Full Frontal Garage

Some houses – especially newer ones – appear to be more garage than house.  In the early 20th century when cars were still coming of age, they were stored away in a garage at the back of the lot just as horses and carriages had been in prior decades.  Garages were understood to be secondary to the main house and far too utilitarian in nature to emphasize unduly.

Times change.  With cars now more numerous and a virtual necessity of life, their storage needs have taken on a new prominence… often aesthetically to the detriment of entire neighborhoods.  Here are a few examples picked up from real estate listings and Google Street View.


Storage units for rent or homes for sale? You decide.  Image credit: Google Street View.


Scale issues.  Image from zillow.com.


You never have a second chance to make a first impression.


This one I kind of like!


A two-story house attempts to peek over the garage.  Image from zillow.com.


House and garage are compatibly non-descript.  Image from zillow.com.


I know what to do! Let’s emphasize our garage doors with a bright white finish!  Image from zillow.com.


Gables attempt to break the monotony of a street lined with garage doors.  Image credit: Google Street View.


Whoever lives in this garage must be pretty important! The owner got Google to blur the property.  Image credit: Google Street View.


This concludes our tour… thanks for coming along!  Image from zillow.com.



6 Responses to Full Frontal Garage

  1. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog (I came here from Restoring Ross’s blog). But I already know that I will love reading your blog too, because I feel exactly the same way about the “garage house.” Ack. I told my husband when we were house-hunting that I would never live in a house like this. I wanted a neighborhood with front porches and sidewalks, because that’s a livable neighborhood to me. We have neighborhood folks up and down the sidewalk constantly, walking their dogs, visiting other folks, or just traveling through on the way to the library or the pool. Earlier this morning, we sat on the front porch with our coffee and waved at the other neighbors who were doing the same. Garage houses are so isolating. I think they discourage community, rather than promoting it.

    • Thanks, Barb! (And thank you, Ross, for the plug!). Congrats to you and your husband for shunning these de-humanizing houses when house-hunting. They are indeed, as you point out, isolating and anti-community. I do not post as frequently as Ross, but I hope to post more often later this summer. At the moment I’m transitioning from one house to another. I hate moving. Or, as you would say, Ack!
      Welcome aboard!

  2. One of my pet peeves! We are preparing to build an attached garage on to the rear of our 1880s Queen Anne, and are working with the contractor/designer to come up with something that looks as close to the original house as possible. Of course, the doors will be on the rear so that you can’t see them from the street. An older 1870s frame house a few blocks away was recently “rehabbed”, and the huge garage they built on the side is one of the worst of many mistakes they made. And BTW on that next to last picture; Google didn’t blur it, the house actually looks like that. It is some sort of new paint process from Benjamin Moore, called “faux-blur”. It’s a multistep process, I think they use wads of recycled foam… 🙂

    • Sorry one of your neighbors added a side garage… hopefully you don’t have to drive by it too often. Very happy to hear your house will be treated with dignity when gaining a garage. Good luck with your project and welcome to my blog! Goin’ to the paint store now to get me some of that Faux-Blur….

  3. I also despise the garages with houses hiding behind them. I really even prefer rear detached garages with alley access so the front yard isn’t blighted even by a driveway, but so far all the homes we’ve owned have been on lots with no alley, so have narrow front driveways to back yard garages, which is not bad. Our current house was built in 1913 withour even a garage or driveway, but both were added soon after. I was surprised that even this late, cars were not standard for the middle-class. It would be interesting to look at the car ownership rates between 1910 and 1930. It must have been a drastic jump.

    • No doubt about it… car ownership has changed not just houses but all of our cities. Urban planning revolves around our love of cars. I wouldn’t want to give mine up, but there is no need to uglify the planet for their sake.

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