irish fascination with converting the garage

The house I rent currently has a garage and my old mini fits in quite nicely. The stock of houses I would possibly buy in the future are limited due to the lack of a garage.

On a practical note are there any planning regulations or problems in converting a such room back into a garage? I have never met anyone that has ever done this.

Speaking as someone who has “converted the garage” i can offer the following reasons.

  1. Not long after we moved in we discovered that the cold, damp, dark space to the right of the hallway was acting like a giant fridge attached to the side of the house. The wind would blow under the garage door and continue through the door into the hallway. Mice found it quite an attractive space too and could easily do the rhumba under the garage door when in need of shelter. (the previous owners seemed to use it for storing rubbish, old carpets, cooker etc)

  2. It only cost something like £3,500 (in 2000) to have the walls plastered/insulated, a window, flooring, radiator a couple of sockets etc. For that we got a TV/playroom for the kiddies and some much-needed extra storage. It also made the house much warmer.

  3. These days it operates as a Home Office/study…but (following a recent visit to Sevenoaks in Cabinteely) I have my eye on it becoming a dedicated home cinema room with darkened walls, soundproofing, projector, surround sound etc. Oh…and a fridge!

And a Hi Fi perhaps…

Grabs coat etc…

Primarily- I would say It was a cheap way to extend the house for growing families.
In later years I would say it was a means to “add value” everybody loves to add a bit of value to their house -it looks so easy on the TV. :wink:

Most attached (and detached as it happens) gargaes are too small for a modern car -and even if you could squeeze the car in you probably could not get the door open to get out of the car. And even if you could overcome those two obstacles there would be no room to store anything else.

To my mind most modern garages are too small for a car, and too big for a lawnmower (only). Better to convert it. It is likely to get more use as a den/bedroom than it would as a garage. If it’s cold and damp them it has not been properly converted.

As an aside I don’t see the point of a garage unless it is big enough to comfortably accomodate at least one car.

If we are talking about standard bungalow bliss type houses, then the main reason behind this and I’m showing my age now was because of the housing grant that was available years ago. The allowable size was 1,346 sq ft so m st houses built a ‘garage’ which was not considered as house for the grant with the intention of converting it to liveable space as soon as the grant cheque was received. These garages were never going to house cars, it was just a way around the system, same was done with attics, ready to convert but no stairs in place.

If we built proper houses then they’d have a garage that can actually fit a car and enough room for a study as distinct from the bedrooms (or enough to make conversion a good possibility). Instead you’re supposed to get down on your knees and thank your luck for getting enough bedrooms to not raise extremely strange children with a garage that won’t hold your car.

Do we believe modern cars actually need a garage in Ireland?

Underground parking is great in the winter I must admit, not having to come out with the warm water and the deicing fluid and the scraper, etc., is a real timesaver but as a trade off, I’d go for extra living space rather than a car hole as Moe Sislak would call it.

Here’s my quick guide to ireland.

You buy a house, we all have cars or they are the primary mode of transport, everyone knows that. The entire society is more or less based on it. Its the system. You car doesn’t fit in the garage becasue the builder didn’t factor it in for unknown reason X, if you need to store you car its going to have to be on the road or in the driveway. Not how the “driveway” is not called “garage”. So why did the builder atempt but fail to build a garage?

The State makes it illegal not carry your driver license. yet your license like other countries is not the standard credit card size so it does fits in your wallet or holder for safety and convenience. You don’t carry it becasue it doesn’t fit in your wallet. So you leave you wallet in the glove compartment. The Garda who stops you had no insight into the unknwon reason X but is none th less happy with you explanation despite you thinking it was in the glove compartment. So why did the State attempt but fail to comprehensively implement the very law it made itself?

Spot the difference. I dare ya :neutral_face:

The list is endless. here are 2 more… as it was said to me by a pin member of staff, why is it when stuff comes to Ireland it breaks.

Take IKEA for example , (correct me if this has changed)

What is so different about Ireland?

Ah the odl chestnut. Dublin Bus. Where we have fleets vehicle with a middle door that works fine around the world will not work in Ireland and is thus been removed from later models.

Why is Ireland so different?

Why is Ireland so different? The DART and Luas have multiple doors… oh no!.. Oh but it works right?

A nation of self flagellating masochists. Ok.

But Why? :imp:

Is it simply a matter of the “Wooden Spoon Effect” of State and its offer of, “Shut Up and eat Your Dinner” being all pervasive in our social conditioning?

Is it the fluoride in the drinking water when it is not in 15 EU states?

Is Ireland only a pretend place?


I probably would too and that’s coming from an extremely car biased viewpoint.

