Dear PoPville – Building a garage and need a couple contractors

Dear PoPville,

My winter project is to plan the building of our garage, which I’ll be starting this spring. I already have a pretty good idea on how I want my garage to look, but I need contractors to do some of the work, specifically the concrete and electrical. I already have a good roofer, and your recent post on architects ( was very helpful, as I’ll need several sets of plans stamped for the city. I’ll be contacting a few of them over the next week, or if anyone sees this post, and wants to contact me, that would be great also.

PS And if you or anyone else is interested, attached are a couple of Google Sketchup notional drawings, along with some of the details on my project.

Step 1… Will the city even let me build a garage on our property??
YES. I have a 20′ x 140′ lot with alley access, so I have plenty of room in the back to build the garage. I made a trip down to the DCRA office and spoke with them about the limitations on a garage / accessory structure in our zone. Building structures total area including house, porch, deck and garage cannot exceed 60%. Accessory structure cannot be taller than 15′. Setback from alley centerline is 12′, and no side setback limitation. Etc.
I am pulling the DC survey plot next week, as my bank supplied survey will not suffice.

What should my garage look like?
The lot is 20′ wide, so a 16′ wide garage should be good. I want to leave a sidewalk next to the garage for easy access to our backyard and english basement. Length will be 24′ or 26′ to allow for our car, tools, and other storage.

The design should fit with our house. This is not only aesthetically pleasing by functional as well. Having a “Petworth style” garage would give us a shed style roof with no side eaves (like most A-Frame roofs), which take up valuable space on a narrow lot. The garage is south facing, so a dormer window would allow more natural light. I would love to make it brick, but that’s too much $$. Hardie plank siding to mimic wood siding should match the period well enough, not cost too much, and last a lot longer than vinyl siding. The double door on the house side will allow more light, ventilation, and room for furniture or in case I need to get some other equipment into the backyard to fix something.

What else should it have?
Simple ductless HVAC unit so I can work on our car and furniture in some level of comfort. There are cheaper models that heat and cool adequately, but not to the extent a house needs. The 55F – 85F range is enough.
Dehumidifier – for my tools.
Rain collection – to water my wife’s future english garden. (which I know I’ll get roped into helping)
Kegerator, TV,… – to complete my man cave…

Get plans approved by city.

Pour concrete footer and slab. Recommendations please..
Excavation will be a pain.

Frame garage, install window and doors
Thank god for friends who still accept beer and pizza as payment.

Install roof, electrical, HVAC.

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