Description of your space/land/area in question.
The Bell-Spalding House is a timber framed and wood sheathed farmhouse likely built around 1854 and listed on the US National Register of Historic Places for architectural significance. The original farmhouse is Greek Revival, but it is now almost completely surrounded by historic additions, including a prominent two-story Italianate front section added in 1864. The house is located on 2 acres atop a hill fronting the Washtenaw Avenue Business Loop of Interstate 94 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A local landmark, it is passed by over 20,000 people per day and included in tours of historically significant buildings.
What is the existing condition?
In 2013, the house was converted from the headquarters of the Michigan State Historical Society to a private residence. The property once featured a barn whose design is not known. The Historical Society replaced the barn with a 10-space parking lot.
The overall budget is approximately $150,000.
What is the problem?
This project will design a freestanding barn-style garage that includes an 800 sq ft (maximum) apartment -- probably on the second floor. This building will replace the existing parking lot.
What is the challenge?
From the outside, the ideal building will be aesthetically compatible with this historic farmhouse. However, to be viable the interior of the apartment must be competitive in a rental market with cosmopolitan and demanding tenants.
(*) Building must be barn-like with a gambrel roof (see photo examples in inspirations) -- we want to use vertical wood planks on the outside walls. We may use them pre-weathered or paint them red.
(*) Apartment must have separate entrance (not through garage), apartment entry door must be on side or rear or lot (by law)
(*) Apartment has one bedroom, one full bathroom
(*) Garage holds two cars and has additional storage space (for property owner)
(*) Vehicle doors to garage should face front of lot
(*) Garage must have one human-sized door too
(*) Midline of gambrel roof is no higher than 21 feet (by law)
(*) Space used for apartment must be no more than 800 sq ft (by law)
(*) Floorplan must be arranged so that tenant and property owner space is separated. e.g., A key can be given to the apartment tenant and this will not allow access to the garage, which will be used by the property owner.
DESIRABLE, But Not Required -- These are just ideas.
(*) Apartment has an airy, luxurious feeling despite small size: High ceiling + Exposed rafters? Skylights? Open plan with kitchen and living room combined?
(*) Apartment has balcony/terrace facing rear of property, perhaps using the top of a short one-story flat-roofed addition to the first floor? Or this could be a balcony that is under the gambrel roof.
(*) Apartment has indoor closet space for stackable washer/dryer combo or all-in-one washer/dryer
(*) Pick up the theme of a barn and use a sliding barn door or partition in the interior.
(*) A defined desk/study/office nook in the main living space. Most renters in our college town are academics or students. (However, we just want one bedroom.)
(*) Natural gas fireplace insert inset in a living room wall, venting to the outside wall/roof.
(*) Hayloft door as design feature. For instance, Facing front of lot, above garage doors, add protruding roof eave at crown with pulley and something suggesting a hayloft door?
(*) Tool closet (first floor closet with door opening to outside wall of garage -- see photo example).
(*) Small attached shed-style porch roof on first floor to shelter exterior door and/or a potting table, only if it can be done in a way that makes aesthetic sense.
(*) Attached shed-style porch roof on first floor to shelter a multi-use bricked patio area that could be used as a carport for one car (tenant’s car). This would be a feature but it should be added only if it makes aesthetic sense.
(*) Any contemporary or interesting interior features. Clever use of space under eaves/stairs? Clever use of high walls/ceilings in apartment? The main house on this property is already very eccentric and we are open to your creative ideas.
(*) Any thoughtful features that make it a more valuable rental. E.g., External door to an unheated ground-level storage closet? Indoor place to park a bicycle without needing to climb stairs with it? Slightly wider-than-normal stairs to the apartment in order to facilitate moving furniture in and out every year?
(*) Any suggestions about organizing the storage in or adjacent to the garage.
(*) There is significant traffic noise from Washtenaw Avenue. For example, any exterior balcony should face away from Washtenaw Ave (that is, toward the rear of the lot) or it would be unpleasant.
(*) Be aware of the climate. We receive temperatures between 105 F / 40 C and -30 F / -35 C as well as snow and ice. This site receives blizzards and very strong N/W winds. For example, outside stairs are impractical due to snow. Please specify the heating envelope for the apartment (vs. the unheated garage) and put a closet for the furnace inside the heating envelope.
(*) If there is a trade-off, please maximize the desirability of the rental apartment, not the garage. For instance: As there is an overall height limit, Can we lower the ceiling in the garage space to give higher ceilings to the apartment space above? (Legal minimum is 7 ft) Even though we must have a gambrel roof and a barn-like design, perhaps use skylights or dormer windows in the roof to make the apartment feel brighter and contemporary?
(*) If there is a trade-off, the viability of the apartment rental is more important than the historic character of the exterior. For example, there is no need to avoid skylights because historic barns don’t have skylights. if the final design looks like a barn that has been converted to have a modern apartment inside that will be perfect. There are no specific legal restrictions due to historic preservation / neighborhood character. We just want the general character of the new building to match the era of the historic farmhouse.
Explanation of Documents Required for Building Permit (FROM CITY)
SITE PLAN – This should show the location of the garage on the lot and the distance from all property lines.
FLOOR PLAN – A plan drawn preferably at ¼ scale (1/4" equals one foot). This plan should show a plan of the garage, all framing sizes and spacing, location and depth of footings and other structural supports.
ELEVATION – Include at least one elevation of the garage.
WALL SECTION – A section cut through one wall showing footing, wall and roof construction.
TRUSS DRAWINGS – When using manufactured trusses, manufacturers truss specs must be available.
NOTE (FROM CITY): A minimum of 42” deep footings are required. The garage slab must be a minimum thickness of 4 inches of concrete on a minimum 4-inch base course consisting of clean graded sand, gravel or crushed stone.Sill plates on all walls in contact with the concrete slab must be treated lumber. The wood sill plate at exterior walls on monolithic slabs shall be anchored to the foundation with anchor bolts spaced a maximum of 6 feet on center. There shall be a minimum of two bolts per plate section with one bolt located not more than 12 or less than seven diameters from each end of the plate.