if armed with enough Raid bug spray and bright lighting, one can transform the dungeon into something wonderful. A workshop, a storage area, or a nice spot to kick back, drink beer and watch some HGTV!Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    I enjoyed this. Thank you.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    What do you do if the other half both refuses to participate in the maintenance upkeep of a space AND refuses to abide by your expectations for its use upon you annexing it?Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    The current garage is a two car tandem (if your cars are both Cooper Mini’s), and is not acceptable as a shop space. In a couple of years, we hope to buy some land on Whidbey Island and then I intend to go pick up some used shipping containers (4-6 of them, ideally) and combine them into my dream shop!Report

  9. Avatar aaron david says:

    Hmm, my wife parks her car in half, and I get the other half. (Technically, by the terms of the marriage I get the whole, but my current largess is appreciated.) My half? Two welders, a drill press, vintage motorcycles, a table saw and I am thinking of building a boat in there. That is what a garage is for.Report

    • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to aaron david says:

      You had me at two welders and a drill press! Of course I’d likely burn off a limb if I attempted to weld anything, but a girl can dream.

      In lieu of an actual workshop (barn, old shipping containers, etc.) the garage shall fulfill this need. I think that’s in the Bill of Rights, though it’s possible our illustrious countrymen may have failed to mention it.Report

  10. Avatar Zane says:

    @becky-gunderson Very nice essay. It’s interesting how hard it can be to let go of what seems “traditional” even when those patterns don’t fit very well. And how letting go can be more a process than a decision.

    My husband and I live in a snowy climate. Both our cars fit in our garage, though it can be a tight fit sometimes. I’d prefer to move all the rakes, shovels, etc. and pitch it all. I’m of the “garages are for cars” school. This is our first home with a garage, and it is such a luxury not having to scrape ice and snow on a winter morning.Report

    • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Zane says:

      Oh yes, letting go was probably one of the bigger process challenges we’ve faced. If it were just a simple decision peace and merriment would have reigned long, long ago.

      I grew up in Wisconsin. I recall negative temperatures and ice on the car so thick you couldn’t see inside. Chipping away at it in the foolish hopes that before you passed out you’d have cleared enough space to see. Praying the key wouldn’t break in the lock and that perhaps the car gods would smile upon you that day and allow the engine to turn over. And if you were super-duper lucky the car would be warm before arriving at your destination.

      I’m so happy you have a garage, it is a luxury! Enjoy.Report

  11. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I found this amusing to read, because just last night I decided to spend this weekend — and the summer if need be — clearing out my garage, which is filled not just with junk (the detritus of two moves, never unpacked. Clothes meant to be donated, but never sorted. Boxes of books that lack shelf space and, given the large numbers of packed bookshelves, I will never actually shelve — and frankly aren’t good books, or they’d already BE in my house on shelves. And honestly, I have a KIndle now and I love it so much).

    Furniture we like but have no place for, some furniture I meant to make small repairs to before donating to family….old toys, often broken.

    In short, junk that should be thrown away, donated, or sold (I plan to cart the books to Half Price Books or sell them as a mass lot on Ebay. I can’t bring myself to toss books in the trash unless they’re unreadable). And I’m tired of it cluttering up my garage, and I need to sweep the place up and get rid of cobwebs from inaccessible corners and such.Report

    • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Morat20 says:

      I love your ambition and willingness to take all summer, if needed, to tackle this project. I hope for your sake it doesn’t take three months. Even I would find it difficult to sustain the energy and enthusiasm to do that, and I LOVE organizing!

      Fortunately it sounds like you know what needs to be done and that’s half the battle.

      Take pictures, lots and lots of pictures. You’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in just a few hours! Also, photographic proof of your effort is a great motivator to keep going when you want to call it quits. Good luck and let me know how it goes.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Becky Gunderson says:

        That’s a comment about laziness, the taking all summer. That’s literally “I will sort one box a weekend. I will commit to that. It will take me all summer to get through the garage if I do it that way, but it’ll eventually get done”.

        I could do it in a weekend or two. But I am lazy. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

      Uggh, with the recent move into the new place, we’ve had to start being ruthless in our purging. The intent was to do it during the last two moves, but the first one fell apart when my father-in-law died a week before the move, and the second planned purge never happened because our son came along. Instead of just dumping everything into the garage, this time we rented a storage space, so we have a financial motivation to purge as soon as possible.

