Oftentimes garages become extra square footage to house overflow furniture, ride-on lawn mowers and holiday decorations. Tom and Marcy Moore didn't have the luxury of storing cars - and everything else - until now.
Located next to the Blue Heron boat easement and on South Shore Blvd., the Moores' newly completed garage makes a statement.
Tall in stature, with mahogany trim, hand-cut stone work and Northwest-inspired garage doors, the structure in a Craftsman style looks like a new home. But the garage will be housing cars and the occasional house-guest.
Beforehand, the Moores did not have a garage and their driveway was small. Half of their sloped lot was overgrown and unusable.
While the Moores live on Oswego Lake, it is a steep incline down to the water and there was no usable space for their children - and the family dog - to get exercise. Their home is located on a prominent turn on the busy road so creating a space that was flat, safe and functional was key.
'We wanted a full driveway for our kids,' Marcy said. 'They were always cooped up.'
They also wanted a garage for their three cars. The result is a three story structure; a floor for storage, cars and houseguests.
Gary Mimnaugh, owner of GTM Construction Inc. in Lake Oswego, is experienced in building and designing just about everything -from bathroom and wine cellar remodels, new homes and the parking structure at the KOIN Tower in Portland. He recently designed and built the Moore's relative's home across the lake.
'This thing is not going anywhere,' Mimnaugh said of the new garage.
Mimnaugh designed the structure to utilize the left portion of their lot and take advantage of lake views.
'While their house is set back from the lake, from up here the views are incredible,' Mimnaugh said standing within the guest quarters on the third floor. 'It's like it was meant to be really.'
To level off the lot to create a long, flat driveway Mimnaugh and his crew used 100 yards of concrete in the foundation alone. The building - which is wider than it is long - is constructed using a steel frame like a high-rise.
'The floor is suspended by a steel frame. Wood would rot in a situation like this so we just eliminated that whole problem altogether,' Mimnaugh said. 'This isn't any different than a parking structure downtown.'
The lowest level of the garage is built into the downward sloped part of the lot and contains one garage door which opens on the right side of the building to reveal at 34 foot long and 12 foot wide storage space. The room is long enough to fit three, lined-up cars, using the width of the building. No driveway leads to this space.
The middle floor of the garage is where three cars can pull into the building from the driveway. The doors are a work of art.
'These are like the face of a cabinet. This is Western red cedar,' Mimnaugh said.
The doors were custom made, putting a traditional metal garage door to shame.
'They are nice enough to be the front door of someone's house. This is the nicest garage door I've ever seen,' Mimnaugh said, admiring the finish glaze.
From the inside, the garage doors close quietly and then make a snapping noise.
'It locks,' Tom said. 'It's just so nobody can pry it up.'
A staircase leads from there to the third story - an oversized room with exposed beams, a fireplace and spa-like bathroom. The roofline allowed for windows on all sides.
'If I stand back when I'm in this room, it feels like I'm in a tree house,' Marcy said. 'There are just trees out the windows. We're so high up because of the foundation.'
The olive-colored carpeting and wood details make the space cozy, like a lodge.
'I haven't decided what we should do with this space yet,' Marcy said of the vacant room. 'A pool table? It's just kind of fun to have open space right now.'
The bathroom contains top-of-the line Craftsman-inspired light fixtures and tile details.
'Have you ever seen stuff like this in a garage?' Mimnaugh said.
The garage connects to the home by an outdoor covered breezeway.
'Having the kids be able to run around outside is great,' Marcy said. 'We didn't need this but having that driveway is wonderful. And the garage - I can't say enough. It's so cool.'
Her husband agreed.
'I can play fetch with the dog in the driveway,' Tom said.
Mimnaugh has already begun work on their neighbor's house. And is ready whenever the couple wants to tackle the façade of their home.
'How often do you design your house around your garage?' Mimnaugh said. 'But, this project just worked. I drive by it everyday - a lot of people do on this road.'
While the Moores settle in to the new space, Marcy said she someday hopes to take on projects within their home.
'It's kind of a man's fantasy. I would have done the kitchen first,' Marcy said. 'But now that it's here, I can't imagine the kids spending time outside without it.'
Contact Gary Mimnaugh with GTM Construction at http://www.gtmremodel.com/ .