How To Incorporate a Garage Seamlessly into Your Home's Design

Architect Brandon Ingram created the prettiest carriage house we’ve ever seen for our Kentucky Idea House.

Rending of two story traditional white house
Photo: Brandon Ingram Design

Architect Brandon Ingram (of Atlanta-based C. Brandon Ingram Design) was less than thrilled when he was initially tasked with designing a garage for our Louisville Idea House. He understood, however, that it would be a necessity for cold Kentucky winters. Additionally, having a garage would increase the house plan's versatility so it could be built to suit many different locations. (Find more details about the Riverbend house plan here.) Ingram decided, "If we were going to put a garage in front, then we are going to make it look really exceptional." Here, he shares how to design a carriage house with curb appeal.

Size It Right

The 882-square-foot, three-car garage wraps around the front of the house so views of the river in the backyard aren't obstructed. To visually control the size, Ingram designed the structure to have a lower roofline than the rest of the home. The third bay also has its own separate, slightly lower roofline, "so the massing wouldn't get too carried away," Ingram says. These cozy proportions kept the garage from overpowering the rest of the home, without sacrificing any parking or storage space inside.

A long rear hall connects the garage to the main house, implying the idea that it had been added on over time. "I loved old houses, for instance, when you can tell that the owners must have had a good year and added on. Or someone got a car, so they added on a garage. It's that layering and evolution of a house that I really love," he says. Connecting the carriage house via a breezeway lends an added-on, layered look to the facade.

Boost Curb Appeal

Ingram covered the front of the garage with a screen of trelliage. "It makes the garage feel more like a garden structure than a house structure," he says. Flowering vines will grow up the trelliage over time, adding whimsy and charm to the exterior. "It's another way to separate the house from the garage and make it feel like it might have happened at a different point in time. Fifty years from now when someone looks at this house, I hope they can still see the story we're trying to tell," Ingram adds. The plantings are also a nod to Nantucket and the New England architectural influences that Ingram incorporated into his design. Continuing the wood shake roof and white siding (painted Sherwin-Williams' Snowbound, SW 7004) help the garage blend seamlessly into the rest of house. Custom wood carriage doors (painted Sherwin-Williams' Roycroft Bottle Green, SW 2847) enhance the home's old-fashioned look.

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