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Our Flat Roof Open Air Garage Reveal
A flat roof with a railing and no back to the garage? I know! Sometimes I’m outside surveying what’s been done or just pulling back the curtains and I see cars drive by and they rubberneck checking out our garage wondering what is going on and what was happening. I always wonder what people are thinking when they drive by – do they think the flat roof is unique?
Of course no one has told us they didn’t like what we did, haha! I thought I’d share how we got to this place of going with a flat roof and open air garage – as in, there’s no back wall. Oh, and the cut out we added last minute and why on Earth we did that.
The white color is Sherwin-Williams Alabaster which is the same as the outside of the home expansion we completed last year, and the same color as the interior of our home walls. I shot this on a cloudy day so it might be hard to tell, but it’s a pretty clean white.
Our driveway is still curing which is why it looks a little darker than usual and splotchy. It’s a semi-circle and you can exit both ways – but coming in one way isn’t suggested because the turn into the garage is a little sharp :) It’s nice for guests to park and be able to just turn, or squeeze in more, but also for us to have removed more of the grass and area that we didn’t use in the front.
I found the railing design inspiration on Pinterest which was originally a fence design I thought would look great as a railing. Jerrod being the master carpenter, was able to recreate it. He did most of the work himself too which was impressive. He created a few mocks ups of the railing and even went back to the store to get more lumbar pieces so I could be happy with what we used, he held it up there so I could decide how many, and he made it happen!
The railing is 18″ tall so we can’t have parties up there (I did that intentionally) and custom by our contractor who is great with wood work. I showed him an image I saw on Pinterest of a railing and he duplicated it and we figured out how many to do at the height I wanted. Because we went with the matching fiber cement shake that we used on the garage expansion, I thought that kind of railing would be good to carry on the English/Coastal look I like. I also didn’t want to be up there because it’s the front of the yard, our neighborhood isn’t that kind of neighborhood and I also didn’t want to see everyone’s roofline, our homes are very close together.
After the garage was complete we had the driveway poured to work on landscape design which is one of the longest more tiring things (and we’re still in the middle of it) but I have to be honest because if it’s something you plan on doing just know you will have to be patient! We worked on the side yard as you can see – and we had Jerrod build a custom gate for the garden area. We looked at online stores and saw gates in person but they were more utility (slats of wood between iron rods) than for design. With how much we were investing I knew we needed a pretty gate!
This is one of my favorite parts of the outside of our home. I went with black pavers and a double topiary instead of the original landscape plans we had which had a spiral juniper. I wanted a spiral juniper, but I also realized I would probably mess that look up real fast in a few years when I didn’t know how to trim it to a spiral. Double topiaries are pretty fool proof.
The path is lined with fern lavender a type prefer that over Spanish or French lavender for this landscape. One is silvery with leaves, and the other is woody and grows like rosemary. I wanted the lavender to be more green and lush. I love all lavender but for landscaping, this was the clear winner and worth the wait.
While unnecessary for me to tell you the pains of this pathway, I do want to share it in hopes you can learn from my headache. This black paver path is straight now. Before, it was 4 inches wider at the end than at the top of the path (on the left side which I know it also wider on purpose). I mentioned it to the owner the night I checked and he said he wasn’t done. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant because unless he was going to rip it up and relay the pavers, there was alternative way to fix it. The next day I heard him sawing the pavers so the paver lines were literally crooked. He was just going to cut it to make it work on both sides but it meant the lines you see would have been totally off looking ridiculous. His logic made no sense and I made him rip it up and relay it (it took the same amount of wasted time he spent trying to cut pavers). Could you imagine this path and the paver lines veering to the left when you clearly could see it just needed to be laid properly? I would have cringed every time I looked at it. It made no sense to not just redo them. He claimed he measured the square of the cinderblock angle instead of the garage and then blamed my garage for being crooked… I hope this empowers you to speak up if something isn’t done right. I also completely normal to have to watch every detail of the project because no one cares like you.
We still need to figure out the corner situation – we have plans but they are being slightly modified but it’ll happen eventually. Also, we originally thought we’d lay pavers for the entire driveway. We had the gray paver picked out but let me explain why I decided against it last minute. There wasn’t a huge price difference, but I looked at the textures we already had – the brick of our home and the fiber cement shake for the garage. It just seemed like a lot already so I wanted something smooth and non distracting.
The glass was clear but Benjamin wanted privacy. I thought rain glass but it didn’t work out but it was just as well since rain glass doesn’t give privacy – I thought frosted but the white contrast with the black would really stand out so I decided on a reflective film. It’s like you can’t even tell it’s reflective, it just looks like glass!
Also the garage door is custom built. Again, found a design on Instagram and requested it. Obsessed with it! Our front door doesn’t face the front of our home, it’s the side of the home so our garage door is pretty much our front door from the street so it was important to upgrade (aka increase budget) for a better garage door.