My point earlier was that most existing attached garages, are too small for a car and too big for a lawnmower -and are therefore better utilised as living space. Buy a cheap wooden shed to store the lawnmower.
However if you are going to build a garage, it should be a proper size capable of accomodating a car-otherwise I don’t see the point. I cringe when I see these one off builds in the county with a seperate detached garage -attractive stone cladding -slate roof, double glazed windows, very expensive to build, but still too narrow to accomodate a car. For teh sake of making the thing a few feet wider, it could actually be useful.

Nah, the reason is known, it was so the builder could fit more units on the site back when they were selling like hotcross buns.

It was cheaper to have a non-usable garage from a finishing point of view, got him out of there quicker and got more money in for the premium of OPTION to convert later on.

How d’ya like them apples…

Ireland is a real place. Very real. Within a possibly mythical existence o’course.

You can have both but everyone fails to see its the failure of design.

Its not a question do modern cars need a garage.

Good designs usually are adopted because they are good.

In Ireland we take Bad design and make it King.

Not only that but we buy a house that supposedly has a garage and we ignore the lie that it is actually a garage fir for purpose promising ourselves that we’ll extend it into living space since the house we are buying is sold as supposedly spacious enough to live but in truth it is a lie but we see down the line we hope that since we only got 80% next time we might be lucky to get the rest of the original house we paid for as part of our next.

My overriding point was why do we design to fail and endure design that has failed in Ireland?

Why not call it 3 BED House with “Extra Space Room”, oh yea cause “garage” sounds better.

Why do we put up with false advertising in the property market? Its like buy a watch and it only tell you the time up until about 9.45pm and you’re left guessing till about 7.55 am when it kicks back in.

What is this sickness.

You’ve an awful habit of answering my rhetorical posts.

We’ve been debating this since 2006 here and (me in my head since I could circa age 9 or so) you don’t think I forget this … all followed up in my follow up point. :astonished:

Unknown Reason X.

Project X more like methinks… :stuck_out_tongue:

In the UK, I notice that people use the garage for car storage more than in Ireland. That puzzles me. Is it due to the irish climate or the irish psyche?

Arise Mick Wallace the second… Build it and they will come… :laughing:

A. Town planning is far better there than here. You don’t need the car fir every trip
B. Public transport is better in the UK, even in small towns as is the culture of using it
C. The 10 D car looks better in an Irish driveway
D begrudgery and one upmanship are national pastimes here

I’d say it’s more simply better design that actually accomodates a standard size vehicle.

Casting aspersions is however also a national pastime…

Because, like it or not, older houses were not built big enough for modern life - whatever argument people will throw out about families with 7 kids living with a 3 bed-semi in years gone by these days people have aspirations for more and tbh there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you can afford what you want. More space for a study or a TV room or maybe some gym equipment or a childrens playroom - whatever. Nothing wrong with that IMHO.

I bought an older house and the first thing I’m doing is knocking down the garage and rebuilding it as a 2 story extension to give more space so I can have the things I’ve always wanted in a house.

Funny House area sizes generally reduced over time in the modern era and most dramatically in the Boom. Many surveys show this. Of course I talking about the the average Semi-D variety ad the largest you will find where built in the 60’s/70’s. I once lived in that style which had at least 5 bedrooms. However we used it like slums with 6 adults utilising it at one stage. the garage yes was a bedroom :slight_smile:

I know of other locations where the same design was employed.

Now that we are on it, for how many years was the good room used but only twice a year. Christmas day and for the special vistor! :smiley:

Other than that it was a no fly zone for many :neutral_face:

Thankfully we never had that problem but we did always run short for OW ambitions and I pleaded for a garage when the time came to move but those pleas fell on def ears (or mortgage limits). To my dismay it was stated many moons on that “yes we should have bought the one with garage…”.

Its all about vision or lack of thereof.

I think you’re both right and wrong there - depends on the era - I guess I should be more concise.

On the one hand much older houses (e.g. 1930’s) were similar sizes (when you exclude the garage & gardens) - circa 1,000 - 1100 sq/ft. I know plenty of modern day 3 beds of this size - they just don’t have the gardens or garages. So in this case the older houses have definite appeal by having scope for reasonable sized extension (not the fantasy scope you’d get from an EA) or a lot more privacy.

On the other hand I think houses from the 70’s/80’s are more likely to be bigger, maybe have 4 beds and be circa 1800 - 2000 sq/ft with garage and decent gardens.

For me the much older houses are a lot more asthetically pleasing and because I’m happy to forgo a garage and some garden they have plenty of opportunity to develop into something I really want -

Regardless, I don’t see what the big deal is with people converting their garages assuming they can afford the conversion without having to tie an anvil of debt around their necks.

I think the question would be better posed in relation to what drives people to do this as opposed to it being a fundementally bad thing (at least that’s the interpretation I got from reading the OP) - i.e. it would be true to say that many people converted their garage as a form of “trophyism” as oppsoed to an actual need.