barn-style garage with paver patio in back
Photo: Judith Bromley
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Living in the Garage

We tried to reuse, sell, or give away as much as possible, since neither of us cared to see good materials waste away in a landfill. The offer of "free" garnered some help removing the carport, patio cover, and awnings. Dennis also lugged several pallets' worth of sandstone slabs from the old foundation to recycle in the new basement's window wells. In the end we dragged out eight tons of lath, plaster, drywall, wiring, and plumbing pipes. Finally, with that done and the new foundation in place, we celebrated the house's return to its original location.

It was a short-lived party, though, as we had to get started on the addition. For months we had been living in a barn-style detached garage we had built in the backyard before starting the main house's remodel. While the 22-by-24-foot structure held our essentials—bed, desk, table, and makeshift kitchen—life there was getting claustrophobic. We had put in a half-bath, but Dennis and I had to make daily treks to the local gym to shower. And while we managed to steam vegetables on a hot plate and heat up most meals in the microwave, I was looking forward to having the use of a full kitchen again. Dennis was also eager to show that he could do all the framing carpentry and siding himself. Of course, obtaining several new top-quality power tools was a necessary first priority!

Shown: The couple takes a well-earned rest. The paver patio sits behind the barn-style garage, where the couple lived during the remodel.
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