Let’s talk about flat roof inspiration. When we requested project quotes they were quite high, like $45-$65k with the roof pitches and shingles, and one quote didn’t even include the price of shingles assuming I’d get it sponsored again. The roof pitch was an issue that Jerrod of Hill Farm Design (the contractor we went with) noticed our kitchen skylights were in the way. I appreciated that Jerrod noticed this so we thought about doing a different pitch. One day as Benjamin and I were driving to church just a bit puzzled over how much this would cost us, he said, “Hear me out, what about a flat roof?” You would think I would flip out, but I didn’t because visions like this popped in my head –
A look similar to porches, conservatories, I thought this look I can live with! It saved us about $5-6k doing so, but we easily spent that with other upgrades like painting the house, getting a nicer garage door, etc.
The other day I was driving my friends around historic neighborhoods and I saw this – looks like we had the same idea! Bravo, and beautiful home, right? When I showed Benjamin he thought they must have copied us (haha! so cute he really thought we were so original) and I had to tell him, I don’t think so because I’m pretty sure this home might be older than ours, but I think it means we have great taste and perhaps our garage railing must be a style we didn’t know?! I’m also glad we kept the top railing white instead of painting it black which would have taken it too modern and heavy for our tastes.
The last minute cut out on the side of the garage was due to the view I saw out of my kitchen window which would have been terrible to see just the inside of my garage. I have my girlfriend Brittany to thank for this emergency cut out. The plans were done for the garage and I sort of knew I had to look at an interior garage wall but I didn’t realize it until the actual walls went up. She told me to cut it out and I am so glad we did! I planted three pink rose bushes out there in what I think will be ombre order (hard to tell online) and I can’t wait to see them bloom!
The back of the garage is open. It was a feature I knew was right for us because our mudroom was just steps away. I didn’t want a hot box and no need for another door to walk out and close to walk into another one, seemed too redundant. The goal of the garage was privacy and security – and curb appeal. The car port just wasn’t looking great for us, but we did keep part of it which is now a porch cover, we painted it white.
It was my father-in-law’s idea to expand the cinderblock wall and place the garage where it is. Bravo! It really made us utilize our corner property giving us more backyard room. This area was the front yard that we did nothing with – even the grass was less than impressive. Now I have a garden area!
You can see the floral wire diamond pattern I have on the cinderblock wall (above photo), it’s waiting for some jasmine to be planted. I don’t want 5 gallons, I want 1 gallons because I’m trying to save money and I know I don’t need all the stems that come with a 5 gallon – I also need 10 so instead of paying $300 for it, I want to pay $100 :)
The siding was going to be a basic plywood but after I talked to Benjamin we thought upgrading the wood to a diagonal would look prettier to see out the window, and to do photos of any sort, for example –
Here is the angle when you park – excuse the garden stuff. It will all be moved but right now it needs some coverage. The roof does look like it slopes just for rain – you just can’t tell from the front or back! It needs to slope down for rain drainage. It’s crazy to see my home is black and white as I wouldn’t consider myself a black and white home but then I see our black and white cars, haha!! Inside our home is anything but black and white, I love color, especially blue!
The first door to the left is our mudroom/laundry room so you can understand why it would be silly to have a wall there so I could just walk out and walk into another room carrying things. Nah!
I saw this idea from a home I saw in Florida area, or somewhere in the Southeast. I saw cars in the background of a pool area but were clearly inside a garage. I thought it was really smart! It might not be for everyone, but it certainly works for our lifestyle and we don’t need protection from certain elements, we have great weather for the most part (summer is brutal but they are in shade so it’s fine). It would be nice if our cars were protected from dust so I didn’t have to wash my car all the time, but it’s OK.
And that’s the garage reveal! As you can see we are still working on landscaping. We have seeded the front yard and we still have to get other walls built and order an iron fence. I’d like it done before Easter but I’m not positive that will happen considering I’ll be gone for 3 weeks soon, so I must be patient with the process.
Overall we are so thrilled with the way this turned out. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. If we didn’t get high quotes or have the skylights in the kitchen which were a problem for adding on a roof pitch, we may not have never gone with the contractor did who recommended other roof pitches or flat roof ideas that led me to come up with this look! It looks unique and it makes me happy to come home. I also feel as if the outside of our home matches the inside, finally.
Thanks for checking out our project. Let me know if you have any questions about the process or project. I would love to hear what you think.
Garage Contractor: Hill Farm Design / Black side gate: Hill Farm Design / Landscape designer: Kameran Schaffner / Plants: Whitfill Nursery / Space planner: Form180
Diana Elizabeth would like to put an American flag back up but needs to figure out how to have it lit up all night, maybe solar would work on the roof. Still need to decide on positioning. They are quite patriotic!