      I think our goal this year is to donate so much of our old stuff that we can itemize it on our taxes.Report

      • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Sorry for the loss of your father-in-law.

        Ruthless purging is THE way to go! And, if you need a financial incentive, like renting a storage unit, then go for it. I personally would cry every month when paying that bill! All that money that could be spent on making the garage even spiffier.

        Congratulations on your son! A future garage cleaner. Train em’ when they’re young 😉Report

  12. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    Nice! Good work 🙂Report

  13. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    Oscar, you Cheesehead you. Hiring pros to do the installation?! Clearly you’re smarter than the average Bear’s fan (hahahah – sorry, I don’t get out much).

    I grew up in Milwaukee, Waterloo, and Watertown. As an adult I lived in Sun Prairie and Madison. I miss the Mad City, but not enough to welcome winter back into my life.Report

  14. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    Oh yes, I’ll be employing the services of professionals to install the new system(s). Have the first estimate appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning.

    Questions for Aaron David (or anyone with knowledge in this area): any particulars I should inquire about regarding a furnace and/or air conditioning unit? Opinions or advice on the home systems available today? Any I should avoid?
    Thanks!Report

  15. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    @aaron-david any particulars I should inquire about regarding a furnace and/or air conditioning unit? Opinions or advice on the home systems available today? Any I should avoid? Thanks!

    (Just learned the protip of using the “@” symbol, sorry for not employing it sooner.)Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Becky Gunderson says:

      @becky-gunderson
      As always, get at least 3 bids and make sure they all have airflow analysis for each room. If you have two stories, you really want a separate system for each floor, at they actually have different climates. As for brands, they are all really pretty good at this point, just remember that it is better to go over on the tonnage just a bit rather than down. (AC units are rated in tons of air they can handle, and the tonnage will be relative to the overall heat load of your home.)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to aaron david says:

        Also, unless you are out in the boonies, you may have HOA or city rules regarding noise, placement, screening, etc that are not part of building codes. A good contractor will be familiar with the local rules, but do your homework & make sure you know them as well.Report

      • Avatar Becky Gunderson in reply to aaron david says:

        @aaron-david Thank you. I didn’t know I’d need an airflow analysis per room, that’s good stuff! Fortunately we’re a single story home with less than 1,800 sq ft. Thanks again. 🙂Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to aaron david says:

        @becky-gunderson
        Every room is a different size, and they all have different windows with varying amounts of sun. Also, each room has a different facing, meaning the sun hits it a different times of the day, requiring a different calc. to get the numbers right. Also, you want someone who will understand the pressures needed to keep a comfortable environment. (Hospitals in CA have negative pressure to keep air inside, for example.)

        Oh, I misremembered one thing I wrote earlier. Tonnage refers to the BTU’s a unit will push, not the amount of air. Sorry, its been a long time since I thought about this.

        Feel free to get my email from Tod or Burt and send me questions directly if you need too.

        I hope this helps!Report

  16. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    @oscar-gordon no HOA and we want a quieter unit (Alvin’s a party animal!). Thanks for the tips. I’ll research the local laws and quiz the contractors – hahaha!Report

  17. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    @aaron-david yes, your info is extremely helpful! Thank you.Report

  18. Avatar Becky Gunderson says:

    @morat20 a box a weekend is better than doing nothing at all. And maybe you’ll be inspired to tackle two or three boxes. It’s totally worth it, just keep at it.Report

  19. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    This was a great read!

    As part of a densification effort, our city has just blanket re-zoned almost the whole place to allow ‘garden suites’ – i.e. a small house in the back garden of an existing house, possibly but not necessarily built as a second storey above a garage. We’re considering doing this. I’m a bit (okay, a lot) of a cheapskate, so the idea holds some terror for me…

    Our current garage really isn’t much of a prize as a “domain” – if we leave it a few more years we could probably accomplish the demolition without needing of a sledge hammer.

    It looks like any such project is going to have to be postponed somewhat – we’re going to need to use the garage as a staging storage space for a while to accomplish some more urgently required basement renovations.Report